This is interesting:
A Deshaun Watson-related note: A source told me teams have asked permission to interview Texans OC Tim Kelly for their open OC jobs and Houston has denied the requests. Watson has spoken highly of Kelly. Could be an olive branch. Obviously, remains to be seen whether it matters.— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) January 20, 2021
As taking another offensive coordinator position would be a lateral move for Tim Kelly, the Texans are well within their rights to refuse to allow Kelly to speak with other teams. It’s still an odd move, however, because it’s generally understood that a new head coach would want to bring in his own people, including but not limited to his own offensive coordinator. Preventing Kelly from talking to potential employers would therefore seem to indicate that (1) the organization wants to keep the option of Kelly staying on as OC in a new regime open or (2) the Texans are simply being obstructionist pricks and screwing over Kelly as he seeks his next opportunity. While recent actions of Houston management don’t allow us to completely eliminate the possibility of the latter being true, the former seems much more logical.
The question then becomes: Why?
The answer is easy: Deshaun Watson.
Watson has spoken highly of Kelly and expressed a desire to continue to be coached by him. Could the Texans, in another attempt to earn Watson’s trust and repair the damage done to their relationship, insist that a new head coach agree to keep Kelly on staff? Would a head coaching candidate worth his salt agree to that? Perhaps he would if it meant keeping his franchise quarterback engaged and not looking for real estate in another city.
What’s your reaction to this report?
UPDATE: Seems the Lions and Titans were two teams interested in speaking with Kelly about their openings at offensive coordinator.
Texans offensive coordinator Tim Kelly was requested for OC interviews by both the Lions and Titans—and Houston blocked Kelly on both, per sources. Interesting sidelight to Texans' coaching search.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 24, 2021
Some under the impression Houston's keeping Kelly in deference to Deshaun Watson.