Head coaching searches for one's favorite football team are a bittersweet thing to follow during an NFL offseason. On the one hand, the constant barrage of breaking news, swerves, and surprises can be exhilarating, particularly for people (like me) required to generate massive amounts of content every day. On the other hand, if your team is searching for a new head coach, chances are your team was not very good last season.
This just in — the Houston Texans were not very good last season. They were bad enough, four weeks in, that Bill O'Brien had to go. Unfortunately, he's left behind a mess, largely a result of his one year as general manager, to where the only redeeming football quality about the team is its quarterback Deshaun Watson, and maybe a half dozen or so other supporting cast members.
So who will be the one anointed as the fourth full time head coach in franchise history? Good question, with lots of interesting potential answers. In fact, the folks at betonline.ag literally want to make it even more interesting by providing odds on whom the Texans will choose as their next head coach. Here's the big board:
Eric Bieniemy (Kansas City OC) +150
Brian Schottenheimer (Seattle OC) +300
Don Martindale (Baltimore DC) +750
Matt Campbell (Iowa State HC) +750
Joe Brady (Carolina OC) +800
Lincoln Riley (Oklahoma HC) +1,000
Marvin Lewis (Arizona State DC/former Bengals HC) +1,000
Robert Saleh (San Francisco DC) +1,000
Brian Daboll (Buffalo OC) +1,200
Dabo Swinney (Clemson HC) +1,200
Byron Leftwich (Tampa Bay OC) +1,400
Jim Harbaugh (Michigan HC/former 49ers HC) +1,400
Matt Eberflus (Indianapolis DC) +1,400
Romeo Crennel (current Texans interim HC) +1,400
Greg Roman (Baltimore DC) +1,600
Josh McDaniels (Patriots OC) +1,600
What's the best value on the board?
Well, let's start with the ones we know the Texans are interested in — they've interviewed Marvin Lewis for the job, but I don't feel like +1,000 is great value for him. Reportedly, they've put in requests (or will soon) on Joe Brady (+800), Matt Eberflus (+1,400), and Titans OC Arthur Smith (off the board). Of the names listed in this paragraph, I'd bet on Eberflus at +1,400. He's done a fine job as Colts DC, and Deshaun Watson speaks highly of him.
Watson asked about Eberflus: "From what I've heard and played against ... he's been very very disciplined, that's the type that you want ... this is the first time I've been through [HC search] so it's kinda hard to have vision without any experience or any guidance with it." pic.twitter.com/axoU5UBGef— Rivers McCown (@riversmccown) January 4, 2021
However, the best value on the board, in the wake of Nick Caserio becoming the GM, might be Daboll at +1,200. As mentioned yesterday, he has ties to both Easterby and Caserio from his time in New England, and stars an agent with both guys.
What's the worst value on the board?
There are several, which is not uncommon for futures bets. First, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, has reported that the Texans will not hire a college coach, so cross off Campbell, Riley, and Swinney. (Harbaugh is in college right now, but I would guess his time in San Francisco where he took the Niners to a Super Bowl, has him being evaluated as an NFL coach.) Next, there is no chance they retain Romeo Crennel and make him the permanent head coach, so cross him off. I pray there is no interest in McDaniels, as I'd like to see the team sprint away from anyone with a New England Patriot stench on him.
If we asked Deshaun Watson who he likes, who would it be?
Here is Watson on what the team needs in its next head coach:
Watson asked ideal qualities in a HC/Bieniemy: "We just need a whole culture shift ... we need a leader so we can follow that leader ... we all gotta be on the same page ... too many different ideas and too many people thinking that they have this power and its not like that." pic.twitter.com/prytDgspoE— Rivers McCown (@riversmccown) January 4, 2021
Reportedly, Watson loves Bieniemy, which probably explains his favored status on this odds board, but to this point, only the Falcons and Lions have reached out to the Chiefs for permission to speak with Bieniemy about their opening. The Texans have not. Brady is an intriguing prospect, as he is very young (31 years old), but is viewed as an offensive genius, having turned Joe Burrow into a Heisman Trophy terror at LSU in 2019. And, unlike most of these candidates, the team has announced they've met with Brady:
The Texans have met with Joe Brady to interview for the Head Coach role.— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) January 5, 2021
If there were an option for "Field", which missing names would lead you to take the "Field" bet?
If I owned the team, I would offer the job to former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, give him my checkbook, and call it a day. However, I don't think the Texans are looking at Meyer. In fact, it appears to be fairly likely that Meyer winds up in Jacksonville as the next Jags head coach. Among the names that didn't make this 16 person list, Rams DC Brandon Staley has received feelers from multiple NFL teams. If the Texans get into that mix, perhaps he is in play. The Texans have actually interviewed former Colts and Lions head coach Jim Caldwell for the position, but I don't think he's a reason to take the field. Perhaps the biggest reason to bet "Field", if it were available would be Titans OC Arthur Smith, who the Texans plan to interview, and is somehow not on this big board.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.