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Houston Texans Next Head Coaching Hire

Who will go down with the ship next?

Houston Texans v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images

Time for the monthly, “who will replace Lovie Smith?” conversation.

Despite all the silly, uninformed national media conversation about Nick Caserio making three head coaching hires in three years, the Houston Texans need to bring in a solid head coach in 2023. To address the rumors once more, David Culley was likely a Jack Easterby informed hire, since he came aboard far too soon after Caserio’s hiring. And, Lovie Smith was never seen as in the running until the Brian Flores lawsuit was filed.

It’s hard to know those things and really believe that either Culley or Smith was Caserio’s prime candidate.

Now, heading into the 2023 offseason, Caserio has salary cap space, draft capital and the ability to finally clean the coaching house and bring in “his” guys.

To say the 2023 offseason is make or break time for Caserio is an understatement.

Who are the hot coaching candidates right now, you ask? Well, ProFootballNetwork did a nice breakdown just last week.

Houston Texans Head Coaching Candidates


Dan Quinn, DC, Dallas Cowboys

Shane Steichen, OC, Philadelphia Eagles

DeMeco Ryans, DC, San Francisco 49ers

Leslie Frazier, DC, Buffalo Bills

Kellen Moore, OC, Dallas Cowboys

Raheem Morris, DC, Los Angeles Rams

Eric Bieniemy, OC, Kansas City Chiefs

Jonathan Gannon, DC, Philadelphia Eagles

Brian Callahan, OC, Cincinnati Bengals

Ejiro Evero, DC, Denver Broncos

Mike Kafka, OC, New York Giants

Jerod Mayo, Inside Linebackers Coach, New England Patriots

Ken Dorsey, OC, Buffalo Bills

Ben Johnson, OC, Detroit Lions

Frank Smith, OC, Miami Dolphins

Shane Bowen, DC, Tennessee Titans

While this isn’t the ultimate exhaustive list, there are more than enough potential contenders on here that have far more promise ahead than Lovie Smith.

Names on this list that probably pique the interest of most Texans fans:

DeMeco Ryans

Not only was Ryans a stud linebacker for the Texans years ago, his level of intensity and success has translated well to the coaching ranks. If Houston doesn’t give him his first head coaching role this offseason, another team likely will.

Kyle Shanahan said of Ryans last year: “DeMeco is going to be a head coach. He’s too good not to be, whether it’s this year, whether it’s next year, whether it’s anytime.”

Ryans had the 49ers sixth against the pass last year and picked up right where he left off in 2022. Currently, the 49ers are fourth in EPA per play, fifth against the pass and ninth against the run. Ryans interviewed with the Vikings last winter but declined a second interview with the club.

Eric Bieniemy

While this name rises high on the lists of lots of casual fans, for those with a deeper interest and knowledge of coaching searches, there’s a very sizable asterisk next to the former running back’s name. Bieniemy has hit this list for several years, done interviews with a lot of teams, and time and again been passed over by multiple clubs.

Is he incapable of taking the next step? Unable to show he can assemble a great staff? Unwilling to leave Andy Reid’s side with the Kansas City Chiefs? Or does he just interview poorly?

Jonathan Gannon

Gannon made the list of Caserio prime candidates last offseason, before Houston took a hard left turn and hired Smith.


The Eagles ranked in the middle of the pack in most defensive metrics a season ago, but Jonathan Gannon still landed three head coaching interviews (Broncos, Texans, Vikings). As NFL teams become more interested in building their defenses from back to front, a former defensive backs coach like Gannon should receive even more opportunities.

Philadelphia went on a defensive acquisition spree over the offseason, adding James Bradberry, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Haason Reddick, and Jordan Davis to an already-talented depth chart. Gannon has thus experimented with more varied schemes, fronts, and coverages, and the Eagles are currently fifth in defensive EPA per play.

Jerod Mayo

Allegedly, inside the walls of New England Patriots HQ, the players, coaches and other personnel call him “Jerod Belichick”. If ever there was a connection tying a general manger to a head coaching candidate this is it. Caserio was in New England when Mayo was a player and a coach. Mayo interviewed with Caserio last offseason and rumor had it they walked away with a “put that back in the oven for another season” mindset. Well, that season is almost over. Does that mean Mayo might be the next Houston Texans head coach? Only time will tell.

Still in just his fourth year of coaching, Mayo has already taken head coaching interviews with the Eagles (in 2021), Broncos and Raiders (both in ‘22). Before going into coaching, Mayo played eight seasons for Bill Belichick in New England, running the defense and relaying the signals for most of that time, including as a rookie to the veteran likes of Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi and Vince Wilfork. He now serves as de facto coordinator for a Patriots defense that has played well again this season, ranking among the league leaders in sacks and takeaways. Mayo’s pedigree and makeup are intriguing.

Who do you think will be the Houston Texans next head coaching hire?