The Texans continue to move swiftly in their search to replace David Culley. They interviewed two more candidates Saturday, meeting with Chargers OC Joe Lombardi and Florida Atlantic wide receivers coach Hines Ward.
These meetings come after the Texans’ Brian Flores interview Friday. Flores has been the candidate most closely linked to the job and should still be considered the favorite, though GM Nick Caserio end up meeting with Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo as well. Ward being interviewed meets the Rooney Rule requirement for the Texans, who have now met with two minority candidates.
A former star Steelers wide receiver, Ward has only been a full-time staffer since 2019. He coached wide receivers for two years under Adam Gase with the Jets. While he also serves as a special assistant to the head coach at Florida Atlantic, Ward’s coaching background would not seem enough to make him a serious candidate. But the four-time Pro Bowler has been around the game for a rather lengthy stretch.
The Chargers brought Lombardi over from the Saints to be their OC. Under Lombardi, Justin Herbert topped 5,000 passing yards this season and is the AFC’s Pro Bowl starter. Lombardi has three seasons’ worth of OC experience, with the previous two coming under Jim Caldwell in Detroit from 2014-15.
Unlike Flores, Lombardi does not have a tie to the Patriots, having spent most of his coaching career with the Saints. This is Lombardi’s first connection to a head during this year’s HC hiring period.