HOUSTON (AP) — Bill O'Brien worked closely with Tom Brady when he was a Patriots assistant.
He's now set to return to the NFL to coach Houston, and he's a long way from Brady. The Texans have the No. 1 draft pick, and O'Brien might well find himself having to groom a rookie quarterback.
Two people familiar with the negotiations, speaking to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because an official announcement hadn't been made, said Tuesday night that O'Brien reached an agreement to coach the Texans. He is expected to be introduced Thursday.
He inherits a team filled with talent, but whose biggest problem is at quarterback. Veteran Matt Schaub, Houston's starter since 2007, was benched after six games. Case Keenum took over after that, but his lack of success showed he wasn't the answer either, and the team finished on a 14-game skid.
A number of talented quarterbacks could be available in May's draft. Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M, and Fresno State's Derek Carr, younger brother of Houston's first-ever draft pick, David Carr, are among the top-rated quarterbacks expected to be in the draft.
O'Brien spent 2007-12 as offensive assistant under Bill Belichick at New England. O'Brien was the team's quarterbacks coach from 2009-11, and Brady threw for 5,235 yards and 39 touchdowns in the 2011 regular season, when the Patriots went to the Super Bowl.
But his success with quarterbacks didn't begin or end with Brady.
In 2001 he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Georgia Tech and worked with George Godsey. Godsey broke school records for yards passing (3,085) and completions (249) and led the ACC with 257.1 yards passing a game.
His success in grooming quarterbacks continued at Penn State in 2012. Under O'Brien's tutelage, senior Matt McGloin made remarkable improvement. He led the Big 10 in yards passing (3,271), completions (270) and touchdown passes (24). McGloin increased his completion percentage from 54.1 to 60.5 percent from 2011 to 2012.