Source: Texans fire Culley after just one season

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HOUSTON – Texans have fired head coach David Culley, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly was also fired, a source told Schefter.

On Sunday, after the Texans finished a 4-13 season, Culley said he expected to return for another season. However, it took the Texans’ ownership and front office the last few days to evaluate the coach and decided to fire him on Thursday.

The firing comes a year after the Texans hired Culley, a longtime assistant who became the oldest first-time NFL head coach at age 65. Culley, who was hired in January 2021 by the team’s CEO and chairman Cal McNair and general manager Nick Caserio, was the lone Black coach hired last offseason and was one of three Black coaches in the NFL. Culley’s firing leaves the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin as the NFL’s only current black head coach.

Prior to joining Houston, Culley spent two seasons as the Baltimore Ravens’ assistant head coach, passing game coordinator and broadband coach. Culley spent 43 years as an assistant in college football and the NFL.

In Culley’s first season as head coach, the Texans won the same number of games as they did the previous season under interim coach Romeo Crennel. Culley did so with an exhausted list and a team that has only had one pick in the first round in the last four years.

Houston was without quarterback Deshaun Watson, who requested a swap deal in January after the McNair family hired Caserio. Less than two months later, the first of 23 lawsuits filed against Watson alleging sexual assault and misconduct. Watson, who is still facing 22 active lawsuits, signed up for training camp and was on the active list all season. The quarterback was a healthy scratch for every game.

The 2021 Texans were also without defensive JJ Watt, who requested to be released after the 2020 season and now plays for the Arizona Cardinals.

This season, the Texans dominated the Jacksonville Jaguars in the season opener before losing veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor in Week 2 with a left hamstring injury. He was replaced by Davis Mills in the third round of 2021, going 0-6 in his six starts while Taylor was on injured reserve.

After Taylor struggled to return from the injured reserve, he was benched for the Mills, who beat the Jaguars and Los Angeles Chargers for consecutive weeks.

Houston’s attack ranked 31st in Football Outsiders’ DVOA under Culley and Kelly. The Texans were surpassed by 172 points, the largest points difference in franchise history, according to ESPN’s Stats & Information.

The Texans’ 13 losses were the franchise’s most in a single season since 2013.


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