When the Houston Texans began searching for a new head coach to replace the fired Bill O’Brien, reports bubbled up that owner Cal McNair had hired the consulting firm Korn Ferry to help identify the next H-Town head football coach. Later in the process, some reported McNair had assembled a Hall of Fame search committee that wasn’t actually a committee (or was it?) to give recommendations and advice on just whom to hire. This committee-that-isn’t consists of Super Bowl winning coaches Jimmy Johnson and Tony Dungy among others.
Last week, ESPN’s Conor Orr reported Korn Ferry had a candidate:
The Texans gave themselves an incredibly long runway to hire a coach, and all we’ve heard leaked from the process so far is that a search firm is pushing Seahawks offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer for the role.
While this seems very cart-before-the-horse-ish, with most traditional front office rebuilds starting with hiring a general manager and then allowing that person to speak to the new head coach (after all, the two MUST work well together and have the same vision), it would be the most Texans thing ever to hire a coach first and saddle the new GM with a working partner not of his or her choosing.
Schottenheimer has quite the pedigree as the son of the eighth all time winningest head coach in NFL history, Marty Schottenheimer. The elder Schottenheimer has the distinction of the most wins without a Super Bowl victory among any head coach in NFL history. The younger Schottenheimer started as an assistant with the 1997 St. Louis Rams before working his way around the league, eventually becoming the offensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks in 2018.
The Seahawks currently sport the #6 ranked offense in the NFL.* They ended 2019 as the 8th ranked offense and 2018 as the 18th ranked unit in yards gained. In 2020, the Seahawks rank 4th in points scored per game at 31.0 (7.0 more than Bill O’Brien’s career average), which is up from 25.3 points per game in 2019 and 26.8 in 2018. If nothing else, Schottenheimer knows how to put points on the board.
While many have compared Deshaun Watson to Russell Wilson in terms of on-field skill and performance, Schottenheimer has never once run an entire team. With Houston’s major deficiencies on the defensive side of the ball, it remains to be seen whether Brian could turn that unit around or just how quickly he could do so.
The current Houston defense is coughing up 27.4 points per game, so having an offense average 31.0 would get the job done. However, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense is currently surrendering 18.2 points per game and the Kansas City Chiefs are giving away a stingy 21.6. If the Texans are to compete with the best in the AFC, the current defense has a very long way to go, even with J.J. Watt, Justin Reid, and Bradley Roby back.
Could Schottenheimer instill enough confidence in free agents to lure them to Houston? Could his leadership be enough to keep the players the Texans want to keep? What would the H-Town offense look like with Watson, Will Fuller, Brandin Cooks, and a solid running back like, say, Aaron Jones, Kenyan Drake, or Le’Veon Bell?
What do you think about Brian Schottenheimer coming to Houston? Love the idea of bringing him here? Hate it? Someone else you’d much rather have?
* This article was written prior to the Week 15 games being played.