Houston Fires David Culley

David Culley, (not) Houston Texans
David Culley, (not) Houston Texans
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Wild Card - The original Black Monday Discussion Thread is over 150 comments so let's start a new one for this weirdly delayed decision by the Houston Texans to fire David Culley as head coach. Why this had to take an extra three days of making the guy twist in the wind, I have no idea. Nobody really wanted this job in the first place and Culley was a surprise candidate so I suppose he's not a surprise firing but he did about all he could with the talent that the Houston Texans had this year. What on earth is the long-term strategy with this franchise? What on earth would have made Culley the right man to coach this team a year ago but not now?

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20 comments, Last at 15 Jan 2022, 8:08pm

1 What on earth is the long…

What on earth is the long-term strategy with this franchise? What on earth would have made Culley the right man to coach this team a year ago but not now?

What on earth would cause any coach in his right mind (i.e. Flores) to want to take this job?  Except maybe an older coach who sees an opportunity to pad his retirement fund. 

I agree that Culley actually did a decent job given what talent he had and the general situation in Houston.   

2 I dunno, head coach pay is…

I dunno, head coach pay is significantly higher than coordinator pay. Like, coordinator is $1.5M median, head coach is something like $6M median. Culley was given a 4-year contract, so that's a lot of money for a single year.

Now, a good head coach, sure.

5 ESPN has reported that only…

ESPN has reported that only two years of Culley's contract were guaranteed. Still not a bad payout. And Culley showed that he could be a viable head coach in guiding that roster to a non-embarrassing performance. I wouldn't be surprised if Culley spends a year as an analyst/consultant and is then back in demand this time next year.

14 That's not what's being…

That's not what's being reported elsewhere, weirdly. McClain reported that it's guaranteed for all 4, coming right from Culley. Might be interesting.

Edit: to be clear, at ~3 PM, Adam Schefter reported: 

When the Texans hired David Culley, they only guaranteed him two years of money; they knew there always was the real chance he would be one and done. As one league source texted about his one-year tenure, “I knew it when he was hired.”

whereas from Culley himself, we get (via Mark Berman and many other sources):

Coach David Culley: “I’m Just disappointed, but this is the business. Hey, I’ve been in it for a while. So I understand this is part of the business.” David says his Texans contract runs through 2025 and it’s guaranteed.

with the amount remaining as ~$17M (on top of the $5M already paid), again from many source. So... that's interesting.

6 If the Texans want to hire a…

If the Texans want to hire a promising coach, I almost think they need to give them 5-year or 6-year guaranteed contracts, like the 49ers did with Shanahan/Lynch after the embarrassing Tomsula and Kelly experiences. You need to give the new guy the assurance that he'll have time to build up the roster and culture, or at the very worst, get a nice payday.

9 Counter

Matt Rhule.

Also Culley was 5 (the standard). It's just the first two years were the only ones guaranteed (not standard), at the lowest to boot. 

8 Met preseason O/U of 4

Left only the 3rd worst team by draft order despite the lowest SB odds (and thought they'd be picking #1 too). 

But not shocking. Was always a token hire after Watson advocated for Bieniemy. Everyone knew he was going to be the fall guy. 

And I'll be the first to say it, no shame, pretty crazy there's one black HC. 

I appreciate the start of a new thread tho FO!

10 Texans

The Texans became a joke. They are more dysfunctional than the Giants, and that's really saying something. 

Don't know, close the team, add a Franchise from Canada, or Mexico, or from someplace that loves football but has no pro teams like Alabama or Mississippi or Utah or Oklahoma. 

16 Maybe Culley was hired to…

Maybe Culley was hired to get them the first overall pick and "failed" by helping them win 4 games?

I have no idea if Culley could be a successful HC and I don't believe anybody else does, either, including the Texans management.  I will say that a first year coach who loses his starting QB early in the season and plays the rest of the year with a 6th-round rookie QB (not named Brady) while keeping the team frequently competitive and winning a few games probably deserves at least a second year to see what sort of trajectory the team is on.

On the other hand, maybe Culley, like Flores, is better off being fired now after displaying a modest degree of competence before he gets permanently tainted by the overall incompetence of their organization.  At the very least, Culley will now be the go-to emergency interim HC for any team he's on.  Whether he gets a better opportunity than that I'm not sure, as his age and skin color both work against him. 

17 a real head-scratcher; …

a real head-scratcher;  maybe Flores and Culley were fired for being too competent (fielding competitive teams when upper management wanted to tank);  thought it was a bad hire before the season, but I'll eat those words (i'd take him in Jax in a heartbeat, particularly over Bill O'Brien, who's rumored to be under serious consideration).  Also not a good look for the NFL that two of the three African American coaches got fired despite having dysfunctional teams headed in a positive direction

19 Texans interview Flores…

Texans interview Flores. Maybe Culley got fired bc Flores became available? Can't agree with it but the timing fits at least.

20 I think this is exactly the…

I think this is exactly the case. Culley was hired as a placeholder for a lost season or two, at a point where the job was maximally undesirable. Flores appears to be the guy Caserio really wants, and given their existing relationship I assume he's indicated that he's interested. If Caserio didn't think he could get someone he actually wanted - which probably means Flores or McDaniels - Culley would still be there.

Edit: looks like Jerod Mayo is also under serious consideration.