Locking up a starting quarterback is a top priority for Houston. O'Brien, who worked with four-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady during his five years in New England, didn't downplay the role that a quarterback plays in the NFL.
"There's really no more important position than that," O'Brien said Thursday on Texans Radio. "We all understand that. That's a position that's very important, that handles the ball on every single play."
The Texans entered the 2015 offseason with uncertainty at the position. After acquiring Ryan Fitzpatrick in free agency and landing Ryan Mallett in a trade, Houston was able to finish 9-7 but not before seeing four different players under center.
"We feel like we have some good guys here in the building that played well for us this year in Mallett, Fitzy (Fitzpatrick), and Case Keenum," O'Brien said. "We've got some guys right here and we know there are guys out there. We know, especially as Mallett here as a free agent, we understand that. So, we're still in the process of evaluating our guys. We are in the process of evaluating what's out there and I believe, at the end of the day, we'll make a good decision for the Houston Texans."
For now, the Texans will keep their options open.
"We'll make the right decision and it will probably be a competition," O'Brien said. "It will be something where guys come in and compete and have to win the job and that's the way it should be and that's what we're looking to do."
Mallett will hit free agency in March. In the meantime, he, Fitzpatrick, and Savage are working their way back from injury. Fitzpatrick started 12 games, while Mallett and Case Keenum were named starters for two each. Rookie Tom Savage took over in Week 15 at Indianapolis when Fitzpatrick was carted off the field with a season-ending leg injury. A knee injury kept Savage off the field for the remaining two games.