What are the Houston Texans Doing?
There's a lot of teams looking to make changes this off-season. But, the one team with the biggest mess on it's hands is the Houston Texans. You have a disgruntled franchise quarterback, no draft capital and no money to sign free agents. Plus, before ownership fired him, Bill O'Brien managed to trade away all the weapons that made Houston dangerous without getting much in return.
So, to stop the bleeding, the Houston Texans have hired a veteran coach. Baltimore Ravens Passing Game Coordinator David Culley. Never heard of him? Well, the 65 year old coach has been around the league for a long time, but never has held a top position. In 2019, he was promoted to assistant head coach for the Ravens...but since John Harbaugh is super hands on, that's more of like an honorary title than it is an actual job.
However, every coach that has ever worked with Culley has given him high praise. Harbaugh told ESPN that Culley is respected in the league "as a teacher, game-planner and motivator." His players and fellow coaches love him. But, the question is: Is he the right guy to stop the Texans' tailspin?
I would venture to say he's not. Deshaun Watson has asked to be traded away. Rumor is that JJ Watt also wants out because he wants a shot a title before he retires. And you have a guy that's never had to be the guy in charge trying to get a volatile situation under control. He may be deserving of being a head coach somewhere. But, this is a lot to take on in your first job running the ship. A lot of experts say that Culley is a master at 'changing the culture' of teams. But, the Texans need a lot more than a culture change. They need a culture change, a complete rebuild and to find an identity. That's a lot to ask of a first time head coach that spent more time at the college level than at the pro level.
With that said, I think this is the idea behind the hire. Instead of dumping a bunch of money into an experienced NFL coach like an Eric Bienemy or Leslie Frazier, I think Houston took the cheap route hoping for a home run. You save a bunch of money hiring a guy like Culley. If he ends up being the "guy" moving forward for the Texans, than you have a head coach under contract for next to nothing for 4 years. If he doesn't turn things around, you have a scapegoat that you can fire with zero pushback from anybody while you trade away the farm to get cap space and draft picks for a rebuild.
Houston had the least desirable head coaching opening. All their star players want to move on. So, under the circumstances, Culley probably isn't the worst decision in the world. Either he turns out better than expected or you have a guy that's expendable and can easily be replaced when the team is in a better position. Either way, it will be an interesting off-season for Houston as they navigate one tough roster decision after another.