In less than a week I’ve gone from getting ready to broadcast a Texans-Titans game to wrapping my brain around a coaching search.
For the fifth time in franchise history the Texans are looking for a new mentor.
Here are some things to think about:
You never know what’s going to happen. I read and see all the national and local media opinion pieces on potential candidates. Very often these things go in a different direction than what you think.
Will it be a first-year NFL head coach? The only time the Texans hired a coach with NFL head coaching experience was with their first coach, Dom Capers. Capers had coached Carolina as an expansion team and had them in the NFC Championship game by year two. Before you wonder why that didn’t happen here remember that the set-up rules for expansion team rosters changed a few years later.
Gary Kubiak had been a longtime assistant and a great one. He had three Super Bowl wins, one as QB coach in San Francisco for Steve Young and another two as offensive coordinator in Denver. He was primed and ready for a job.
Still, any coach will tell you that there’s a big difference in sitting in the big chair and there’s a learning curve. Kubiak navigated this and led the Texans to their first winning season and first playoff seasons, but it didn’t happen overnight. Obviously, the roster overhaul played a big part in the building process as well.
Bill O’Brien was a successful assistant at New England and at certain college stops before that. But he had head coaching experience at a big-time school at Penn State, carving out two winning campaigns during an incredibly difficult situation. That had to help as he guided Houston to three winning seasons and two playoff appearances in his first three years.
With David Culley, the Texans were looking for a positive leader to guide the staff and players. Culley hadn’t been a head coach or coordinator but had been an associate head coach twice and, because there are several winning NFL coaches with no coordinator experience, he had the resume to step in and be effective. It just didn’t work as well as it needed to.
Nick Caserio’s phone is blowing up with requests and recommendations. The situation here has many of the ingredients to build success. There are four picks in the first three rounds. There are young players that show promise. There’s a rookie quarterback who performed well down the stretch. There’s a lot to like. Now comes another big piece of the puzzle as the quest to find a new coach is underway.
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