Texans' Top Options to Replace David Culley as Head Coach After Reported Firing

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 13, 2022

Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores directs his team during the second half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

For the second time in as many seasons, the Houston Texans are looking for a new head coach.

The Texans fired David Culley after he went 4-13 in his lone season as head coach, per Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL Network.

Culley was a surprising hire when he was plucked away from the Baltimore Ravens last offseason, but he was apparently never long for the job. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the team "always knew" there was a chance it would fire Culley after one season.

While there is a long list of great young coaches deserving of a head coaching shot, it's fair to wonder whether the Texans' options will be limited by their own actions. The team saddled Culley with arguably the NFL's worst roster and made him responsible for navigating the waters of Deshaun Watson's sexual assault allegations before unceremoniously firing him after he did a stellar job under the circumstances. 

Culley and his offensive staff did yeoman's work in developing Davis Mills, who progressed over the course of the 2021 season more than any other rookie quarterback. Mills threw nine touchdowns against two interceptions over his final five starts after looking completely overmatched early in the season. 

Culley's treatment, along with the significant holes across the Texans roster, makes this the least appealing of the seven vacancies.

Texans general manager Nick Caserio will likely have to rely on his relationships to sell a coaching hire, which means his best option could come out of the New England Patriots pipeline. 

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels would be a dream hire, but it's unlikely he would leave New England for a rebuilding roster. McDaniels has been selective in going after his next head coaching job for a reason; he wants a place he knows he can win. Houston isn't it.

Bringing in Brian Flores, who was unceremoniously fired by the Miami Dolphins earlier this week, would be the best hire that's also within the realm of possibilities. Aaron Wilson of SportsTalk 790 in Houston reported Flores has a "strong relationship" with Caserio dating back to their time with the Patriots.

It's also worth noting that Watson wanted to play for Flores with the Dolphins. If the relationship between Watson and the Texans has any glimmer of being salvageable, Flores could open the door to reconciliation.

Flores went 24-25 in three seasons with the Dolphins, coaching up an undermanned roster while helping develop several young cornerstone pieces. Jeff Darlington of ESPN reported Flores' departure largely came because of a deterioration of his relationship with general manager Chris Grier.

It's possible his past rapport with Caserio will push him toward the Texans job, though it's expected that Flores will be high on the list of candidates for other vacancies.

If Flores turns the job down, the Texans may target Patriots inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo.

While Mayo has only been in coaching since 2019, the 35-year-old is one of the fastest-rising young coaches in the sport. He impressed when interviewing for the Philadelphia Eagles' coaching job last offseason and could grow with the developing young Texans roster.