Back in my pre-rado days, when I was out there on the streets selling some super dope telecom services, and I was promoted into a management position for the first time, I was given this piece of advice by my new boss, who was the Vice President of Sales for our company — hire well, because hiring is what will determine your fate.
His message was simple. Surround yourself with talented, motivated, intelligent people, and you can't go wrong. What I ultimately found out was that you can surround yourself with all the motivated, intelligent people in the world, but if your company gets purchased, and there's overlap in your job with your new owners, you might not keep your job, but I do believe his sentiment is largely accurate.
Certainly, it applies to assembling an NFL coaching staff. Bill O'Brien needs talented, upwardly mobile assistant coaches who can develop young players and bring forth fresh ideas if the Texans are going to get to where they want to go. To that end, it's been an interesting week for O'Brien and the Houston Texans. Here are the Texans' coaching nuggets for the week, along with my thoughts on each:
Brian Cushing Added to Coaching Staff
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle was the first to report that the Texans would be adding former Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Cushing to the coaching staff:
Brian Cushing will be assisting with strength and conditioning. He’ll also help with the defense.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) January 29, 2019
Let's get the elephant in the room out of the way — Cushing, a two-time PED test failure with two suspensions on his ticket, will be part of the strength and conditioning staff. Yes, I know, the jokes write themselves, and there are some who are dead set against this hire, as if all of a sudden the Texans locker room is going to turn into a 1970s bodybuilding contest, with steroids available in a candy jar on the way out of the locker room. Look, I know the optics of Cushing helping in the weight room aren't the best, and I'm certainly flabbergasted at how the Texans gave Cushing a chance to finish last season after his ten game suspension (and made him captain again!), but he is reputed to be a well liked, highly intelligent football guy. If O'Brien (and Cal McNair) think Cushing can bring something to the table to make the Texans better, then hire him. If it were me, I'd have just brought him in to help with linebackers, and let the weight room thing just be a non-announced-publicly side hustle, but whatever.
QB Coach Sean Ryan Leaves For Detroit
OK, this one kind of came out of nowhere. First reported by Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, QB coach Sean Ryan is taking a lateral move to Detroit:
#Texans QB coach Sean Ryan is headed to the #Lions as their new QB coach, sources say. A respected, new voice for Matthew Stafford in Detroit, while Houston has a key spot on their coaching staff to fill.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 30, 2019
So why would Sean Ryan willfully choose to leave Houston for Detroit, leave Deshaun Watson for Matthew Stafford? I had Rapoport on my radio show at the Super Bowl in Atlanta yesterday, and he made it abundantly clear that if the Texans WANTED to keep Ryan, they would have. They let him go to Detroit. So perhaps O'Brien feels like he needs more juice at that position for Deshaun Watson, or perhaps there are some other in-house moves upcoming (some one promoted to offensive coordinator, perhaps?) that did not involve a bump up for Ryan, so he chose to leave. Whatever the case, Rapoport made it clear to me that O'Brien would not be ceding play calling to anybody. To me, the more relevant question — what's a bigger downgrade? Moving from Houston to Detroit, or coaching Deshaun Watson to coaching Matthew Stafford?
Wes Welker Interviewing With San Fran, Green Bay
Of the rumblings in the Texans coaching house this week, this one registers the lowest in the Richter scale. Welker, a great slot receiver at his peak as a player, has been an offensive assistant the last couple of seasons, and now is apparently looking for a bigger role somewhere else. He reportedly is interviewing for position coach spots with the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers. If you're O'Brien (or any head coach), the ultimate validation of a coaching hire is when that person gets a promotion elsewhere, so best of luck to Welker in whatever the coaching carousel holds for him.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.
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