Texans Likely To Retain David Culley In 2022

Three AFC teams have been outscored by at least 140 points this season, but the Texans lead the pack (and the NFL) with a minus-159 point differential. David Culley‘s debut is tracking toward finishing with the worst margin of defeat in franchise history.

That said, the Texans — at the start of a potentially long rebuild and navigating a complex Deshaun Watson situation — were expected to be one of the NFL’s worst teams. And they are likely to bring back their head coach for a second season, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com notes (ESPN+ link).

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Culley, 66, was an unexpected hire due to his age and lack of connection to other teams during this past HC hiring period. Only the Texans interviewed the ex-Ravens wide receivers coach. Houston GM Nick Caserio then proceeded to fill the roster with numerous midlevel free agents, some of whom have since been traded or cut, on short-term deals. Culley was also tasked with an awkward transition from Watson, who requested a trade before 22 criminal and civil suits alleging sexual assault and/or sexual misconduct emerged.

Houston’s job would not exactly be appealing were it to become available again in 2022, so keeping Culley — who was given a five-year contract in January — makes sense. That said, Caserio might have another plan in mind ahead of the next phase of the team’s rebuild. The first-year GM has eyed one unnamed coach since before accepting the Texans job, Albert Breer of SI.com adds. Given the rumors of Caserio and Josh McDaniels being a package deal elsewhere in previous offseasons, the longtime Patriots OC would certainly be a reasonable guess as the ex-New England exec’s preference for a longer-term option.

If the Texans can unload Watson before the draft, that would do well to accelerate their rebuild. The team still has a shot at the 2022 No. 1 overall pick, but the Lions (1-11-1) still lead the way with five weeks to go. Joining the Jaguars at 2-10, the Texans landing a top-five choice is a near-certainty. Because of trades by the previous Houston regime, the team did not have first- or second-round picks in the 2021 draft.

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