3 Best Coaching Options for Texans QB Davis MillsJanuary 24, 2022
3 Best Coaching Options for Texans QB Davis Mills
The Houston Texans decided to part ways with head coach David Culley after just one season. While Culley was given little to work with in 2021, his firing wasn't unsurprising. Houston won a mere four games, the same number they won in 2020.
The problem, of course, is that Houston's next head coach won't have much to work with, either—at least until the Texans overhaul their roster in free agency and the draft.
One potential building block Houston does have is quarterback Davis Mills. The 2021 third-round pick out of Stanford showed a lot of promise as a rookie despite playing with a talent-poor supporting case. In 13 appearances with 11 starts, he passed for 2,664 yards with 16 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a passer rating of 88.8.
One could argue that Mills dramatically outperformed first-round quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence (71.9 rating), Zach Wilson (69.7 rating) and Justin Fields (73.2 rating). One could also suggest that Mills has shown enough to make targeting a replacement in a weak quarterback draft class unnecessary.
If the Texans hope to develop Mills into a franchise quarterback, though, they need to support him with the right head coach. Here you'll find a look at the three top options Houston should consider.
The Texans have interviewed Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, and there's a lot to like about the potential pairing.
Lombardi spent five seasons as the New Orleans Saints' quarterbacks coach before taking the Chargers job. In New Orleans, Lombardi worked under offensive guru Sean Payton and with future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees.
With the Chargers, Lombardi helped second-year quarterback Justin Herbert emerge as a top-tier quarterback in 2021. Herbert finished the 2021 season with 5,014 passing yards, 38 touchdowns and a passer rating of 97.7.
Herbert also made his first Pro Bowl this season.
Lombardi is a quarterback-minded coach who could help make Mills a quality long-term starter for the Texans. He knows what it takes to succeed at the position, and he knows what it takes to develop a young signal-caller in the NFL.
Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy interviewed for the Texans job last offseason and didn't get it. If Houston is willing to wait until the Chiefs are done with the postseason, they should circle back to Bieniemy.
It was a mild surprise that Bieniemy wasn't hired during last year's coaching cycle given the potency of Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense. Things could unfold differently this time around.
"It disappoints me that someone hasn't hired him," Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said, per ProFootballTalk's Michael David Smith. "I think this year he's going to end up with one."
Bieniemy has been around one of the best quarterbacks in the game in Mahomes. He knows what it takes to field a dynamic and explosive offense, and as a former NFL running back, he can relate to the players on Houston's roster. Also, the idea that Bieniemy isn't qualified because Reid does the play-calling is foolish.
"There's a ton of input from Coach Bieniemy, and he calls a ton of plays in our game plan," Mahomes told The Dan Patrick Show.
If the Texans want to support Mills with an offensive coach, they could do far worse than hiring Bieniemy. And if Houston doesn't, there's a good chance that someone else will.
The Texans don't have to hire an offensive coach to properly support Mills. Hiring a coach who can get the most out of his players and who can support the quarterback with a strong defense is also a strategy that could pay dividends.
This is why former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores may already be the front-runner for the Houston job.
"Texans are targeting former Dolphins coach Brian Flores as their top candidate at this time, according to multiple league sources," Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network tweeted. "He has a strong relationship with [Houston GM] Nick Caserio."
Having a relationship with Caserio—both spent time with the New England Patriots before moving to new franchises—certainly helps Flores' case. However, the work he did in Miami is more important as it relates to Mills.
He produced back-to-back winning seasons with the Dolphins before being the surprise firing of 2021. He helped the team post a winning record after a 1-7 start to the campaign and to navigate the ups and downs of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's first two seasons in the league.
Flores can help put a better overall product on the field for Houston. That, in itself, would greatly benefit Mills moving forward.