The Houston Texans are hiring Baltimore Ravens assistant head coach, passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach David Culley to be their next head coach, the team announced on Friday. This fills the final open NFL vacancy at head coach, but it comes tethered to what's easily the biggest controversy in the league at the moment -- by way of a . But while Culley and the Texans , they've already begun building a staff that might include Lovie Smith, the former Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, possibly signing on as defensive coordinator in Houston.
That is to be determined, but Culley is already garnering a lot of praise from around the league, particularly from the Ravens.
"It's a great opportunity there. They have a heck of an organization. I do believe that David Culley would be a tremendous hire for any team; maybe, especially, the Texans with Deshaun Watson," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said of the Texans opening leading up to the divisional playoff game, via ESPN.
Of course, it's unlikely he'll have Watson going forward.
Culley, at 65, is the oldest first-time NFL head coach ever. He is also the fifth oldest head coach in the NFL right now. He has spent 27 years in the NFL with almost all being spent coaching wide receivers. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport notes the veteran coach is known for his leadership skills and ability to relate to players. There is a misconception that a successful NFL head coach must have served time calling plays. It is more important that the person be organized and have a vision while effectively leading.
The first order of business is convincing quarterback Deshaun Watson to stay with the team. Watson was dissatisfied with the team's approach to filling the general manager and head coaching positions. Watson has been a vocal advocate of incumbent offensive coordinator Tim Kelly. With a normal coaching change, almost the entire staff would be turned over. In an effort to appease Watson, Houston is retaining Kelly as offensive coordinator, according to Rapoport. The trade drama is likely over as quickly as it arose.
Houston hired Nick Caserio from New England to be the team's general manager. Caserio interviewed Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, former Lions and Colts coach Jim Caldwell, as well as current Texans quarterback Josh McCown.
Houston was the first organization with a head coaching vacancy after firing Bill O'Brien in October. The Texans were the final shoe to drop in the league-wide head coaching search. The Eagles, Jets, Jaguars, Chargers, Lions and Falcons have all filled their vacancies. Culley is the first Black head coach to be hired during the current cycle.
The Texans went 4-12 this season.