The Houston Texans are once again in the market for a head coach. On Thursday, the club fired coach David Culley after just one season with the team. The Texans went 4-13 under Culley in 2021 and finished at or very close to the bottom of the league in almost every main statistical category. While Houston has plenty of areas it needs to address on its roster, the organization will now jump into the fray of another coaching search this cycle.
Below, we'll dive into a handful of candidates who could be of interest to the Texans as they look for a new leader in 2022.
Most recent job: Head coach, Dolphins
It is a bit interesting that the Texans didn't immediately fire Culley on Monday following the season and waited until Thursday. One theory for why they did ultimately choose to fire him could be thanks to a coach that they liked suddenly becoming available. A candidate who falls under that circumstance would be former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, who was surprisingly relieved of his duties earlier this week. Flores is not only arguably the best coach currently available, but he also has a connection with the Texans' front office. Executive VP of Football Operations Jack Easterby and GM Nick Caserio both worked with Flores during their days with the New England Patriots where Flores rose through the coaching ranks from 2008-2018 and ultimately ascended to the team's defensive coordinator. It's possible that relationship could spark interest from Houston's end in pursuing Flores.
Also, if the team was looking to mend fences with quarterback Deshaun Watson in an attempt to keep him in Houston, the addition of Flores could go a long way. There has been plenty of speculation that Watson wanted to be traded to the Dolphins to play under Flores, so if they were to hire him maybe that changes his desire to play elsewhere. Even if it doesn't, Flores is a hot candidate that the Texans would be wise to pursue.
Current job: Offensive coordinator, Patriots
Josh McDaniels' name hasn't been as popular this hiring cycle as there hasn't been much buzz surrounding the Patriots offensive coordinator. However, that could change with the Texans job opening up. Houston has flirted with the possibility of hiring McDaniels in the past and, in a similar fashion to Flores, has a front office that is extremely familiar with him. As it relates to Caserio, who had a wide-ranging job during his days with the Patriots, the current Texans GM used to have a direct wire to McDaniels' headset on game day where he'd inform him of the down and distance on each play. Given that direct working relationship and shared time in New England, Caserio may know McDaniels better than any other team currently looking for a head coach.
Of course, the question would be whether or not McDaniels would actually leave the Patriots. The arrival and success of rookie quarterback Mac Jones may change the calculus for McDaniels, who would seem to have the inside track of ascending to head coach in New England whenever Bill Belichick retires. While that may be a difficult opportunity to walk away from, teaming up with Caserio to build his own team could be an enticing endeavor.
Current job: Offensive coordinator, Buccaneers
With the Texans also firing offensive coordinator Tim Kelly, that would suggest that they want to revamp their offense. If they are looking for a younger coach following Culley, they could take a look at Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. He has enjoyed tremendous success coaching Tom Brady over the last two years as the Bucs led the league in passing yards and passing touchdowns this season. They also ranked as the No. 1 offense in DVOA. Of course, the Texans don't have the weapons that they do in Tampa, but Leftwich is a stellar offensive mind that also played in the league, which could bring a much-needed boost of energy to a Texans organization that has struggled off and on the field the last few years.