David Culley finally has the opportunity to lead an NFL team after working for more than a quarter of a century as a professional assistant. He is set to become the Texans’ new head coach, replacing Bill O’Brien and interim coach Romeo Crennel, according to several reports Wednesday night.
Culley, 65, joins Houston via Baltimore, where he worked the last two seasons as the Ravens’ assistant head coach, passing play coordinator and wide receiver coach. That means he’s moving from Lamar Jackson to, for now, Deshaun Watson. It remains to be seen whether Watson will be behind the Texans center in Week 1.
If Watson stays, then he’ll play for a respected NFL coaching vet whose story is on the offensive side of the ball.
A quick SN sketch of Culley, who inherits a 4-12 squad that could be in transition during the offseason:
Culley is the new branch of Andy Reid’s coaching tree
Culley was on Reid’s staff in Philadelphia and Kansas City for 18 combined seasons (1999-2016) before moving to the Bills (and former Reid assistant Sean McDermott) in 2017, then the Ravens (and the ‘former Reid assistant John Harbaugh.) in 2019. He was Reid’s receivers coach at both locations, adding HC assistant duties along the way.
Reid, who is preparing the Chiefs for Super Bowl 55, pointed out some of Culley’s main personal traits.
#Chiefs HC Andy Reid on David Culley, a member of his team in Philadelphia and Kansas City: “A great person. Very faithful. Will bring positive energy to the building. “
– Ed Werder (@WerderEdESPN) January 28, 2021
Positive energy and relationship skills will be needed after the Texans’ poor season, which has frustrated passer JJ Watt.
Personal suitability aside, Culley is a first-time head coach with no experience as a full-time coordinator, but the Houston Chronicle reported as new Texans general manager Nick Caserio told Culley in their second interview that Caserio had no problem with this inexperience.
Culley had a long career as a college coach before the NFL
He began in the ranks of the university in 1978 with Austin Peay. Stops in Vanderbilt, Middle Tennessee, Chattanooga, southwest Louisiana, UTEP, and Texas A&M followed before being hired by the Buccaneers in 1994.
Former Aggies coach RC Slocum praised his ex-assistant for his character.
“He will do a great job. He’s the kind of guy in the clubhouse that the players want to play for. He will bring the guys around him,” Slocum told The Chronicle after learning the Texans were on the verge of a move. ‘hire Culley.
He edged out former NFL head coaches for Texans job
The Chronicle reported that the Texans also interviewed Leslie Frazier, Jim Caldwell and Marvin Lewis for the job, as well as assistants Matt Eberflus, Brandon Staley (who became the Chargers’ head coach) and Joe Brady.
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According to the Chronicle, they also interviewed Eric Bieniemy, Reid’s current offensive coordinator in Kansas City. Watson was reportedly upset when the Texans did not follow his suggestion to speak to Bieniemy. QB bosses Patrick Mahomes reportedly gave Bieniemy a strong recommendation during a conversation with Watson.