When Cal McNair decided to move on from Bill O'Brien as head coach and general manager, timing was everything. After winning back-to-back AFC South division titles, the Houston Texans were off to their worst start since 2008 with an 0-4 record.
In an exclusive interview with Texans Radio, Chairman and CEO Cal McNair opens up about what went into his decision to make a coaching change. After considering whether or not to wait until possibly later or at the end of the season, McNair knew the timing was right. He informed O'Brien on Monday after Houston's 31-23 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
"After the Viking game, I just really felt it was the right thing to do," McNair said on Texans Radio. "With 12 games left, the season isn't over. If you divide the season up into quarters, we've just played the first quarter and it's time to go out there and focus on one game at a time. And then we made the change. I really believe in our players. We have really good players. We have seen that in spurts in games. We've seen a number of good drives by the offense and a number of good stops by the defense and we just got to put those together and go find a way to win the game. And I really believe we can do that."
Romeo Crennel, named interim head coach, brings 38 years of NFL experience and has been with the team for all of O'Brien's seven seasons with the Texans. "A natural fit," McNair says of the former defensive coordinator and associate head coach who would have, in all likelihood, stepped in during any COVID emergency or otherwise, with his wealth of knowledge and experience with the Texans playbook and personnel.
With O'Brien's exit, the Texans also needed to name an interim general manager. For the short term, Jack Easterby will step up from his role as executive vice president of football operations, according to McNair.
"We will go forward in that way and we turn in our list of contacts to the league and so people will know who to call," McNair said. "They already know who to call because it's fairly a close knit bunch and people know who to call to do certain things. But we do turn in our list to the league and we will start a search for the head coach and the GM on a permanent basis. At that time, Jack will switch back to the job he had before, which is in football ops. I've actually started a conversation with the search firm."
The search for the Texans' fourth head coach in franchise history is only beginning, but McNair's focus is on one game at a time as they prepare for Sunday's game against Jacksonville. He has high hopes for the team's turnaround because there's still a lot of football left in 2020.
"We need to focus on this one game up ahead of us and put on a great effort and what I want to see I want to see our guys having fun," McNair said. "I want to see the defense flying around, I want to put the rock boy band back together. I want them to play their songs. I want Justin Reid to take a pick back ninety-nine yards. I want to see Deshaun playing air guitar. He's got a great dance on the end zone my wife really likes to see and these are things I want to get back to. I want to get back to having fun. I want the guys flying around. I want playing fundamental and that will lead to wins and get us to where we're going to go."
The Texans will host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. Kickoff is set for 12 noon on CBS and SportsRadio 610.Find tickets here.