HOUSTON -- Fans might want to hear otherwise, but Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio doesn't care. He can't care this time around when looking to hire the Texans next head coach.
It could be his last chance at making as a monumental shift in the franchise's history.
Caserio was asked on Friday how long it would take to complete the hiring process following the firing of first-year head coach David Culley. Caserio promptly responded that the timetable does not have a set date, meaning whenever the right name appears, they will seal that deal.
“We’ll be patient, and however long it takes, it takes,” Caserio said. “When we have a solution that we feel comfortable about, then we’ll go ahead.”
Currently, Houston has interviewed five candidates, with the biggest name being former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores. A name with ties to Caserio and vice president of football operations Jack Easterby, Flores very well could be the top candidate for multiple NFL teams in this cycle.
Should he be Houston's top choice? Is there a reason why someone else should leap-frog him? Let's dive into Flores' background a bit more.
Flores comes with head-coaching experience, having spent the past three seasons in Miami. After a 1-7 start to begin the 2021 campaign, Flores and his staff were able to transform the team back into contention, winning eight of their last nine games to finish 9-8 on the season.
In three years, Flores went 24-25 as Miami's coach. After a 5-11 first season, Flores went 19-14 in the past two years, just barely missing the playoffs in both 2020 and 2021.
Flores spent 15 seasons with the Pats, working his way up from a scout to the team's linebacker coach and de facto defensive coordinator under Bill Belichick from 2016-18.
Defensively, few teams have been as consistent as New England and Miami was under his direction. With the Patriots in 2018, Flores' defense finished seventh in scoring (20.3), third in interceptions (18), fifth in turnovers (28), and 11th against the run (112.7).
Over the past two seasons, Miami has finished sixth (21.1 points per game) and 16th (21.9) in scoring defense. The Dolphins finished 16th in pass defense (227.7 yards per game) and ninth in takeaways (26) in 2021.
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Flores, including his playing career, was also a member of four Super Bowl championship teams in New England, plus seven AFC championship teams.
Meanwhile, Houston (under vet coordinator Lovie Smith) finished 10th in takeaways (25) but struggled mightily overall defensively.
Flores was fired for several reasons despite his success over the past two years. First, Dolphins general manager Chris Grier reportedly was frustrated with the consistent turnover from the offensive personnel. Flores had three different offensive coordinators during his tenure in South Beach and was never able to finish above 22nd in total offense.
Multiple reports also stated that Grier and Flores were at an impasse entering the offseason, leading to owner Stephen Ross having to decide which name he would like to keep. As the head coach, Flores often wanted a say in the personnel brought in via free agency and the draft.
Flores was also adamant in his wish to trade for Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson before the start of the season, and continued to push for him entering November. Grier, who selected Tua Tagovailoa fifth overall the year before, fought for the second-year quarterback to be the long-term option for the team instead.
In short, Flores' critics portray him as sometimes difficult to work with.
Caserio has made it clear that Watson, who still faces 22 civil counts of sexual misconduct and sexual assault, is not expected to be back for the 2022 season. When asked on Sports Radio 610 of Watson's status, Caserio said that the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback “more than likely would not” play for the Texans again.
Flores was one of the main reasons Watson would have waived his no-trade clause to Miami last season should a trade package been offered. The Texans as of now plan to run it back with quarterback Davis Mills, who broke the rookie record in passing yards set by David Carr in 2002.
Caserio also could already have the team's offensive coordinator on staff regardless of who is named head coach. Pass-game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton recently declined the offer to interview for the Carolina Panthers' offensive coordinator opening.
Hamilton is considered to be the front-runner for the Texans offensive coordinator opening, meaning Flores would have to accept that.