The BRB staff has already weighed in on David Culley and there is already an article on the main site this very moment. However, it ignores the most important question and we really can't get to an answer on David Culley until we answer that first question. Check that, we will ask an additional one just for clarification sake. Obviously, neither of these questions will answered honestly because it either indicts management or David Culley.
Who was the driving force behind the decision to hire David Culley?
This one is simple. Was this on Nick Caserio or was this a Jack Easterby joint? The answer to that question really shapes the other question from here. If it's Easterby then that's just another nail in the coffin when it comes to him redeeming himself here in Houston. If he was behind this decision he can't possibly recover any credibility. If it was Caserio then we need to have another frank discussion.
What exactly were the expectations for Culley coming in?
This is the question that gets to the heart of whether he should be back or not. It also gets to the heart of whether Caserio is qualified to run this organization. If Culley was expected to be a glorified substitute teacher and Caserio knew he was an idiot then we don't have to question his judgment in terms of selecting his coach. We just have to question his judgment in implementing a strategy.
One of my first fan posts was on the difference between existing and rebuilding. A rebuilding team lacks the talent to compete, but they also establish an identity that they are moving towards. The offensive and defensive schemes are established. You begin to notice commonalities in strategy from week to week. In short, you get an idea of what the team is going to look like when they finally have talent.
Existing teams aren't there. They are just buying time. They are racking up draft capital. They are clearing salary cap space for the future. They are simply kicking the can down the road until they can bring in their next head coach who will then establish an identity on offense and defense. David Culley doesn't have an offensive system. He doesn't have a defensive system. He's a rah rah kind of coach that keeps everything upbeat and hopefully gets players in a frame of mind to play hard. That's true whether someone competent is calling plays or if they are reduced to drawing plays in the dirt.
So is 2022 going to be another one of those seasons or is it a season when we actually need to be establishing an identity? On the one hand, it is easy to claim that no good coaches would be willing to come in and coach in 2022. Furthermore, firing Tim Kelly won't necessarily yield better results. Culley is likely here one more season. Who worth their salt would want to come into a situation where they would be OC for only one season. Maybe Pep Hamilton would be up for the job. So, you could easily say that replacing Culley would be a waste of time. After all, why fire a guy and pay the remaining four years of his deal only to hire another guy that you will have to fire in a year or two?
On the other hand, the Texans are going to be guaranteed four picks in the first three rounds. If they trade Deshaun Watson and Laremy Tunsil that could easily double at least. At least some of those players will come on offense. Those players (whether they be lineman, receivers, running backs, or another quarterback) will see a year wasted as it pertains to actually growing in a future system. That's only on the offensive end. We know that side of the ball is going nowhere with this current coaching alignment. Maybe Hamilton would change that trajectory some, but that's not a given. The defense could be spinning their wheels as well. So, you could also argue that keeping Culley another season will stunt the organization's growth.
So, the question of keeping Culley or not keeping Culley is an important one. However, one could easily claim he is the weakest coach in the NFL. That's true whether he stays or goes. So, we go back to the opening questions. What did Caserio actually think he was getting here? If he thought Culley would be a good coach then we have a whole lot more to worry about than just this decision.