Houston Texans fire coach David Culley after just one season

HOUSTON – The 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 a second season. However, the Texans’ property and front office took the past few days to assess the coach and decided to fire him on Thursday.

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

Prior to being hired in Houston, Culley spent two seasons as the Baltimore Ravens assistant head coach, passing coordinator and wide receivers 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 the previous season under interim coach Romeo Crennel. Culley did so with an exhausted team and a team that has only had one first-round pick in the past four years.

Houston was without quarterback Deshaun Watson, who requested a trade in January after the McNair family hired Caserio. Less than two months later, the first of 23 lawsuits was filed against Watson, alleging sexual assault and inappropriate behavior. Watson, who still faces 22 active pursuits, showed up to training camp and was on the active roster all season. The quarterback was a healthy scratch for every game.

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

This season, the Texans dominated the Jacksonville Jaguars in Game 1 of the season before losing veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor in Week 2 to a left thigh injury. He was replaced by 2021 third-round pick Davis Mills, who went 0-6 in his six starts while Taylor was in the injured reserve.

After Taylor struggled on his return from the injured reserve, he was replaced by Mills, who beat the Jaguars and Los Angeles Chargers in straight weeks.

The Houston offense placed 31st in the Football Outsiders DVOA under Culley and Kelly. The Texans were edged 172 points, the biggest points differential in franchise history, according to ESPN’s Stats & Information.

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

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