Last year, the Houston Texans had more time to make the right head coaching hire than anyone else. After firing Bill O’Brien in early October, they had the pick of the litter. They were the first kid in the candy store, front of the line when the whistle blew.
What did they do with that?
They hired David Culley. A coach no other team even had on their radar. And they waited a long time to make that hire, becoming the last NFL team with a head coaching vacancy last year to fill it.
There’s a strong sense that the delay was entirely due to potential head coaches opting to stay with their current team or hire on elsewhere instead of having their career tied to the Cal McEasterby dumpster fire unfolding on the Gulf Coast.
That sad truth could very well hold true this year as well.
Five vacancies filled:— Field Yates (@FieldYates) February 3, 2022
▫️Bears: Matt Eberflus
▫️Broncos: Nathaniel Hackett
▫️Giants: Brian Daboll
▫️Raiders: Josh McDaniels
▫️Vikings: Kevin O’Connell
Four remain: Dolphins, Jaguars, Saints, Texans
Josh McDaniels, the former New England Patriots offensive coordinator, has long been rumored as a candidate for Houston’s head coaching vacancy due to his connections with Texans GM Nick Caserio and team televangelist Jack Easterby.
Apparently McDaniels would rather go work for the man with the worst hair cut in history in Sin City.
Kevin O’Connell made the Texans’ short list of prospects, or at least the list of people that got a second interview, but has reportedly chosen to move to the land of ice and snow to take over the Minnesota Vikings.
Houston Texans Known Current List of Head Coaching Candidates (from NFL.com)
- Brian Flores, former Dolphins head coach (second interview completed)
- Jonathan Gannon, Eagles defensive coordinator (second interview completed)
- Joe Lombardi, Chargers offensive coordinator (first interview completed)
- Josh McCown, veteran NFL QB (second interview completed)
Of the remaining candidates, Flores is the only one with head coaching experience. However, as we learned recently, his fight with the NFL, New York Giants, Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins might preclude any future hope of coaching an NFL team ever again.
Jonathan Gannon, the Eagles’ defensive coordinator, has not interviewed with any of the other teams currently still seeking a head coach. He did interview with the Broncos and Vikings, along with the Texans, but was passed over by Denver and Minnesota other two teams in favor of Nathaniel Hackett and O’Connell.
Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon remains an extremely strong contender for Texans' head coaching vacancy after "knocking it out of the park" in interviews in addition to his follow-up meetings with team officials, according to league sources @PFN365— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) February 3, 2022
Lombardi only interviewed with the Texans, but was not called back for a second meeting.
Josh McCown, the absolute least qualified of virtually every single name interviewed by all the teams this cycle, has somehow completed two interviews with the Texans. The rising fear in Houston that McEasterby will hire McCown might just turn into the final straw for many who support the team.
Many wanted the Texans to make a run at former beloved Houston linebacker turned 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. However, after interviewing with the Vikings, Ryans stated publicly he wanted to remain in San Francisco for the time being.
Jerod Mayo, the linebackers coach of the New England Patriots, was also rumored to have Texans head coaching links, but there’s no record of a formal interview between him and Caserio.
Like many of you, I really want to trust that Nick Caserio can right this sinking ship. If he is to do that, he has to get this hire right and start building for the future immediately. If he hires Flores, Lombardi or Gannon - or even a dark horse contender we’re unaware of with a legit resume - that trust will continue and hope will build.
If he hires McCown or David Culley 2.0, that trust will evaporate. We’ll all know who is really calling the shots in NRG Park, and that person won’t be Nick Caserio.