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David Culley Fired: How Can Texans GM Nick Caserio Make This Right?

Nick Caserio believed firing David Culley after one season was the best course of action

HOUSTON -- Nick Caserio made sure to speak of former Houston Texans head coach David Culley in a positive light. That doesn't change the fact he's looking for a fourth head coach in the span of 15 months. 

Culley was fired Thursday following a 4-13 season. Caserio, the Texans general manager, said the decision wasn't personal, but that there were “philosophical differences” entering next season. 

"It’s not necessarily one specific thing," Caserio said. "In the end, there was some differences about next steps or how we move forward, not necessarily rear-view mirror about what has happened.”

Caserio reiterated throughout the 27 minutes he answered questions that the decision was one that would be in the best interest of the organization. He stood by the notion that this time last year, the 66-year-old Culley was the right hire over names like Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy or Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. 

The hiring , though, was puzzling at the time. Culley, a 27-year veteran of coaching, never held the title of coordinator or head coach in the past. 

How the mighty have fallen: In January of 2020, the Texans held a 24-0 lead over the Chiefs after the first quarter of the AFC Divisional Round. 

Twelve months later, they finished the season 4-12 and were in the midst of deal with disgruntled quarterback Deshaun Watson. Culley was tasked to "fixing" the Texans with Watson wanting out. 

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Houston managed to win four games under the new leadership, including three against AFC South opponents. The defense also took a step in the right direction under new coordinator Lovie Smith, finishing top-10 in takeaways with 25. 

"When you look around at the building and the foundation that’s been put in place, David has had a lot to do with that," Caserio said. "So again, it was a difficult decision, probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in my life on a personal level."

Caserio heads back to the drawing board now. Sources tell that former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores is a front-runner, with current New England Patriots linebacker coach Jerod Mayo another. We've reported that Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels may say "no'' to this opportunity to work with old friend Caserio.

After spending 20 years with the Patriots, Caserio was asked if the Texans planned on hiring a name with New England roots. Caserio said no one should assume anything and the decision will be made on what's best for the organization and its stability past 2022.

"The head coach position really is a probably a leadership position more than anything else," Caserio said. "I think we get caught up in the X’s and O’s. Now, there’s an X’s-and-O’s strategy component to that, but again, it’s within the context and the construct of everything else that surrounds that.

"I would say honestly a lot of the qualities that David possessed, those more than likely will not change.”