Bill O'Brien handed newly-signed quarterback Brock Osweiler an iPad with the Texans playbook. They may have exchanged pleasantries and chatted, but were not allowed to discuss football. The two will have to wait nearly another month before that can happen.
"I'm sure knowing him just in that brief span of time that I'm sure he's calling his teammates like (DeAndre) Hopkins, probably some of the other guys on offense that have been here and he's probably asking them a million questions," O'Brien said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings. "I hope they know it well enough to be able to tell him. So we'll really officially start teaching him the offense on April 18."
According to the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement, offseason rules limits coaches to discussing only non-football matters with players until they officially report for organized team activities, which is April 18 for Texans players. Additionally, activities with two or more players, such as a quarterback throwing a football to his receiver is also prohibited.
"Look, I'm only going into my third year as a head coach, but I feel very strong and I've said this to some of the league, I have a ton of respect for this league and the league officials and what they're trying to do and how it works with the players' union," O'Brien said. "I get all that. But I believe if you talk to the majority of players in this league, the majority, they want to come back to work earlier than April 18."
If players want to practice in groups or perform any conditioning together, they must do so away from team facilities. Many players do just that, including J.J. Watt who hosted around 20 players in Wisconsin to work out this week.
Osweiler and Hopkins are making plans to work out together as well before OTAs start.
"When I first started whenever it was nine or 10 years ago, in the league we had quarterback school," O'Brien said. "I was quality control, I was working with Josh McDaniels at the Patriots. Here came (Tom) Brady and (Matt) Cassel, we had Vinny Testaverde, we had Matt Gutierrez. We had some good guys there and they would come back and we would have quarterback school. We don't even do that anymore. Why not? Why can't at least the quarterbacks come back a little bit early so we can start teaching them."
If O'Brien feels strongly about revising the offseason limitations on coaches, it's because he's had to coach up a new starting quarterback in his system each year with the Texans. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh also expressed an interest in expanding the offseason program at this year's owners meetings.
April 18 marks the start of offseason workout programs for teams with returning head coaches. Clubs that hired a new head coach after the 2015 season may begin April 4.
Check out photos of Texans in college playing for teams that made the 2016 NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament.