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Houston, we have a problem: The David Culley story

Is David Culley the answer to the culture concerns in Houston? What does he bring to the table as the new HC? @FFEvanlution takes a closer look.

I don’t wanna say the Houston Texans organization has been a complete trainwreck recently…….buuuuuuuuut the Houston Texans organization has pretty much been a trainwreck recently. If you run through the LONG list of questionable decisions they have made, it makes the Jacksonville Jaguars seem like a well-oiled machine. (sick burn)

Long story short, going into the 2021 offseason the Texans found themselves:

  • lacking talent at several key positions,
  • lacking draft capital (their first pick in this year’s draft is not till the 3rd round!),
  • lacking cap space,
  • lacking a head coach,
  • and an elite franchise quarterback who wants out of dodge at all costs….yikes! 

In the immortal words of Ulysses Everett McGill:

(courtesy of Imgflip)

Enter David Culley

I know what you are all thinking…who IS David Culley?! 

Credit: Houston Chronicle

Mr. Culley was a long term assistant for Andy Reid at the Eagles and then the Chiefs. After a brief stint with the Bills, he has spent the last two years in Baltimore as an assistant head coach/passing coordinator/wide receivers coach under John Harbaugh.

David is 65 years old, so certainly not the youngest of candidates.

He has been in coaching for 27 years in the NFL without ever being a head coach, so not necessarily the most experienced for the role either. (He has never even been an offensive coordinator at the NFL level, which I found very surprising!)

So what exactly DOES Culley bring to the table?

In a word: Leadership….they hope!

“Great person. Very loyal. Will bring positive energy to the building.”

Chiefs HC Andy Reid

“He’ll do a great job. He is the kind of guy in the clubhouse that players want to play for. He’ll rally the guys around him…”

R.C. Slocum, former Aggies head coach

“He will be who he is every day. Has been that guy every day of his career. I’m thrilled for him. Great person. Genuine. Full of energy.”

John Harbaugh speaking to ESPN

These are just a few of the more intriguing quotes I found from some of Culley’s previous mentors concerning his hiring by the Houston Texans. While he seems like an odd choice at first, you can understand what the Texans’ leadership is hoping to accomplish by going this route. The team needs a leader, someone to galvanize the fanbase and the players alike. David has earned the respect of some of the most respected men in the sport it would seem, which is undoubtedly a credit to him. 

In recent months, changing the culture is something that Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt (among others) have called out as crucial to the team’s future success. While Culley may not be the most exciting or innovative option in terms of the X’s and O’s of head coaching in the league, he could be the man for the job to help shift Houston’s toxic culture. With the team’s overall state in such disarray, I think trying to fix the culture first is undoubtedly the right move. The million-dollar question is, did they get the right man for the job?!

(courtesy of Imgur)

Supporting Cast

The coaching staff to surround Culley is not 100% set in stone as of yet. It seems Tim Kelly will be returning in his role as OC for the Texans, which is encouraging as it gives the team a sense of continuity on that side of the ball. Positive continuity could be especially crucial with a first-time head coach working on winning over the locker room and getting to grips with his new role. Watson himself has been very complimentary towards Kelly and his impact on the QB and the entire team. 

Josh McCown seems likely to be added as potentially the assistant coach for Culley. I am not 100% convinced on this move as it would be nice for Culley to have more experience around him to rely on while he gets to grips with his own promotion. 

New GM Nick Caserio has managed to coax Lovie Smith into the role of DC for the Texans. An experienced coach like Smith on defense, should certainly be a positive move to help steady the ship.

Dynasty Outlook

Now for the most challenging question of all… How does this impact your dynasty rosters?!

The reality is, the uncertainty that all these moves bring with them makes it particularly difficult to “read the tea-leaves” as far as potential value for your dynasty rosters. With that in mind, here is my two cents worth.

If I currently roster any Houston players, I plan to play a game of “Texans Hold ’em” (see what I did there?!) while I wait on a little more clarity to evolve. If you hold a fire sale now, you are selling at rock bottom, in my opinion. ALWAYS a bad idea! News of Watson wanting out, the unknown with the new HC, and an overall lack of talent on the roster adds up to a relatively unsavory set of circumstances. 

On the flip side, if you are doing any startups in the near future, you will probably find some excellent value on Brandin Cooks, Will Fuller, and even good old David Johnson. The truth is, if you can get them cheap enough, they will benefit your dynasty teams. So it is always worth keeping an eye out for any potentially panicking managers in your leagues. (I would be pretty confident there ARE some panicking managers out there.) I would look at crunching the numbers on the DynastyGM tool and see if you can bag yourself a bargain, especially with rookie fever szn upon us!

Lastly, I know it is a long shot, but if you are lucky enough to run across any Watson managers who are freaking out and you can get even the slightest of discounts…I would do that!!!

Final thoughts

Was this a stroke of genius by a newly appointed leadership team or a desperate shot in the dark? It’s tough to say at this point. I am fairly skeptical at the idea of a 27-year vet of the coaching circuit in the NFL who has never had a crack at a starting gig. I feel like, generally speaking, quality candidates are given a shot within a few years to climb the coaching ladder. However, I also believe that culture is the most critical part of any organization’s long-term success. Maybe Culley just needed the right set of circumstances and finally got them. 

As it stands, Deshaun Watson still wants to get out of town. The Texans still have a pretty lousy defense and are missing many essential pieces on the offense. Managing to mend the fractured relationship with one of the best quarterbacks in the league would be a massive coup for the team. If Culley can pull that off then it will go a long way towards convincing me he is the right man for the job.

If that is not possible, then landing a king’s ransom for trading him and kick-starting the rebuild has to be next on the agenda. Either way, these next few months are critical in how the team begins to move on from the Bill O’Brien era in Texas. It certainly won’t be boring!

I hope Culley can turn things around in Houston and who knows, maybe he plays dynasty and loves himself a good rebuild project!?!

Watson OTB?! 👀

Thanks for reading, and hit me up on Twitter @FFEvanlution if you wanna chat anything fantasy football related. 

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