There's a new sheriff in town for the Houston Texans, and it's not who anyone expected. The team will reportedly hire David Culley as their new head coach after a lengthy search marred with controversy, the 65-year-old becoming the oldest first-time NFL head coach in league history. Culley joins the Texans after spending two seasons with John Harbaugh as a part of the Baltimore Ravens coaching staff and totals 27 seasons of coaching experience at the NFL level -- more than 40 years in all. As he readies to take the reins in South Texas, it appears he and the organization already have eyes on who will join him, and that reportedly includes Lovie Smith and Josh McCown, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
Smith would be a big get for the Texans in the role of defensive coordinator, considering his profile at the professional level.
A former longtime head coach of the Chicago Bears, Smith was defined by his ability to piece together and coach up an impactful defense, which helped land him the job as head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after his divorce from the Bears. The Buccaneers would change course in short order and go after a much bigger whale in Bruce Arians, and Smith would take his talents back to the collegiate ranks as head coach at the University of Illinois in 2016 -- where he remained until parting ways with the Fighting Illini in 2020. If he chooses to join Culley as DC in Houston, it'll mark the end of a half-decade hiatus from the NFL, where he left with an 89-87 record as head coach.
As noted, he might also be joined by former quarterback Josh McCown, who interviewed for the head coach vacancy with the Texans before being beat out by Culley. It's unclear what role McCown would garner, but it's clear Houston likes what he'd bring to the table. They'll also reportedly keep Tim Kelly onboard in the role of offensive coordinator, presumably to retain some level of continuity on-staff for Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson, who remains disgruntled with the team and has yet to speak publicly about the hiring of Culley after seeing him beat out Leslie Frazier, Jim Caldwell and Eric Bieniemy; and it was the latter whom Watson pounded the table for initially.
That is simply one part of why the relationship between Watson and the Texans is fractured, and while Culley works to put his staff together for 2021, he knows his biggest problem will be trying to make sure his franchise quarterback sticks around --.