If you’re interested in this article, first please read my take on the offensive identities (Part 1 and Part 2) of all the teams in 2016. That will explain some of the stats in this article, which I will not explain here. As I did last year, I will write a detailed piece on each team.
Bill O’Brien enters his 4th year as the Head Coach in Houston. He's back to being the OC too, with George Godsey taking the fall for the Brock Osweiler signing. As a regular season coach, O'Brien has been static with three straight 9-win years. If you measure progress by the playoffs, though, he missed them in Year 1, got blown out in the wildcard round in Year 2, and made it to the divisional round last year. So some may think that's progress – I think it's lucky (thanks to a bad division) to make the playoffs with 9 wins and even luckier to progress a round by beating a team with its backup QB starting. The firing of a coordinator is usually the canary in the head coaching coal mine; I think O'Brien needs to top nine wins to return next year (and despite the negativity above, Houston could do a lot worse than 27 wins in three years).
O'Brien now has a three years of identity in Houston to draw on (here at Identity Central, I did not think Godsey was responsible for the Texans' ID anyhow) plus an outlier year in 2011with the Patriots team he OC’d (I ascribe much of that team's its identity to Bill Belichick and Tom Brady).
We know the Texans’ offense was pretty bad last year (and the year before that…) despite (or maybe because of) adding a quarterback and top running back in free agency (Brock Osweiler and Lamar Miller), using their first four picks on the offensive side (WR Will Fuller, OG Nick Martin, WR Braxton Miller, and RB Tyler Ervin), and signing a center and guard in free agency (Tony Bergstrom and Jeff Allen, respectively, although they also lost two lineman in OG Brandon Brooks and C Ben Jones). For 2017, the team used a 1st round pick on Deshaun Watson and 3rd rounder on RB D'Onta Freeman while the offensive line has had a year to play together and hopefully gel.
I covered O'Brien's W-L record above: