Texans news: David Culley isn’t poised for success in Houston

David Culley, new Houston Texans head coach Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
David Culley, new Houston Texans head coach Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

While it would be a great story for Texans head coach David Culley to see the rebuild through, the reality is likely to be a lot, lot harder.

We all should be rooting for first-year Houston Texans head coach David Culley.

After breaking in from the college ranks into the pros back in 1994, it took nearly 25 years for him to finally get his shot as an NFL head coach. And while few position coaches and assistants would turn down the opportunity to be one of an elite 32-person fraternity, one can fairly wonder if Culley is stepping into a good situation.

Well, he’s not.

In case you haven’t noticed, Houston is expected to be a mess this year. Already, the team said farewell to arguably its best player in franchise history, EDGE J.J. Watt, during the offseason. Perhaps the second best wide receiver in team history, DeAndre Hopkins, was traded away a year ago. The current standoff with its franchise quarterback, Deshaun Watson, doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

Simply put, it wouldn’t be overly shocking if Culley started off his coaching tenure with an 0-17 record.

If he gets that far.

David Culley’s plan with Texans is quite clear

In tandem with first-year general manager Nick Caserio, it’s not hard to break down what Culley is trying to do.

For starters, one has to assume Watson is out. At least for now. Perhaps forever. But some of Caserio’s recent moves, particularly reinforcing the running game with players like Mark Ingram II, Phillip Lindsay and, most recently, Rex Burkhead have indicated Houston wants to emulate a scenario not unlike what Culley enjoyed in his previous stop before joining the Texans.

A run-first team with a physical defense.

The latter might have to come in time. But this wouldn’t be unlike what the Baltimore Ravens instituted in recent years, owning the NFL’s top rushing offense back in 2019 when Culley was the assistant head coach there.

But a lot of running backs won’t automatically equate to success. And while journeyman quarterback Tyrod Taylor is a decent stopgap option, he likely won’t help ease the pain of what’s going to be a long season in Houston.

Will Texans be patient with David Culley?

Well, that all depends on how one thinks Nick Caserio will handle things and, more importantly, where the power truly lies.

For now, it could easily be Caserio calling the shots. Maybe that’ll be fine in the long run. But CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora isn’t convinced it’ll be beneficial for Culley at all:

"Poor guy has to wait til his mid-60s to get his first shot and he does it with he Texans at the worst possible time. All kinds of palace intrigue, a coach-in-waiting (Josh McCown) hanging around, an awful roster and a rookie GM who comes from New England, where casting aside someone after just one year is never not an option. Oh, and they are at war with their franchise QB who may end up suspended for quite some time for the various allegations against him. Brutal."

Therein is the question: Will Houston look at Culley as someone who could help the franchise turn things around, even if that process takes years? Or do the Texans look at the first-year head coach merely as a placeholder, someone who can absorb the punches and all the incoming scrutiny before being ousted in favor of someone else in 2022?

At least according to La Canfora, it seems like the latter is the more probable outcome.

There’s always the chance Culley defies the odds against him. Perhaps he identifies the core pieces around which the team can build in the coming years, groups them together and makes the best out of an otherwise impossible situation, leading towards whatever brighter days may be ahead.

Or, just as likely, Culley is one of those coaches who’ll unfortunately be remembered for being at the helm of a franchise at one of its all-time low points.

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