What the Houston Texans coaching search will reveal about the organization's mindset

The Texans can't consider options like Josh McCown again. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

The Houston Texans are once again looking for a new head coach, the third under the tenure of general manager Nick Caserio.

In what has become a far too familiar process for the Texans, this year’s head coach search will reveal a lot about where the team’s frame of mind is.

Houston CEO Cal McNair and Caserio both spoke to reporters on Monday afternoon just hours removed from their decision to move on from head coach Lovie Smith. They spoke about where the team is and what the frame of mind is going forward.

One thing was made evident in Monday’s news conference — both McNair and Caserio realize the team is at a potential turning point with the plethora of draft capital, an improving cap space and the young talent already on the roster.

“We feel like there is a strong list of potential head coach candidates, and we are excited to work with them,” McNair said. “We are going to pick the best coach to take this team into our next future with significant draft capital, salary cap space and [a] talented, young roster.”

It’s the Caserio and McNair show now. They are running it all. Both acknowledged the owner will be more hands on in this search, and Caserio also said this time around the process will involve more input from people within the organization.

The Texans will have the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. In what will forever be the long-lasting impact of Smith’s tenure, leading Houston to a Week 18 victory over the Indianapolis Colts, which dropped the team out of holding the No. 1 pick. Caserio and whoever they bring in as the new head coach will be tasked with taking the cards they currently hold and turning it into a concrete foundation for years to come.

Regardless of what the Chicago Bears do with the No. 1 pick, the Texans are guaranteed the option to pick either Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud. They will also be in position to get almost any other player they want too if they opt to not take a quarterback.

2023 needs to be the year the Texans get their guy. The right guy.

“That is what we are fixated on doing,” Caserio said.

The clock is ticking. The general manager acknowledged it himself.

Caserio is entering year three with Houston. He inherited a debacle of a roster that was completely destroyed when Deshaun Watson said he wanted out.

Since then, Houston has fired David Culley and Smith after just one year at the helm. While neither were considered to be the long-term answers as the team’s leader, removing them after one year has only worsened the view of the team from the outside.

Caserio said the team constantly evaluates at the end of the season. There has not been enough progress made in multiple areas throughout the team, he added. Houston’s next leader will be tasked with prioritizing the players, creating a vision and being collaborative with all other departments around the organization, the general manager said.

The time for lame-duck coaches is over. How the Texans approach this search will say a lot about the team. With 11 total draft picks as of now, five of which are in the first three rounds, Houston’s ability to develop that young talent will be pivotal.

Houston cannot afford to have another Culley. The Texans cannot entertain a Josh McCown. It’s time to get the right guy.

If they do, the team might just turn a corner with a fan base that is desperate to have something, anything, to cheer for when it comes to its pro football team.

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DeMeco Ryans looks like the Texans' choice as the next head coach. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

The Houston Texans have been busy interviewing coaches over the last few weeks, and just this week, the team held second interviews with Giants OC Mike Kafka and Broncos DC Ejiro Evero. The Texans have also interviewed Los Angeles Rams tight ends coach and assistant head coach Thomas Brown, Sean Payton, Lions OC Ben Johnson, Eagles DC Jonathan Gannon, and Eagles OC Shane Steichen. Johnson has taken himself out of the mix and is returning to Detroit.

But according to a new report from Ian Rapoport, the Texans may already have their minds made up about their next head coach.

Former Texans linebacker and current 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans appears to be the top candidate for the Texans, and he is reportedly interested in the position, with a second interview likely to take place next week.

Ryans has been the defensive coordinator for the 49ers over the last two seasons. San Francisco was the best defense in the league in 2022.

Ryans is a popular pick for the position in Houston, and fans will be super excited if he eventually gets the job. Let's hope Rapoport's sources are correct, and the Texans have their new head coach lined up.

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