After firing David Culley, who was able to ride off into the sunset with a big bowl of nachos and the newest Scream movie to keep him occupied, the Houston Texans have since begun their search for a new head coach. Hines Ward, Jonathan Gannon, Joe Lombardi, Josh McCown, and Brian Flores...the stars are all here. With a new head coach soon to arrive, the Texans will have to decide what to do with their existing head coaching staff.
Kellen Moore and Tim Kelly are the outliers. Typically a new head coach means a brand new staff. The Texans are built a little differently. Nick Caserio is the state, and the God, overseeing the Texans’ football team. It’s his team more than it is the head coach’s so far. Caserio’s influence may force the new head coach to keep existing staff on hand for the 2022 season. To that point, Lovie Smith, Frank Ross, James Campen, and Pep Hamilton are currently in limbo as they wait to see who the new head coach is and if their job is safe.
The Texans are weighing their options after interviewing former Dolphins HC and Patriots LBs coach Brian Flores, retired NFL QB Josh McCown, Chargers OC Joe Lombardi, and former Pro Bowl WR Hines Ward. Whomever the Texans eventually hire after firing coach David Culley — following a 4-13 record in his first season as a head coach at any level — they’re widely expected to retain multiple assistant coaches.
Among those regarded as likely to be back in Houston in 2022: veteran DC Lovie Smith, special teams coordinator Frank Ross (a former Patriots scout who worked under general manager and fellow John Carroll University alum Nick Caserio), and former Packers and Chargers offensive line coach James Campen (who signed a three-year contract last year).
Texans passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton did a nice job developing rookie QB Davis Mills and the team highly respects him.
While Mills went 2-9 in 11 starts as the replacement for veteran Tyrod Taylor, the third-round rookie from Stanford had his moments. He completed 66.8% of his throws for a franchise rookie record 2,664 yards, passing 2002 No. 1 overall pick David Carr. Mills also threw 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions for a respectable 88.8 passer rating.
It would be strange to see Smith, Campen, Ross, and even Hamilton remain in Houston after 2021. It’s difficult to point to any of them doing a job so outstanding that the Texans wouldn’t allow the newest head coach to build his staff how he sees fit. If those coaches do stay, it will provide insight into Houston’s organizational structure, meaning, it’s Caserio’s team and Caserio’s team alone even after moving on from Culley.