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5 Houston Texans head coach candidates to replace David Culley

Vincent Frank

For the second consecutive year, the downtrodden Houston Texans are looking for a new head coach. In what isn’t too much of a surprise given the fumbling nature of the organization, they fired head coach David Culley after just one season.

Culley’s firing comes amid growing questions over the direction of the organization under embattled owner Cal McNair. It also comes with the Deshaun Watson situation still up in the air. He didn’t play a single snap for a four-win Texans squad this past season after requesting a trade and with north of 20 women accusing the Pro Bowl signal caller of sexual misconduct in civil court.

It goes without saying that the Texans are once again at a crossroads. What general manager Nick Caserio and the aforementioned McNair opt to do moving forward in their coaching search will tell us a lot about this laughingstock of an organization. Below, we look at five ideal head coach candidates to replace Culley.

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Houston Texans promote Lovie Smith

houston texans promote lovie smith
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It seems highly unlikely that the Texans are going to be able to nab one the high-profile head coach candidates this cycle (outside of one possibility we’ll mention below). There’s rightful concerns over the direction of the organization with drama being the name of the game behind the scenes.

In an attempt to create some sense of continuity, Houston could very well look to promote Smith from defensive coordinator. While his unit was not great in 2021, it did show some promise with a ton of young faces doing their thing. With 11 seasons under his belt as an NFL head coach (nine with the Bears, two in Tampa Bay), Smith would bring that experience to the mix. Remember, he actually boasts a winning record (89-87) and led Chicago to the Super Bowl following the 2006 season.

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Houston Texans nab Jerod Mayo from the New England Patriots

houston texans hire jerod mayo
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

We’re pretty sure that the relationships Caserio created during his two decades with the New England Patriots will play a roll in Houston’s decision-making process. Enter into the equation a positional coach who is already drawing interest from multiple teams as an up-and-coming defensive mind.

The former two-time Pro Bowl linebacker was actually a first-round pick of the Patriots back in 2008 when Caserio served as the team’s director of player personnel. Since retiring following the 2015, Mayo has ascended the coaching ranks in New England and is seen as a head coach in waiting.

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Houston Texans hire David Shaw away from Stanford

houston texans hire david shaw
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a while since Shaw has been seen as an NFL head coach candidate. That could have to do with a lack of recent success in Northern California. Under Shaw, the Cardinal have posted an 11-19 record over the past three seasons. Prior to that, he led the program to eight consecutive bowl appearances after taking over for Jim Harbaugh.

The obvious connection here is Mills. If Houston’s brass thinks that he’s the quarterback of the future, bringing in the youngster’s college coach could make a ton of sense. It’s also not like Shaw lost his coaching ability simply because Stanford has struggled recently.

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Houston Texans hire Josh McDaniels

NFL: New England Patriots at Philadelphia Eagles
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of Caserio’s past relationships, McDaniels is the name that has been bandied about a whole heck of a lot. In fact, Houston kicked the tires on this possibility prior to hiring Culley in the first place last offseason.

It goes without saying that McDaniels is once again one of the hottest names of the cycle. What he was able to do with rookie first-round pick Mac Jones this past regular season adds another layer to that. With a ton of previous success calling plays and seen as an innovative offensive mind, McDaniels would be home run for the Houston Texans. Whether his relationship with Caserio is enough for the veteran coach to overlook the issues we’re seeing in Houston remains to be seen.

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Houston Texans shock everyone, hire Lane Kiffin

houston texans hire lane kiffin
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

At this point, we wouldn’t put anything past Mr. McNair and Co. That could include bringing in an embattled and highly volatile college head coach to lead the charge. Of course, we’re talking about the great Lane Kiffin. Just imagine the narrative if the Texans actually went in this direction.

From an on-field standpoint, it might make some sense. Kiffin has enjoyed success at the college level since being fired by the then-Oakland Raiders during the 2008 season. The belief is that he’s matured from a coaching perspective. He’s a player-friendly coach and a darn good offensive mind. A move of this ilk could also potentially be a packaged deal with Houston targeting Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral in the 2022 NFL Draft.

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