The Texans met with former NFL head coach Jim Caldwell and current NFL back-up quarterback, Josh McCown, about their vacant head coaching position on Friday, and are very likely to meet again with Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier next week, league sources said.
Frazier had an initial interview with the club last week, following Buffalo's suffocating victory over Baltimore in the Divisional Round, with owner Cal McNair and general manager Nick Caserio both very impressed with Frazier's work on the field and demeanor and leadership skills, sources said. The team also still has Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and Ravens passing game coordinator David Culley under consideration for the opening, though it's worth noting that under the NFL's tampering regulations regarding head coaching hires, the Texans could have already hired Caldwell, McCown, or Culley for the job.
The team's methodical approach to the search has many within the industry anticipating second meetings with perhaps Bieniemy as well as Frazier following the AFC Championship Game, as neither of those men could be hired as head coach yet. Whichever of Frazier or Bieniemy is coaching in the Super Bowl could not formally be announced as head coach until their team's season is over, but the Texans could enter into a non-binding agreement with them and begin assembling a staff for them in the coming weeks (as the Falcons did for Dan Quinn when he was still coordinating the Seahawks defense in the Super Bowl).
There is a strong sense among some familiar with the search that Frazier could be just the head coach to reconnect disgruntled quarterback Deshaun Watson with the franchise, and his expertise on the defensive side of the ball, where the Texans have tremendous gains to make if they are going to get back to being a playoff team. The offense, specifically Watson clicking with play caller Tim Kelly -- who is held in very high regard by the quarterback and the organization -- is far further along. Watson is also coming off the best season of his career, which was largely undermined by an inability to stop the run or get off the field on the other side of the ball.
Caserio spent his entire long career in New England under one of the greatest coaches -- and defensive coordinators -- of all-time, in Bill Belichick, and the model of established defensive-minded head coach with a younger offensive coordinator would certainly resonate with him. Caldwell is also more than qualified for the job and was quite successful in Detroit before being fired despite a winning season, but met with the Texans at the very start of the process as well and the fact he was not hired already would lead some to conclude the Texans may not go in that direction.
McCown, as reported here back in September, is viewed by many organizations around the NFL as a sure-fire NFL head coach in the making and is already on shortlists for offensive coordinator jobs despite still being an active NFL player. The Texans signed him off of the Eagles practice squad at midseason to a multi-year deal at least in part to bind him to the organization as a potential member of the coaching staff. His head coaching interview is noteworthy to say the least, but numerous sources close to that situation would be very surprised if the Texans actually hired him for this opening. McCown, 41, could merit more serious consideration down the road, and in the meantime he is an exemplary sounding board and resource for Watson as he continues to ascend among the very best quarterbacks in the NFL.