Reflecting on the Houston Texans’ Decision: Examining the Termination of Head Coach Dave Culley Following a Challenging 4-13 Season

The Houston Texans Fire Head Coach Dave Culley After Turbulent Season

The Houston Texans made a predictable decision by firing head coach Dave Culley following a disappointing 4-13 season. Culley’s hiring as the head coach was surprising, as he was a long-time assistant coach who had never held a head coaching position before. However, his tenure with the Texans was short-lived and came to an end amidst a chaotic environment.

A Season Doomed from the Start

From the beginning, Culley seemed destined to be a scapegoat for the Texans’ woes. Prior to the season, most bookmakers set the team’s win total at 4.5. Unfortunately for Culley, the Texans fell short of this mark and only managed to win four games.

The challenges facing Culley were immense. On Day One, he walked into a maelstrom that included a front-office shakeup and a quarterback controversy. Star quarterback Deshaun Watson demanded a trade in the offseason but was not dealt by the team, leading to his absence throughout the entire season. In his absence, backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor was thrust into the starting role. However, Taylor’s injury early in the season forced Culley to rely on rookie third-string quarterback David Mills for an extended period. The Texans struggled throughout the season, and even when Taylor returned, the team’s performance remained lackluster.

The Houston Texans’ Struggles

The Texans finished the season with a dismal 4-13 record, with two of their victories coming against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars, who ended the season with the worst record in the NFL at 3-14. As a result, the Jaguars received the #1 pick in the upcoming NFL draft, while the Texans secured the third pick behind the Detroit Lions.

The Dysfunctional Houston Texans Organization

Navigating Turmoil

The dysfunction within the Houston Texans organization has been evident for several years. Since the passing of patriarch Bob McNair in 2018, his son Cal McNair has struggled to effectively manage the team. Cal McNair’s reliance on Jack Easterby, a former chaplain and character coach, as a shadow GM has caused friction within the organization. Easterby’s practice of incorporating prayer into meetings and his influence in crucial decisions, such as the hiring of general manager Nick Caserio, have drawn criticism.

One of the key factors in the Texans’ turmoil has been the strained relationship between Deshaun Watson and the front office. When the team hired Caserio as the new general manager, Watson was not consulted, leading to further tensions. Watson, who wanted Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy to be considered for the head coaching vacancy, became disgruntled when the team initially overlooked him. This disagreement deepened the divide between Watson and the Texans’ front office, eventually resulting in Watson’s request for a trade. Additionally, allegations surrounding Watson’s personal conduct compounded the drama surrounding his potential departure from the team.

Trade Rumors and Speculation

Despite numerous inquiries from other teams prior to the 2021 NFL Draft, the Texans remained silent on the possibility of trading Watson. The New York Jets, in particular, expressed a keen interest in acquiring him but were unable to reach an agreement with the Texans. As the trade deadline approached in November, rumors circulated that the Miami Dolphins had made a substantial offer for Watson. However, the Texans declined the deal and held out for an even higher price, demanding multiple first-round and second-round picks.

As the Texans head into the offseason, they find themselves without a head coach but are expected to finally trade Watson. While many teams have expressed interest, it is the Dolphins who possess the draft capital necessary to meet the Texans’ demanding requirements. However, the Dolphins themselves are grappling with internal issues, having controversially fired head coach Brian Flores despite consecutive winning seasons and near misses in playoff qualification.

The Search for a New Head Coach

Former Coaches and Available Options

Despite his previous experience with the team, former head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien is unlikely to be considered for the head coaching position again due to his tumultuous tenure and highly criticized decisions, including trading away star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Other former head coaches such as Jason Garrett, Jim Caldwell, Jay Gruden, and Pat Shurmur are currently seeking employment and could be potential candidates. Even Jim Harbaugh, currently coaching at the college level, may be open to returning to the NFL if the right opportunity arises.

In addition to these familiar faces, the NFL coaching world offers a revolving door of opportunities. Recently fired head coaches like Mike Zimmer, Brian Flores, Vic Fangio, and Matt Nagy could quickly find new positions elsewhere. Surprisingly, the Texans’ affinity for former New England Patriots staff may even lead them to consider mistakes by potentially hiring Joe Judge or Matt Patricia.

A Controversial Suggestion

As the Texans navigate the process of finding a new head coach, one suggestion stands out: Adam Gase. Gase, who previously coached the New York Jets and endured two seasons of ineptitude, may seem like an underwhelming choice. However, his experience with dysfunctional organizations and his apparent willingness to return to coaching could make him a curious candidate for the Texans.


The Houston Texans’ decision to part ways with head coach Dave Culley after just one season comes as no surprise. The team faced numerous challenges throughout the year, including a quarterback controversy and a front office marred by dysfunction. As the organization moves forward, the search for a new head coach begins, with various options available from both experienced coaches and those looking for a fresh start. The Texans must make a strategic decision and choose a leader who can guide the team through the turbulence and ultimately restore it to glory.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What were the reasons behind Dave Culley’s firing?

Dave Culley’s firing was mainly attributed to the team’s poor performance during the season, finishing with a record of 4-13. Additionally, Culley faced the challenge of a quarterback controversy and a front office wracked with dysfunction, which likely contributed to the decision to let him go.

2. Who is responsible for the turmoil within the Houston Texans organization?

While multiple factors contribute to the turmoil within the organization, much of the blame falls on the management of owner Cal McNair and the influence of Jack Easterby, the team’s former chaplain and character coach who has assumed a significant role behind the scenes. Easterby’s controversial actions and decision-making have drawn criticism from both internal and external sources.

3. Will the Houston Texans trade Deshaun Watson?

It is highly likely that the Houston Texans will trade Deshaun Watson during the offseason. Many teams have expressed interest in acquiring the star quarterback, but the Miami Dolphins are seen as the most likely trade partner due to their ample draft capital.

4. Are there any notable coaches available for the Houston Texans’ head coaching position?

Several experienced coaches, as well as former head coaches, are available for the Houston Texans’ head coaching position. Some notable options include Jason Garrett, Jim Caldwell, Jay Gruden, and Pat Shurmur. Additionally, there is speculation surrounding the potential return of Jim Harbaugh to the NFL coaching ranks.

5. Could Adam Gase be a potential candidate for the Houston Texans’ head coaching position?

Despite his underwhelming tenure with the New York Jets, Adam Gase is mentioned as a potential candidate for the Houston Texans’ head coaching position. Gase’s experience with dysfunctional organizations and his eagerness to return to coaching could make him an intriguing option for the Texans to consider.

Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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