The continued presence of Jack Easterby and the clandestine hiring of his friend, Nick Caserio, as GM has sent the NFL franchise spiraling further into dysfunction. Pro Football Network Insider Benjamin Allbright believes the team is yet to decide on the next Houston Texans head coach. Though, he has heard that two candidates, Leslie Frazier and Eric Bieniemy, are being strongly considered.
Houston, we have a problem
The crazy Texans’ offseason may be far from over. Yet, it looks like there could be a step towards stability with the hiring of a new head coach. The firing of Bill O’Brien, who was both the head coach and de facto general manager, led many to believe that the future was bright.
“The Houston Texans’ situation has been all over the map.” Allbright summarized. “I would suggest the players are still pushing the Eric Bieniemy side. I would suggest that ownership had a good meeting with Leslie Frazier, so don’t count him out either. So there’s a lot going on. That situation is in flux right now.”
He went on to add, “Basically, the things that we reported on previously are pretty much where it stands. Just add Leslie Frazier to that mix in terms of being a serious, viable candidate.”
Could Leslie Frazier be the next Texans head coach?
After a challenging spell as the Minnesota Vikings head coach, Leslie Frazier could be ready to lead another team. Frazier spent three and a half seasons in Minnesota, making the playoffs once and leaving with a 21-32-1 regular season record.
Two underwhelming seasons as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator followed. He’s rebuilt his reputation in recent years, though, first as the secondary coach for the Baltimore Ravens and, more recently, as defensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills.
The Bills, under the leadership of Sean McDermott, Brian Daboll, and Leslie Frazier, have established themselves as one of the best teams in the NFL. After 17 seasons of not making the playoffs, they’ve qualified for the postseason in three of the last four years. The Texans are the only team to request an interview with Frazier during this hiring cycle. Yet, he’s a respected name around the league.
Eric Bieniemy appears to be the players’ choice
Rumors continue to swirl about quarterback Deshaun Watson’s future in Houston. Albert Breer reported that Watson had advocated for Eric Bieniemy and the organization’s decision not to invite him for an interview caused Watson’s unhappiness to resurface. The Texans have since entered damage control mode. They have requested an interview with Bieniemy (and Leslie Frazier), but whether this (or even his hiring) will be enough to appease their franchise QB isn’t clear at this point.
Bieniemy has worked his way up from running backs coach to offensive coordinator with the Chiefs. He has been heavily praised by those he’s worked with, including Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes. He’d be the third consecutive offensive coordinator of Reid’s to earn a head coaching job.
Doug Pederson spent five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and won a Super Bowl before being fired. Matt Nagy is preparing to enter his fourth season at the helm of the Chicago Bears.
Why has Eric Bieniemy not been hired yet?
A candidate many thought might have his choice of head coaching jobs is Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. Despite being invited to interview for most of the roles that need filling, it hasn’t been a successful hiring cycle for Bieniemy. With just two vacancies remaining, he could miss out for a second consecutive year.
Allbright quickly dismissed the notion that Bieniemy’s race (and by proxy, Leslie Frazier) prevents his hiring, reiterating comments he previously made.
“That’s not what’s going on here. There’s a combination of things. Eric Bieniemy’s past, Eric Bieniemy is not the play-caller in Kansas City, and then the fact that his tenure as an OC at the University of Colorado really wasn’t good at all. He doesn’t interview particularly well, and there’s a lot of different things going on here.”
Texans’ owner Cal McNair cannot interview either candidate until January 25 due to the NFL’s anti-tampering rules. With the Chiefs and Bills meeting on Sunday in the AFC Championship Game, though, all eyes will be watching. Decision-makers will have the opportunity to see Bieniemy’s offense take on Frazier’s defense, and the future Houston Texans head coach could be on the sidelines.