Texans Fire Offensive Line Coach Paul Dunn

In any line of business, including professional sports, hiring might be the most important skill in any layer of management. Surrounding oneself with capable people is key.

As a first time head coach in the NFL, we knew that Bill O'Brien's ability to assemble a staff would dictate a large part of how successful he was in 2014. When a team goes 9-7, certainly nothing is perfect. There are flaws.

So now, as we head into the second year of the Bill O'Brien era, the questions center around adapting and changing and recognizing areas that need improvement. In terms of a coaching staff, it means finding new assistants in those areas, if need be. O'Brien's predecessor, Gary Kubiak, was notoriously overly loyal to his assistant coaches (See: Marciano, Joe). How would Bill O'Brien handle his coaching staff when changes were called for?

Well, we got our first answer this afternoon, as the Texans fired offensive line coach Paul Dunn.

Dunn came to Houston from the Atlanta Falcons, where he had been fired after the 2013 season, so this makes two consecutive off seasons now where Dunn has been given his walking papers.

It's an interesting move insomuch as the offensive line did improve throughout the season. During the first half of the season, there appeared to be a lot of miscommunication and mental errors, especially for a group that was largely the same as the season before. However, by the end of the year, the offensive line was a big reason for the team's 4-1 finish.

If you buy into Pro Football Focus's ratings system, it was the fifth best line in football this season, for what that's worth. If you're looking at individual players, I think Duane Brown and Brandon Brooks were at least the same in 2014 if not better than in 2013, Chris Myers probably was not as good as last season, and Derek Newton took a huge leap forward.

The only glaring failure on the offensive line was the complete lack of development of rookie second round pick Xavier Su'a-Filo, but overall, it's hard to pinpoint the offensive line as the "a-ha!" unit when it comes to assigning blame for the team falling short of the playoffs. So until Bill O'Brien speaks about the change, we can only speculate that perhaps it was a philosophical thing or just the standard "going in another direction."

When Dunn was hired, the Texans thought they had a good chance to get Mike Munchak to coach the offensive line, but he went to Pittsburgh instead, leading to Dunn's coming on board. Perhaps the one person who saw this day coming? Former Texans tackle Charles Spencer, who played for Dunn at Pitt in college...

Well, if you were concerned, you needn't be anymore. The first big change in what could be an active next several weeks on Kirby has occurred. Paul Dunn is out.

(Kudos to me for not making a "Dunn is done" pun right there. KUDOS, I SAY!)

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.


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