Texans coach Bill O'Brien and starting quarterback Brock Osweiler had a heated exchange after a quarterbacks meeting this week, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, with pressure mounting on that offense to make strides. Osweiler has struggled early on after signing a new contract worth nearly $40 million guaranteed this offseason, and his play Sunday at Minnesota was particularly troubling.
According to the source, Osweiler objected to some play-calling decisions during a routine meeting reviewing the Week 5 loss -- O'Brien took over play-calling duties a few weeks into the season -- and he and the head coach subsequently had a loud charged interaction after that meeting that did not go unnoticed by others.
Numerous league sources have maintained that the impetus to sign Osweiler to a hefty free-agent contract after a brief stint as a starter in Denver began at the ownership/management level, a signing that ratcheted up expectations for the Texans and their offense after a blowout playoff loss last season. The Texans have scored just 75 points on offense this season -- second-worst in the NFL -- and Osweiler enters Week 6 with a woeful quarterback rating of 70.6, 31st in the NFL.
With owner Bob McNair hopeful of a long playoff run in a year in which Houston is hosting the Super Bowl, and with the team also signing free-agent running back Lamar Miller and drafting receiver Will Fuller in the first round, the Texans know they need to make strides on offense, especially with star end J.J. Watt out for the season. The interactions between the coach and quarterback will be watched closely; a year ago, O'Brien benched starter Brian Hoyer after just three quarters of the opening game of the season.
O'Brien expects much of his quarterbacks and is known to coach them hard, something Osweiler may have to adjust to. Texans officials downplay the significance of the incident between the coach and quarterback, attributing it to the kinds of things that occur in a season, but the episode was the source of chatter in the locker room as Houston prepared for a key Sunday night game, hosting the rival Colts with first place in the AFC South on the line.