Bill O’Brien gives up play-calling duties for Texans, OC Tim Kelly will now lead offense and coach QBs

Bill O’Brien is giving offensive coordinator Tim Kelly the keys to the Houston Texans offense in 2020. The head coach announced on Tuesday at the NFL scouting combine that he will step down from play-calling duties next season and hand them over to Kelly, who will also coach the quarterbacks. 

“We’re excited for him to take the next step in his career here,” O’Brien told reporters Tuesday. “He’s going to coach the quarterbacks, he’ll call the plays and he’ll do an excellent job.” 

Kelly has been with O’Brien since his days as a graduate assistant at Penn State. He has since risen through the ranks of the Texans coaching staff and is heading into his second season as the offensive coordinator. Part of the reason Kelly will also be coaching the quarterbacks, O’Brien noted, is the strong relationship he has with franchise signal caller Deshaun Watson. 

This is yet another change for O’Brien in what has been a transformative offseason thus far. Prior to ridding himself of play-calling duties, the head coach was named the Texans general manger back in late January. As it relates to shifting over the play-calling powers, a role he’s manned dating back to 2016 when he took over from then-offensive coordinator George Godsey, O’Brien doesn’t see his overall game-day role changing too much.   

“I think one of the bigger changes would be between series,” he said. “I’ve spent a lot of time with Deshaun and Tim, the offensive line, the running backs, the tight ends, wide receivers on the bench there before we go out there for the next series. I think I’m not going to do probably as much of that. I think I’ll focus more on the whole game and how the game is being played and things like that, but I don’t think it changes it too much.” 

The Texans offense ranked 13th in the NFL in yards per game (362) in 2019. They also averaged 23.6 points per game, which ranked 14th in the league. Given those so-so marks, this change could prove to be for the better for Houston heading into 2020. 

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