5 huge takeaways from the Texans hiring David Culley
You would like to give the Texans the benefit of the doubt on the hiring of David Culley as head coach. The Ravens assistant has worked for top minds like Andy Reid and John Harbaugh. But he is also a 65-year-old who has never called plays and seems like an out of nowhere hire.
Still, you would like to hope that it works out. But since Jack Easterby arrived on the scene and starting his bible-thumping and backstabbing, the Texans have traded Jadeveon Clowney for peanuts, overpaid on multiple contracts, made the horrid DeAndre Hopkins deal, lied to their quarterback who now wants a trade, hired a GM under suspicious circumstances and have generally become the joke of the league. If Watson is moved, it will look truly horrible if they are unable to get a Herchel Walker-type haul, and based on what we have seen so far from this group, they will probably give him away for nothing.
The hope is that Nick Caserio is the adult in the room, and that he and Culley will pull a big time deal and the team will start back on the road to mediocrity. Caserio is well respected around the league, and maybe he works out. His first coaching hire, however, has been met with a collective "huh?" Most surprising hires don't go so well. Remember Jim Tomsula?
However, there are some reasons to think it can work out. Yes, you have to dig pretty deep, but let's take a look:
1) You don't have to be a play caller to be a good coach. One only need to look at Culley's most recent boss, Harbaugh. The difference is everyone thought Harbaugh would be a great head coach and he was much younger, but he wasn't a play caller either. Neither was recent Eagles hire Nick Sirianni. Eric Bieniemy, everyone's favorite for the job, is not a play caller either. So there is no reason to hold that against him.
2) We've been begging for a coach and GM with a non-Patriots pedigree. So the Texans failed on that GM wise, but Culley is certainly a win in that regard. He was a part of two of the most successful non-Patriots coaching staffs, so if he can bring a little Chiefs and Ravens to the table, the Texans will be better for it.
3) Assistants will be the key. Tim Kelley will return as OC. He wasn't great last season, but his offense looked better than what Bill O'Brien ran (not saying much, I know). The run game was a disaster, but a better OL coach and better running backs could fix that. On the other side of the ball, Lovie Smith is an excellent hire. A very good DC who was not great as a head coach but has experience. That's exactly what a first-time head coach needs.
4) Culley seems to be respected and well liked. Let's face it, hardly anyone outside of Baltimore knows much about the man. He has not been considered a head coaching candidate, and seemed to be a lesser prospect than Ravens OC Greg Roman and DC Wink Martindale. It says a lot that he impressed the Texans more than some of the hotter names. Harbaugh raves about him, and others around the league sing his praises. Of course, many coaching hires are praised at the time and turn out to be Gus Bradley.
5) Winning back trust and delegating. The fan base is ready to revolt and wants Easterby's head. It's only going to get worse when the Watson trade happens, even if it turns out to be the right thing to do and a good haul for the Texans. Culley will have to manage that and get the franchise through the transition. If he can be a CEO-type coach who delegates responsibilities to his assistants and focuses on big picture and game management, the Texans could be just fine.
That's asking a lot. Maybe it will all be fine. Coaching hires are always a crap shoot. No one outside the Ravens knows what impact or responsibilities he had. Only the Texans know his plans and vision.
In the end, it's still a 65-year-old first time coach with no track record hired by a franchise that has made one bad move after another.
Hopefully this isn't another one.