Seemingly every offseason, one team or another is linked to Josh McDaniels as a potential head coach candidate. This offseason, the Houston Texans — led by GM Nick Caserio — are the first organization linked with the Patriots OC. With uncertainty around David Culley’s future in Houston, speculation could be rife over the next couple of weeks. On Thursday, December 30, Pro Football Network’s NFL Insider and Chief Draft Analyst discussed the latest he is hearing around the NFL.
Update: David Culley was fired by the Texans on January 13. For all the latest NFL head coaching news and rumors, make sure to bookmark our 2022 NFL Head Coach Tracker.
Could Josh McDaniels replace David Culley after just one season with the Houston Texans?
Given everything that has happened in Houston this year, many people expected Culley to get one more season. However, Pauline hears that might not be the case.
“You know, this was something I heard earlier this week, and it’s one of those situations — one of those things you hear, you’re like, ‘Nah, that’s not going to happen.’ But the more I delved into it, the more calls I made, the more people are telling me there’s a very good chance that Culley is fired after one year of coaching the Houston Texans, and Nick Caserio brings in Josh McDaniels.”
“That is the hot name as far as a replacement in Houston right now. Obviously, Caserio and McDaniels have a long history or had a long history at New England, where they won a lot of Super Bowl championships.”
The potential of Davis Mills and Mac Jones could be crucial to the decision for McDaniels
Whether McDaniels makes the jump from New England to Houston is intriguing. Would he be willing to trade in one rookie QB in Mac Jones for another in Davis Mills? Pauline discussed that on the show.
“I think the question people think Josh McDaniels has to answer in his mind – Is Davis Mills the quarterback of the future (in Houston)? Can he work with Davis Mills to build a competitive and then championship franchise with the Houston Texans?”
What Pauline didn’t mention during the podcast is people are telling him that despite a terrific rookie year, McDaniels may feel Jones is not a Super Bowl-winning quarterback. Jones may be able to win during the regular season, but McDaniels may feel it’s a situation where he’s one-and-done in the playoffs and doesn’t get very far into the postseason.
“Because there’s no quarterback at the top of the draft worth taking. There’s no quarterback really in the top 12 picks worth taking. You may have a quarterback go early, but that is a team going to reach one. So right now, the big rumor coming out of Houston is Culley could be gone after the year, and then Caserio hires Josh McDaniels.”
Josh McDaniels does not have a great record as a head coach
McDaniels first got a head coaching gig back in 2009 with the Denver Broncos. However, his time away from New England did not go well. He did not even make it two seasons, as Denver fired him on December 5, 2010, with the Broncos sitting at 3-9. Over the course of his two seasons, McDaniels had an 11-17 record (0.393) with no playoff appearances.
During his time in Denver, McDaniels was embroiled in a videotaping scandal. McDaniels was fined $50,000 for not reporting the incident immediately to the league office. The episode echoed the “Spygate” scandal that the Patriots were punished for while McDaniels was the offensive coordinator. This incident reportedly was part of the impetus for firing McDaniels in Week 13 of the 2010 season.
McDaniels has never had another head coaching job, both due to teams passing him over and his personal choice. In 2018, McDaniels was announced as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. However, the same day as the official announcement, McDaniels decided to stay with the Patriots.
McDaniels has been interviewed for other head coaching vacancies since then. He met with the Philadelphia Eagles last season but interestingly did not speak with the Texans. According to a report by Benjamin Allbright, last January, controversial Texans executive Jack Easterby was keen on McDaniels, but Caserio was less sure.
Would Nick Caserio lose some control if the Texans went down this route?
The “control” element could certainly be a concern for Caserio. With Culley as head coach, Caserio has been communicating via the headset and getting involved in the games. With the Patriots, Caserio had a headset, but it was used more to listen rather than communicate. Would McDaniels be open to having Caserio direct things? Or would McDaniels want to run his own game script?
It will be interesting to see how things play out in Houston. Easterby, Caserio, and McDaniels have all worked together before. However, they had Patriots HC Bill Belichick pulling the strings and acting as the glue that kept the franchise together. Could these three co-exist together without Belichick as the central factor?