Houston Texans rumors: Team seeking GM first, Deshaun Watson will have input on head coach

By Vincent Frank

Houston Texans rumors: There’s going to be a lot of talk about who the team’s new head coach is going to be after they close up shop on another disappointing season. Houston fired Bill O’Brien after an 0-4 start to the season. And while interim coach Romeo Crennel has done well to post a 4-5 record, he’s not seen as the long-term solution in Houston.

There’s also a pretty major backdrop to all of this. Fresh off signing a four-year, $156 million extension, star quarterback Deshaun Watson is enjoying yet another banner season for the Texans. He’s the face of the franchise. He’ll have some input when it comes to the Texans hiring a new head coach. It’s in this that Watson has already seemingly chimed in. However, it remains to be seen how that factors into the coaching search and what impact Watson’s word has on whomever fills Houston’s general manager vacancy.

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Updated: Dec. 16, 11:55 AM EST

Houston Texans rumors: Louis Riddick interviewing for GM job on Wednesday

NFL teams all have a slightly different approach to hiring new head coaches and general mangers, and in the case of the Texans, their circumstances and actions suggest they’ll go for the executive first before hiring the new leader of the locker room.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Monday Night Football analyst Louis Riddick will interview for Houston’s vacant general manager post.

Riddick spent time in the front offices of Washington and Philadelphia as director of pro personnel. In those seven years of experience with that leadership position, Riddick saw the Football Team and the Eagles secure four playoff berths. Although he hasn’t held an NFL front office job since 2013, there’s no denying Riddick has serious credentials.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Riddick is also lined up for a GM interview with the Detroit Lions on Friday. Will Riddick leave the Texans without a contract, and ultimately wind up in Detroit? Or will the organization sign off for Riddick to rebuild Houston’s roster around superstar quarterback Deshaun Watson? We’ll know soon enough, it seems.

Houston Texans rumors: Deshaun Watson will be consulted about next head coach

Texans owner Cal McNair confirmed to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle what seemed to be inevitable. Franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson will have input on who takes over as the team’s full-time head coach following the firing of Bill O’Brien earlier this season.

In no way should this come as a surprise. Watson, 25, just inked a $156 million extension with Houston. He’s seen as the face of the franchise and someone who could lead the Texans back to league-wide relevance. Why not consult with him after the entire O’Brien disaster?

This also seems to be a clear indication that the Texans are going to look for an offensive-minded head coach during the offseason. They have already been linked to current NFL offensive coordinators Brian Schottenheimer (Seahawks) and Eric Bieniemy (Chiefs) with the latter drawing support from Watson himself.

There’s obviously other options out there, too. If the Texans want to go with a proven head coach while making a splash, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh could be a target. He’s worked wonders with quarterbacks in the past. However, that’s pure speculation on our part. At the very least, we now know what type of coach the Texans are looking for and that Watson will have some level of input.

Update: Dec. 13 11:40 AM EST

Houston Texans rumors: Deshaun Watson pushing for OC Tim Kelly to return

As the Texans conduct their coaching search, they are making sure Watson has a key voice in the efforts. After dealing with Bill O’Brien for several years, hurting the team and its future, Houston is ready to listen to its franchise quarterback.

He is also advocating for Houston to retain a key member of its current coaching staff. According to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, Watson is pushing for the Texans to keep offensive coordinator Tim Kelly on the coaching staff in 2021.

Kelly started his coaching career in 2008, serving as a graduate assistant at Illinois Wesleyan University. After two seasons with the program, he became a defensive coordinator and defensive line coach for Minnesota State Moorhead in 2010. After a stint at Ball State University (2011) and Penn State University (2012-’13), he joined the Texans as an offensive quality control coach in 2014.

The 34-year-old has slowly worked his way up the coaching ladder. Moving from OQC coach to assistant offensive line coach then coaching tight ends. In 2019, he was named offensive coordinator and also became quarterbacks coach this season.

Since the Texans fired O’Brien, we’ve seen a very different version of this offense. Across his last eight games, Watson has a 115.5 quarterback rating with an 18/3 TD/INT ratio, 2,450 passing yards, 273 rushing yards and two rushing scores.

He is playing at an MVP-caliber level and the Texans have noticed his work with Kelly. Ownership is also reportedly impressed by Kelly’s work and likes Watson’s confidence in him.

While Kelly likely won’t be a candidate to become head coach, don’t be surprised if he remains on this staff in 2021.

Houston Texans rumors: Seattle Seahawks OC Brian Schottenheimer a candidate to become head coach?

The Houston Texans involve numerous voices in their search for a new general manager and head coach. Recognized NFL icons like Tony Dungy and Andre Johnson are among those consulting, but the team is also relying on headhunter Jed Hughes.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Hughes is recommending Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.

The 47-year-old coach, the son of Marty Schottenheimer, took over as Seattle’s offensive coordinator in 2018. Replacing Darrell Bevell, Seattle’s offense has ranked top-10 in points in each of the last three seasons. In the past two years, the Seahawks have ranked eighth in total yards.

Schottenheimer started his coaching career as an assistant with the St. Louis Rams in 1997, slowly working his way up the coaching ranks. He served as the New York Jets OC (2006-’11) and St. Louis Rams OC (2012-14), before heading to the collegiate ranks at the University of Georgia. He returned to the NFL in 2016, serving as the Indianapolis Colts’ quarterbacks coach for two seasons.

Notably, per Schefter, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is considered a strong candidate for Houston’s head coach vacancy.

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Houston Texans rumors: Stars want Eric Bieniemy as next head coach

Houston Texans rumors
Feb 2, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy‚Äč reacts after beating the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

“The (Houston Texans) owner does value very much the feedback of his highest-paid player, and sources said Watson has already advocated for Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy,” CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora reported recently.

This really shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Despite Bill O’Brien’s struggles as an offensive-minded head coach in Houston, the Texans are going to want an expert on that side of the ball to be their new head coach. It’s all about a relationship with Watson and his continued ascension to star status.

What better coach than the widely respected Bieniemy? Houston Texans rumors have already suggested that he’s on the top of their wish list. For good reason. A former NFL running back, he’s done a tremendous job as the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator under Andy Reid.

Serving full-time in that role since 2018, Bieniemy has overseen Patrick Mahomes’ historical performance under center. The reigning Super Bowl MVP’s first season as a starter in the league under Bieniemy included him winning the league MVP award. He has not seen a downtick in production since.

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For Bieniemy, it is more than likely he will have his pick of potential landing spots after the 2020 NFL season comes to a conclusion. He’s on the short list for pretty much every team that has already fired its head coach or will do so come January.

Houston Texans rumors will continue to pick up on this front as the team finishes up the 2020 season. For now, Bieniemy to Houston makes the most sense in the world.

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