O’Brien confident in new OC Tim Kelly

The Texans may have a new offensive coordinator in Tim Kelly, but the former tight ends coach is ready for the job, according to head coach Bill O’Brien.

“We have a system in place, he knows the system, he knows where the system needs to be improved, he knows how it can be tweaked, he knows the things that we have to keep doing that we did well last year,” O’Brien said during his Wednesday press conference at the NFL Scouting Combine. “So, that’s really something that we really believe in – we can promote from within.”

Kelly has been a part of the Texans coaching staff since the start of O’Brien’s tenure in 2014, as an offensive quality control coach for two seasons (2014-15) before also adding on assistant offensive line duties in 2017. Last season, Kelly was named tight ends coach but his responsibilities continued to multiply under O’Brien.

“He ran a lot of the meetings the past two years really,” O’Brien said. “He’s run the third-down meeting. He’s run our Wednesday morning meeting where we introduce the opponents’ defense. He’s done a lot of things in front of the unit because I do think that you can’t just take a guy and say ‘okay, he coached tight ends and that’s all he ever did’ and then you just put him in front of a unit of professional football players. That’s not what we’ve done here. He’s had a lot of input into what we do. He’s had a big part of the process and he’s ready for the challenge.”

One of the big questions with a new offensive coordinator will be how playcalling duties are handled moving forward. While O’Brien has not openly stated if, or how much, he will hand off of the playcalling, he feels that Kelly has a strong foundation to handle that role.

“Where does the process start as a playcaller? It starts with obviously having a great understanding of your system, having a great understanding of defense, which Timmy does. And then it starts with how much scripting do you want to give them? Will he call the plays in practice? There’s a lot of ways you can train a playcaller. But until you’re actually doing it in a game, it’s exactly what you said. You have to get a feel for it. You have to get a feel for your team. You have to understand how the game’s being played, how you’re being played defensively and things like that. Those are all things that we will work through but we’re real early in that process.”

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