What O'Brien learned as 1st-year NFL head coach

Bill O'Brien wrapped up his first season as an NFL coach with a 9-7 record, the best finish by a first-year head coach in Texans history. He met with the team on Monday morning one final time before the players headed their separate ways for the offseason.

"I just told the team - I think the improvement starts with me," O'Brien said Monday. "Thinking about things that I could do better, whether it's changing up the practice schedule, changing up the way we do things during the offseason, being a better evaluator to help in the draft, being a better evaluator to help in free agency. I mean, I guess that's the way I was brought up. Obviously, I just give my parents a lot of credit there, to never be satisfied and to always understand that there is more out there. I told our team: there is a lot more out there and it starts with the head coach."

O'Brien led the Texans to 23-17 win over Jacksonville and kept them in playoff contention until the final minutes of the season. While injuries mounted, the Texans finished 5-2 after their bye week with four different quarterbacks.

"Playing hard and playing to the last whistle, I think that's a good example of the way that this team played this year," O'Brien said. "Again, we've got to learn how to win close games. We have to be situationally smarter. We have to know our systems better. We have to coach better. Our players need to individually improve their own skill sets, things they can work on to improve to get better. This team played very hard this year."|

O'Brien, who brought a team-first culture, demanded toughness and versatility out of his players. With one year under his belt, he recognizes the amount of trust his team put into him and his vision. Next year, his coaching staff will build on what they have established as far as expectations and cohesiveness.

"Everything here in Houston and in the National Football League is about winning," O'Brien said. "It's what I just talked to the team about. Nine and seven is progress, but it's not the mission. I think we all know what the mission is. Nine and seven is progress, but progress isn't good enough. The mission here is to win. To win. I think our players understand that and they know there is a lot more out there for us as we head into the future."

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