Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Former Dolphins coach Brian Flores is being viewed as the strong favorite to take over the Houston Texans by numerous coaches and general managers involved in this hiring cycle. Flores interviewed with the Texans on Friday and there is a strong anticipation that a deal with Houston could come together very quickly.

The Texans did not fire head coach David Culley until late in the week, and did so after Flores was let go in a move that did surprise some in the coaching market. Flores has strong ties to Texans general manager Nick Caserio and executive Jack Easterby -- all have Patriots roots -- with Flores and Caserio working together as scouts. Flores initially joined the Patriots as a scouting assistant in 2004, at age 23, moved up to a pro scout in 2006 and moved over to Bill Belichick's coaching staff in 2008. Caserio arrived in New England in 2001 as a personnel assistant, and was an area scout at the time Flores arrived, and moved up the ranks there to lead the personnel department before leaving to take over the Texans a year ago.

Flores won eight of his final nine games with the Dolphins this season and had the team alive for a potential playoff spot within the final two weeks the past two seasons. Among the general managers who know Caserio well, many believe that Flores becoming available was key to the Texans moving on from Culley -- who was always viewed as a stopgap -- and leading Caserio to pursue a younger coach who could shepherd the franchise through its rebuild. Furthermore, it was widely known that disgruntled Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson was a fan of Flores -- Miami explored trading for Watson throughout his lost 2021 season while facing numerous allegations of sexual misconduct or sexual assault -- which would undoubtedly be a factor in this coaching search as well.

"I'm telling you, Nick is going to come out of this looking like a genius," said one high-ranking NFL exec who knows Caserio well. "He and Flores go way back. That is a perfect fit. And, it's going to help him keep that quarterback. Just watch. He doesn't have to trade him, he can ask for the moon, and Flores could help rebuild the relationships in the meantime. It just makes too much sense."

Another GM said: "That looks like a no-brainer to me. Who would Nick hire before him? They already have a relationship. There's trust there."

The Texans will certainly reach out to other candidates, and Patriots inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo will also merit consideration. But with Flores interviewing with the Bears on Friday and other teams interested as well, it would not surprise many involved in this hiring cycle if the Texans made a concerted push to secure Flores by early next week.