The Houston Texans are leaving first-year head coach David Culley dangling as GM Nick Caserio oversees a "detailed review'' of Culley's work during this 4-13 season.
But that the same time, an NFL source tells TexansDaily.com, Caserio is doing something else: Exploring how to hire old New England Patriots friend Josh McDaniels.
"Somehow, some way, Caserio wants McDaniels in that building,'' the source said. "In some role.''
There is, of course, really only one appropriate "role.'' Of course, maybe McDaniels doesn't want that role. At this time.
Initial indications were that this coaching staff, following the franchise's season finale Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, would end up with a bit more rope. Maybe the "detailed review, expected to take into account everything about Culley and the coaches' performance and how they operated in a difficult rebuilding situation with an overhauled roster,'' changed that.
Did the sudden availability of Brian Flores, surprisingly fired by the Miami Dolphins, change it, too? Maybe. (And it's worth noting Deshaun Watson's attraction to Flores, just in case). Is Caserio waiting on "knowing he can get the right candidate to say "yes'?, whether that's McDaniels or another Pats assistant, Jerod Mayo? That makes sense.
Or maybe nothing really changed at all, with Caserio - who didn't hire McDaniels here a year ago when he took over, maybe because he knew there needed to be a "bridge'' coach to take the fall for a poor season or two - always having his eye on his guy.
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Eventually. Somehow. Some way.
Problem: Isn't the program still in need of a "bridge coach,'' who will be hired to get fired? Maybe McDaniels wants to wait.
Patriots offensive coordinator McDaniels is more than just a Caserio pal, of course, though the fact that they even go back together to tiny John Carrol University, where they were teammates, and of course to New England, where they were both Bill Belichick prized pupils. And it's also more than familial, as McDaniels’ brother Ben is an assistant on this Texans coaching staff. (We'll assume that if Caserio evaluation of Culley is harsh enough to cause Culley's firing, Ben McDaniels will survive.)
McDaniels, though, has proven under Belichick, using a variety of tools in multiple circumstances, that he can coach. Most recently is his success developing Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones.
Culley, 66, has earned respect for his leadership. He has acknowledged some growing pains with game management, referencing decisions he wishes he could have back in a narrow loss to the Patriots.
"I've learned to be ahead of those things," Culley said this month.
He's about to learn if he's about to be replaced. ... maybe based on if Caserio can get an ol' Patriots "yes.''