O’Brien says he needs better communication skills

NFL

HOUSTON — In his first press conference since Brian Gaine was fired on Friday, Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien said it was a decision CEO Cal McNair made “after a thorough evaluation of the football operation.”

When asked when he realized it was not going to work out with Gaine, O’Brien said he didn’t know until he was “informed by Cal what his decision was” after the evaluation process.

For much of the press conference, O’Brien deferred to the statement McNair made on Friday, where he said the team will begin an immediate search for a new GM and, “while the timing may be unusual, this decision was made in the best interest of our organization in our quest to build a championship team for the City of Houston.”

O’Brien said his job was also evaluated by McNair, and that the CEO, who took over after his dad Bob died last year, “was very clear with me on what we needed to do to continue to grow our organization as a football team.”

“No. 1 is, relative to this football team, he wants to win,” O’Brien said of McNair. “He’s been perfectly clear, from the beginning, like I said, what he wants me to improve on, what he wants me to do, and he’s been perfectly clear with the whole organization on what his expectations are moving forward.”

“Obviously last year was a tough year on him, losing his dad, Bob McNair. Really getting to know Cal over the last few months here, he’s a very humble person. He’s very good at articulating what he wants, what he sees, his vision, the improvements that need to be made, relative to the whole building, not just coaching staff, but the whole building. I think, obviously, he’s not afraid to make tough decisions.

The head coach would not elaborate on what McNair told him he needed to improve upon, saying he would not talk about specifics about what happened or anything about the search for a new general manager. O’Brien said he would not “get into the details of what we’re doing organizationally” because he doesn’t “think that’s fair to the candidates that are out there or may be out there or people in our organization.”

O’Brien will now be working with his third general manager in six seasons in Houston. Gaine was less than two years into a five-year contract he signed in January 2018. When asked if he believes he’s an easy person to work with, O’Brien said, “I guess that would depend on who you ask.”

“I think that I try to do my best to communicate with people,” O’Brien said. “I try to do my best to work hard every day to perform my role. But I think any time you’re in a leadership position, there’s probably going to be a few people that maybe don’t agree with how you see things or how you do things and you do your best to try to perform your role at the highest level for the organization. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

O’Brien, who was hired by Bob McNair in 2014, said he believes he needs to try to improve the way he communicates.

“I think face-to-face communication is important and I think that when I look in the mirror, that I have to improve,” O’Brien said. “Like I’ve always said, I think it starts with me, and we have to do a better job. We’ve done some good things over the years, but not enough to be where we want to be. And I think a lot of that has to do with communication relative to everybody in the organization.”

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