Texans fire David Culley: Three candidates who could replace the former Houston head coach

The Houston Texans fired head coach David Culley after just one season, suggesting they already have a replacement in mind.

David Culley never stood a chance. The Houston Texans fired their head coach Thursday after one year even though when they hired him, they knew he’d be saddled with a terrible roster, no quarterback, and even less of a chance to succeed. The Texans’ 4-13 2021 record was probably the ceiling for that team.

David Culley fired in Houston

Was Culley’s time as Texans coach doomed before it started? Yes. But for the organization, it was always going to be a bridge situation. Culley will be 67 during the 2022 season, and he took the HC job because it was the only one he’s ever been offered.

“Earlier today, I met with David Culley and Tim Kelly (Offensive Coordinator) to inform them we will be moving in a different direction at the head coach and offensive coordinator positions,” said Texans General Manager Nick Caserio. “I came to this difficult but necessary decision after reviewing our football operation. While a change after one season is unusual, we had philosophical differences over the long-term direction and vision for our program moving forward.

“We appreciate Coach Culley for helping us navigate through a difficult season, but it is my responsibility to make decisions that I feel are best for our organization. The search for the next coach of the Houston Texans will begin immediately.”

Three Texans head coach replacements

Culley wasn’t part of the Bill Belichick coaching tree, making it a surprise when Nick Caserio and Jack Easterby hired him. We expect that power duo to stick more to long-time friends and allies when they search for Culley’s replacement.

Brian Flores, Former Head Coach, Miami Dolphins

In the fall of 2004, Caserio was the Patriots’ director of pro personnel. Flores was an entry-level scouting assistant. Caserio and Belichick were so impressed by Flores that they promoted him after two seasons to pro scout before he made the move to coaching.

More than a decade later, Caserio is in position to help Flores’ career again. The Dolphins fired Flores on Monday after three seasons as their head coach. Yet, we expect him to get strong consideration for the Houston opening.

In three years with Miami, Flores went 24-25, leading the Dolphins to winning records in each of the last two seasons.

Flores might be the key to getting Deshaun Watson back in the fold. Watson has insisted for the better part of a year that he will never play for the Texans again — but perhaps Flores could change his mind. We hear Flores was a big reason why Watson wanted to go to Miami.

Joe Judge, Former Head Coach, New York Giants

Perhaps the only franchise in the NFL that would consider giving Joe Judge another chance right now is the Texans. The Giants fired Judge after two ugly years in Gotham, going 10-23 and overseeing a collapse so complete that team co-owner John Mara called it his “low point.”

But Judge surely still has allies in the broader New England family, and it wouldn’t be hard to convince Caserio that Dave Gettleman dealt him a losing hand. Judge and Caserio were colleagues with the Patriots from 2012-2019.

Jerod Mayo, Inside Linebackers Coach, New England Patriots

This is a name that makes a ton of sense. Jerod Mayo, 35, has already been contacted by teams about potential interviews, and the question isn’t if he’ll someday become a head coach, but when?

Mayo is the ultimate Patriot. A first-round pick in 2008, the excellent linebacker went on to win Defensive Rookie of the Year and later a Super Bowl. He appeared in two Pro Bowls and earned a spot on the franchise’s All-Decade Team. He returned to the franchise as an assistant coach in 2019 and has steadily built an excellent reputation since.

Adam Beasley is the National NFL Analyst and Insider for Pro Football Network. You can read all of Adam’s work here and give him a follow on Twitter @AdamHBeasley.