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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Ex-Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel paying dividends to Bill O’Brien in Houston





By Hector Longo
May 16, 2017

Former New England Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel is such a rising star in the coaching ranks, he is freeing up Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien to do what he does best.

Vrabel, who took over the Houston defensive coordinator spot from Romeo Crennel after the 2016 season, has assumed control of that side of the ball, and that comes at the perfect time. O’Brien, the former Patriots offensive coordinator, is now focusing on his offense full-time.

After a season-long disaster with Brock Osweiler, Houston has a quarterback battle brewing with Tom Savage and rookie No. 1 pick Deshaun Watson out of Clemson.

When his team was thrashed 27-0 in the AFC divisional playoff round at New England, O’Brien took much of the heat for George Godsey’s inept offense, powered by Osweiler. “We have to be better offensively,” he said that day. “I have to be better.”

Godsey is gone. So is Osweiler, and that leaves O’Brien and his fresh cast of QBs.

“I’ve been probably doing more coaching myself in the last four or five weeks than I’ve done in the three years that I’ve been here,” said O’Brien in an ESPN.com story by Sarah Barshop. “I’m really involved in the offense, and I’m having a lot of fun.”

The head coach could not do that without the 41-year-old Vrabel, who was considered for a couple of the head coach openings this past offseason, despite just six years in the coaching ranks.

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