The Houston Texans have found their new head coach, but it’s not who anyone expected.
The Texans made the long-awaited decision on their new head coaching hire on Wednesday night, handing the reins of the struggling franchise to Baltimore Ravens offensive assistant David Culley, sources told ESPN.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Thursday morning that the new head coaching hire will not sway franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson away from his demand to be traded, which makes this quite an awkward spot to come into for Culley.
Before getting to Culley, let’s address the elephant in the room: Eric Bieniemy. The accomplished and qualified offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs—who just hosted their third straight AFC Championship Game, will play in their second straight Super Bowl next week, and are -175 odds (888sport) favorites to win their second straight Lombardi Trophy—still hasn’t been a serious candidate for a head coaching gig even with the prospect of his hire possibly luring Watson back into the fold.
Instead of the man who has been learning under one of the greatest offensive minds in NFL history in Andy Reid, moulding the best player in the league in Patrick Mahomes, and putting the QB in a position to lead the most potent offensive attack the league arguably ever seen, the Texans went with Culley, who’s resume is less than impressive.
Culley spent his first 15 years in the college ranks before breaking through to the NFL as a receivers coach, a role which he would remain in on several teams over the next 23 years. In 2017 he was made quarterbacks coach for the Buffalo Bills and oversaw Josh Allen’s ghastly rookie year before moving on to coach Baltimore’s receivers (arguably the worst group in the league) while also serving as their passing game coordinator (last-ranked passing offense in the NFL).
John Harbaugh has spoken glowingly of his now-former staff member, and why not, the Ravens will be receiving a pair of third-round compensatory picks for Culley getting hired from their staff. This stems from a resolution made in November that would help incentivize teams to hire and develop minority head coach and general manager candidates.
Houston’s new general manager, Nick Caserio, who was hired a few weeks ago, was tasked with leading the head coach hiring process. The 45-year-old also interviewed Bieniemy, Bills DC Leslie Frazier, former NFL head coach Jim Caldwell, and Indianapolis Colts DC Matt Eberflus, but in the end decided to give the job to Culey.
Watson, who put up career highs in passing yards, touchdowns, and completion percentage while throwing a career-low sevenp picks last season, was already unhappy with the process the team used to hire Caserio. The Clemson product had demanded a trade weeks ago and after the hire of Culley, it was made public and official that Houston’s franchise player wants out.
If they don’t get a king’s ransom for a top five quarterback like Watson, they’ll rue the day forever.