It's a weird week. Bill O'Brien is coaching. But not the Texans. He's instructing college kids at the Senior Bowl.
His goal is to be coaching the Texans next year during this week. And next.
You can call this a small consolation prize for going 4-12. The fact that O'Brien and his staff get a first-hand opportunity to 'live' with draftable players gives them a big leg up on the rest of the league in the NFL draft evaluation process.
Speaking of that process, I get a lot of questions on how Brian Gaine is fitting in. Well, he's in Mobile too. And the big benefit of Gaine and O'Brien working together is that they've done it before. He knows what kind of players the coach wants. He's also worked for a lot of different organizations so he's seen many different ways to do the job. He also worked for Bill Parcells. You have to like that!
This is also a week in which I breathe a tiny sigh of relief. That's right, I'm happy the Jags are not in the Super Bowl. There, I said it. I want the Texans to be the first team from the post-Manning era AFC South to make the Super Bowl.
Credit Jacksonville for a great season though. They took that opening day win over the Texans and used it as a basic blueprint all the way into the AFC Championship game; their third as a franchise.
One thing we can learn from Philadelphia's appearance is the importance of depth. Of course the Texans were forced to plow through their depth like me through a box of Cap'n Crunch when I was 10 years old. But Philly stayed healthy in some key areas and survived at quarterback with a solid reserve. Nick Foles might not be Carson Wentz (or even Ron Jaworski) but he did have enough of a track record that gave the Eagles brass confidence they could possibly claw their way to the finish with him.
The Texans will be a trendy pick in the future to go far with a healthy Deshaun Watson. But, if there's anything we've learned from the last five years, second and third string quarterbacks are often needed. We live in a world in which two of the QBs in the NFL's 'final four' were Case Keenum and Foles. Getting the backup position solidified in Houston will be a key offseason task.
Think about this – The Texans will face both Super Bowl participants on the road next year. It'll be the first time the Texans go to Philly since a Thursday night game at the 'Linc' in 2010. They also played at the old 'Vet' in 2002. The trip to New England will again be huge as the Texans try to win there for the first time as well.
Check out some of the best shots from Senior Bowl practice in Mobile, Alabama. (Photo credit: AP Images.)