Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores and New England Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo are reportedly among the top candidates to replace David Culley as head coach of the Houston Texans, per Texans insider Aaron Wilson and ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The Texans fired Culley on Thursday after just one season. Houston finished third in the AFC South with a 4-13 record.
The Texans' interest in Flores should come as no surprise. The 40-year-old has connections with executive Jack Easterby and general manager Nick Caserio from their time with the New England Patriots.
Flores rose through the coaching ranks in New England from 2008-18 and ultimately became the franchise's defensive coordinator before becoming Miami's head coach in 2019.
The Dolphins fired Flores on Monday after three seasons. It was a surprising move out of Miami after he had led the team to two straight winning seasons for the first time since the 2002 and 2003 seasons.
Flores compiled a 24-25 record in his tenure with the Dolphins, and it appeared he had a great relationship with the organization. However, several reports since his firing have made it seem otherwise.
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Flores reportedly wanted authority over general manager Chris Grier before his firing. He also reportedly wanted the final say on "virtually everything" and "more people to report to him."
In addition, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Monday that "frustration and tension" between Flores and Grier was a major issue. Team owner Stephen Ross ultimately decided to side with Grier.
Jackson also noted that while many players liked Flores, some thought he was arrogant and had a "bristling personality." They believed he wasn't approachable and that it "was hard to read him."
Then came a report on Thursday that highlighted a potential rift between Flores and his players, specifically quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Michael Lombardi reported on the GM Shuffle podcast that Flores made it known to Tagovailoa that he would have preferred fellow Alabama alum Mac Jones as his QB.
"I don't think [Brian] Flores was shy about telling [Tagovailoa], 'Hey, I should have picked Mac Jones.' I don't think he was shy about telling him that. In fact, I know that he wasn't," Lombardi said.
In terms of Flores' fit in Houston, the Texans might be hoping hiring the former Dolphins head coach will help keep disgruntled quarterback Deshaun Watson with the team. Watson has wanted out of Houston since before the 2021 season, which he sat out, but there has been plenty of speculation that the Clemson product wanted to be traded to the Dolphins to play under Flores.
A coaching change probably won't be enough to keep Watson in Houston, but Flores is arguably one of the best head coaching candidates on the market, so the franchise would be in good hands moving forward regardless.
As for Mayo, he also has connections to Houston given his relationship with Easterby and Caserio. The 35-year-old spent his entire eight-year playing career in New England from 2008-15 before joining the organization as a coach in 2019.
And while Mayo has no head coaching experience, he is also drawing interest from the Denver Broncos for their vacant HC position after firing Vic Fangio on Sunday. Mayo also interviewed for the Philadelphia Eagles head coaching position last year before they hired Nick Sirianni.
The Texans have not had a winning season since 2019 and have won just four games in each of their last two seasons. In addition to Flores and Mayo, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is among the Texans' top candidates, per Wilson.