HOUSTON — Earlier than the entire commerce speak, studies about his future and the hiring of coach David Culley, Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson was requested what he was in search of in his subsequent head coach.
“I imply, we simply want an entire tradition shift,” Watson mentioned earlier within the month. “We simply want new power. We want self-discipline, we want construction, we want a frontrunner so we will comply with that chief as gamers. That is what we want. We have got to have the love of not simply the sport of soccer, as a result of that is what we do, however the love for individuals and the individuals on this group.”
“… We want somebody that stands tall and [says] that is who we’re following and that is the best way it goes … and we will do it this strategy to win.”
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who employed Culley in 2019 as assistant head coach, mentioned he was revered “as a instructor, game-planner and motivator.” Culley is the primary Black head coach employed by the Texans and the primary within the NFL hiring cycle.
After all, Watson may not be with the Texans to play for Culley, as ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported Sunday the quarterback is anticipated to need out of Houston no matter whom the staff hires. Watson is not the one one who feels there must be a tradition change.
By hiring Culley, the Texans hope they’ve discovered that particular person to construct the inspiration for which Watson requested.
However, for many Texans followers, Culley’s identify is not a well-known one. So who’s he and why did Texans CEO Cal McNair and basic supervisor Nick Caserio decide him to be the franchise’s subsequent coach?
Who’s David Culley?
Culley, 65, has spent the previous two seasons in Baltimore because the Ravens’ assistant head coach, passing recreation coordinator and vast receivers coach. He simply completed his 27th season as an NFL coach after 16 seasons in varied faculty teaching roles. He’ll be the oldest coach in NFL historical past on the time of his head-coaching debut.
Culley has by no means been an offensive coordinator on the NFL stage, however he has been an assistant head coach earlier than his stint in Baltimore, for the Kansas City Chiefs. The Ravens have been a run-first offense in 2020, as they led the NFL in speeding yards and ranked final in passing yards.
What does he convey to Houston?
The Texans are severe about fixing the group’s tradition and imagine Culley is the particular person to do it.
After doing a second interview with the Texans — this time in particular person — the staff was impressed by Culley’s power and believes he has the NFL expertise to ship that cultural shift inside the constructing, even when he hasn’t been a coordinator.
“The factor I might emphasize about Coach Culley, greater than something, is what a tremendous instructor and communicator he’s,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh mentioned in 2019. “He is in all probability one of the best — I might say he is one of the best straight-up instructor, communicator that I’ve seen teaching soccer one-on-one, not simply because he coaches it so properly, however as a result of he is so relentless and he coaches the necessary issues.”
“You could be relentless, however in the event you’re teaching issues that do not matter, then that is simply lots of sizzling air. He is teaching the issues that matter, and also you see the blokes getting higher on daily basis inside his place group.”
McNair knew he needed his basic supervisor to take the lead on the teaching search. That’s Caserio, who mentioned the attribute he was in search of most in a head coach is a capability to “lead individuals.”
“As a result of in the long run, soccer is a sport but it surely’s about individuals, proper?” Caserio mentioned. “You must make an funding in individuals. You’ve gotten to have the ability to lead individuals. … These are among the issues that will likely be necessary relative as to whether or not they seem to be a good playcaller on their respective facet of the ball. However whoever it’s can have some competency in some space.”
“… I might say in our scenario, relative to Deshaun, attempting to place one thing in place that is sustainable for him that may permit him and the remainder of the staff and the group to go on the market and carry out to their most capability on a week-to-week foundation. That is the aim.”
What does this imply for Deshaun Watson?
That is maybe an important query and solely Watson can reply it. If Watson nonetheless needs out no matter whom the Texans employed, as Mortensen reported, then hiring Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy would not have made a distinction.
Now that the Texans have employed their new coach, the query is whether or not Watson will likely be right here to see the tradition shift he requested for in Houston. The quarterback hasn’t requested a commerce, however he may determine to take action as soon as the rent is formally introduced.
Whereas the Texans may conform to commerce phrases with one other staff earlier than the beginning of the brand new league yr on March 17, a commerce can’t be executed till then. The important thing time-frame to concentrate to is earlier than the NFL draft in April, as a result of if the Texans have been to commerce Watson, they’d wish to be certain that they’re getting 2021 draft capital, when the decide slots are locked in.
What’s subsequent in Houston?
Watson put up one of the best numbers of his younger profession in 2020, and the staff gained solely 4 video games. Houston’s protection struggled, ending 30th in Soccer Outsiders’ weighted DVOA. After all, there are nonetheless lots of holes on a protection that lacked younger difference-makers, so whomever Culley hires as defensive coordinator can have a tall process forward.
No matter whether or not the Texans commerce Watson, these holes on the roster will stay. The Texans’ first decide on this draft is No. 67, so they will not be capable of add influence expertise at a team-friendly worth, and are at the moment $18 million over the projected 2021 wage cap (though that issues lower than the money they’ve already dedicated, which provides them some flexibility).
If Houston trades Watson, will probably be in a position to plug in items on the protection and improve that facet of the ball considerably, however then questions will stay at quarterback.