HOUSTON - Everything about the Houston Texans and their plans for finding the next head coach could have just changed in an instant.
They can thank the New York Giants for that.
The Giants on Friday officially announced the hiring of Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll as their next head coach. Daboll, 46, has spent the last four seasons in Orchard Park, helping Josh Allen improve from bottom-dweller quarterback to can't-miss name at the game's most important position.
Before hiring Daboll, Giants new general manager also interviewed Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. Flores, a Brooklyn native, also has interviewed with the Chicago Bears and Texans.
Does the Houston attention turn back to Flores with both positions filled?
Flores, 40, finished his time with Miami posting a 24–25 record over three seasons. Although below .500, Miami finished with back-to-back winning seasons in 2020 and 2021 for the first time in almost 20 years. The Dolphins also started the year 1–7 before winning eight of their last nine games, becoming the first team in NFL history to lose seven consecutive games and win seven consecutive games in the same year.
Flores has ties with the Texans front office due to his past with the New England Patriots. Both general manager Nick Caserio and vice president of football operations Jack Easterby worked alongside Flores under Bill Belichick's direction in Foxborough.
Flores served as the Patriots defensive signal-caller during New England's Super Bowl LIII championship win over the Los Angeles Rams. He worked for the Patriots as a scouting assistant starting in 2004 before joining the coaching staff in 2008.
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The Texans recently finished their second interview with former NFL quarterback Josh McCown. McCown, 42, has received high praise for his knowledge of the game, but has never coached at the professional level following a 17-year playing career.
Flores was considered a front-runner for the Texans position following the firing of David Culley earlier this month. One of the biggest snags, perhaps, in the hiring process has been Houston's decision to cut ties with disgruntled Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Prior to being fired by the Dolphins, Flores wanted to trade for Watson despite the team using the No. 5 overall pick in 2020 on former Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Watson was nearly traded him to Miami at the NFL trade deadline, but the two sides were unable to settle on a deal due to Watson's legal trouble.
Watson currently is still dealing with 22 civil counts of sexual misconduct and sexual assault. When asked whether the potential hiring Flores could mean Watson would return in 2022, Caserio said, “That more than likely would not be the case.”
“I think we have to be open-minded and just take the information and process it and ultimately make the decision that we feel makes the most sense for everybody involved, whatever that looks like,” Caserio said on Sports Radio 610.
With ties to Caserio and Easterby, plus vast experience as a coach, Flores could return to being the top candidate for the Texans. Once again, he must understand that rookie standout Davis Mills is expected to be the Week 1 starter next fall as of this time and not Watson.
Will that be a dealbreaker for Flores to reunite with Caserio and Easterby for 2022?