Every NFL off-season seems to have at least one big splash shocker of a news story. Unfortunately, your Houston Texans were part of three
suck such tales last year. Deshaun Watson announcing he wanted out, Houston having the most time to find a new head coach before hiring David Culley - the one candidate no one else was interviewing. And, the Deshaun Watson legal quagmire.
This year, the Miami Dolphins beat Houston to the punch by firing a young, talented rising star of a head coach in Brian Flores.
In a league where there are less star candidates than open seats at the table, ditching a coach like Flores is not often viewed as the smart play.
But, as often happens, Flores was the victim of an ego battle that didn’t go his way. Entrenched general manager Chris Grier, won that battle and will steer the Dolphins through their current search for a new head coach.
The decision to fire Flores can be summed up with one word: Relationships. His relationship with Grier and Tua had deteriorated to a pretty bad place. Along with constant staff changes, owner Steve Ross no longer saw Flores as a healthy fit in Miami. https://t.co/9oRmk66hm9— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) January 10, 2022
Maybe Grier needs a little David Culley love in his life? Or maybe it’s Flores who needs it?
If nothing else, Coach Culley has certainly worked hard to heal the gaping cultural wound left in the Texans by former head coach/general manager Bill O’Brien. And, since O’Brien’s claim to fame is doing the same with Penn State in the wake of their horrific scandal, that says a lot of Culley’s ability to heal mental and emotional wounds.
However, when it comes to coaching a professional football franchise, it takes more than Grandfatherly love and wise life lessons to get the job done. As such, Culley should be paid handsomely for his time in Houston and sent off into retirement where he can mentor young coaches, or whatever else he cares to do with his newfound retirement plan.
When/if that happens, Houston will need a replacement and the top of that list might just read ‘Brain Flores’.
Why Brian Flores Should Join The Houston Texans
The 40-year old Brooklyn native has strong connections with Houston general manager Nick Caserio and Czar of Cal McNair’s Feelz, Jack Easterby. The three worked together in New England for years, where Flores started his coaching career in 2008.
Flores served as a specials teams assistant coach, assistant offensive coach and assistant defensive coach before taking the role as safeties coach in 2012. He coached the Patriot safeties for the next 4 years until he moved to linebackers in 2016. In 2017, Flores was given defensive play calling duties and saw his efforts rewarded by holding the Los Angeles Rams to only 3 points in New England’s Super Bowl LII victory.
The very next day, Flores was hired as the head coach of the perennial losing Miami Dolphins. He ended his tenure in south Florida with a 24-25 win loss record, 0 division titles and 0 playoff appearances. However, over the final 9 games of the 2021 season, Flores took his team to 8 wins, losing only to the #1 AFC seed Tennessee Titans.
Flores is already lined up to interview for the vacant Chicago Bears head coaching spot, and most likely won’t stop there, as many view him as the #1 candidate this off-season. Since Chicago has no general manager in place either, that interview might not go so well from Flores point of view. Not having a general manager involved in the head coach hiring often turns south in NFL circles, and Chicago isn’t exactly known for leading the charge in sound front office decisions.
His connections in NRG run deeper than just Caserio and McEasterby, however, as Flores and Texans senior assistant Romeo Crennel are both former Belichick defensive coordinators. While the two never shared time on the Patriots staff, you can bet they know and respect each other.
If nothing else, the Texans job should feel safer and more comfortable from a familiarity standpoint, regardless of the typhoon of turmoil catalyzed by McEasterby.
The Brian Flores - Deshaun Watson Connection
A lot of people are also making a big thing with the rumored Flores-Deshaun Watson connection. As the story goes, Watson waived his no-trade clause to play in Miami in great part because of Flores. The other side of that tale is the now former Miami head coach was the driver in the Dolphins near-miss trade for DW4 this past season.
The fact that Flores did not want Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is well documented, but it’s unknown if this is due to Flores preferring Watson or, as appears more likely, he just didn’t like Tua.
With all this in mind, a lot of folks are fantasizing that bringing in Flores would mean Watson would return to the fold, strap on his Deep Steel Blue helmet and take Houston to the Super Bowl.
While that’s far-fetched at best, it is possible. Maybe. But, not likely as Watson’s issues are clearly with Cal McNair and Jack Easterby, not Bill O’Brien, David Culley, or any other person wearing the title of head coach.
Why Brian Flores Should Not Join The Houston Texans
Lovie Smith has come into Houston, implemented an entirely different defensive scheme and had some limited success with a roster almost entirely bereft of starter level players. Flores would likely want the defense returned to something more akin to what Romeo Crennel ran prior to Smith’s arrival, which clearly was not working when the roster had a much higher talent level. However, any new head coach will likely want their own defensive coordinator, so Smith and his staff might be a casualty of all this regardless.
Flores is also rumored to have a Bill O’Brien-esque ‘tough love’ approach to how he treats players. This is the very same Bill Belichick instilled behavior that led to the need for David Culley’s love shack in the first place. Does it really make any sense at all to sign up for another round of that?
Maybe they can promote Culley into an Assistant Culture Czar role under McEasterby and he can temper such things? Yes, that does sound like a recipe for ego battles and further organizational disfunction, but this is the Texans right? We’re going to get that regardless of whom they hire.
In the end, Flores will likely land elsewhere, Houston will turn to Brian Dabol, Jarod Mayo or someone else and this will turn into a “remember when we thought ______” topic.