HOUSTON -- For the first time since being hired, David Culley this week has the chance to see players in action. The first-year head coach for the Houston Texans, Culley is finally able to see what direction the team is headed.
Of course, the focal point of the Texans offseason will be the need at quarterback. Using the No. 67 pick on Stanford's Davis Mills, there's hope he can be the new face of the franchise in place as Deshaun Watson sits in limbo.
A QB's progression can be enhanced with the help of a good quarterback coach. For the Texans, having a name like Pep Hamilton might be the biggest blessing after his work with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2020.
"He's been a good position coach for years in this business," Culley said Saturday. "He knows what he's doing. He knows about quarterback play. He's been one himself, he's done it his whole career. He's coordinated. He's been a quarterback coach.
"He's a heck of a teacher."
Hamilton has a knack for working with young talent. Last season, the Chargers found its new franchise quarterback with Oregon's Justin Herbert. Throughout the season, it was Hamilton's guidance that helped set Herbert up for success.
How successful was Herbert? He reset the rookie passing record in touchdowns and won the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Hamilton isn't just a one-year wonder working with quarterbacks. In the 2010s, he served as the quarterback's coach for Stanford under David Shaw. His work with Andrew Luck helped the generational pocket-passer be the sure-fire No. 1 pick in 2012.
A year after Bruce Arians made him a star, Luck reunited with Hamilton as the OC for the Indianapolis Colts.
"If you go back and you look at all the guys he's coached through his coaching career, you can see the one thing that we loved about having Pep here is all of those guys he coached whether they were young guys or guys that have been in the league, they all got better and that's all you want out of your coaches is for them to get better and he's done that and we're hoping for the same thing." Culley said.
Having an inside edge helps when looking at positions. Culley said that the connection between Shaw and Hamilton helped made the team feel comfortable with the selection of Mills.
No one will know if Mills can actually play at the highest level, but the backing support of Hamilton helps when on the clock.
"There's just a comfort level in knowing when you draft a guy like that and he's had some things happen to him during his career because of the Pac-12 with the COVID situation, we knew from David and from Pep and especially from David," Culley said.
"We felt like he was a good fit and we're fortunate enough to get him."
Culley, 65, is a first-time head coach after spending 27 years as an NFL assistant. His work under names include Bill Cowher, Andy Reid, John Harbaugh and Sean McDermott —two of whom gave their seal of approval in the hiring of Culley.
Nothing else matters than landing the quarterback. Hamilton's experience with young names should be the best news for Mills as he looks to live up to the expectations at NRG Stadium.
"He understands the passing game, because they do a very good job at it there at Stanford," Culley said of Mills. "He's been in a very good play-action, run-action type of pass game, which we have a history of doing here. He fit what our model was wanting to have a guy at that position."