The Texans fired coach David Culley on Thursday after only one season and a 4-13 record. If you once worked or still work for the Patriots, you might be the one to replace him in Houston.
Culley got stuck in an awful mess of lesser talent while the Texans played an entire season with quarterback Deshaun Watson inactive. His team played hard and had some moments offensively and defensively, but that wasn't enough to save his job.
Now it's on the Texans' "braintrust" of executive vice president Jack Easterby and general manager Nick Caserio to make us believe they know what they're doing with a competent new hire. Given that pair used to work in New England and because Houston has by far the least appeal of the NFL's eight coaching vacancies for 2022 — partly because of Easterby and Caserio — there's no doubt they plan to bring the "Patriot Way" down Texans way.
So here's a Patriots-theme all-star list of replacement candidates for Culley, minus of course Matt Patricia and Joe Judge.
Ranking the Texans' best coaching options for 2022
Bill Belichick, head coach, Patriots (age: 69)
Look, this seems outrageous, but so are the Texans, in general. But don't put it past Easterby and Caserio to give Belichick their best pitch to leave the Patriots. They might as well shoot for the moon. But it might take a ridiculous contract of $25 million a season, an offer of absolute power, a mansion and a boat to get him halfway to retirement in Mexico. Expect Belichick to respond by putting up his hood and shrugging them off.
Brian Flores, former Dolphins head coach and former Patriots defensive coordinator (age: 40)
Now let's get real. Did Flores' Miami dismissal prompt Houston offfcials to fire Culley, knowing the former was suddenly available? Remember, per reports, he was the one most into wanting the Dolphins to trade for Watson. Related, does this mean the Texans are working to try to keep Watson, assuming he's cleared off the field? So many questions, which is par for the couse with this organization. But yes, Flores is the top available true candidate.
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Josh McDaniels, Patriots offensive coordinator (age: 45)
It's easy to picture McDaniels following Culley and Bill O'Brien, who once worked as the Patriots' offensive coordinator, too. The Texans can blow up the concept of the old boys' network and create their younger bros network of Easterby, Caserio and McDaniels. In all seriousness, McDaniels is overdue for a second shot and at least he can help turn around the offense for dudes he knows well.
Jerod Mayo, Patriots inside linebackers coach (age: 35)
This would be an intriguing hire as Mayo is developing more buzz as the next Flores-like candidate who isn't Matt Patricia.
Steve Belichick, Patriots outside linebackers coach (age: 34)
Son of a Belichick, this could actually happen. Bill's other son Brian coaches the Patriots' safetes, but there's a pretty good sense that Steve is the one not so sneakily in the play-calling position vacated by Patricia and Flores.
Cameron Achord, Patriots special teams coach (age: 34)
He replaced Judge, who left for the Giants before being fired and has done a bang-up job the past two years. He is quickly getting a lot of notice outside of New England.
Kevin O'Connell, Rams offensive coordinator and former Patriots quarterback (age: 36)
See what we did there? Caserio did work for the Patriots when they took O'Connell in the third round of the 2008 draft. He's getting a lot of buzz as the latest young offensive hotshot from the Sean McVay tree.