Texans Reportedly Narrow Coaching Search to Flores, McCown

The Houston Texans came into the weekend with three finalists for their head coaching vacancy, all three of whom had recently received second interviews with the team – former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, current Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, and former quarterback for about a dozen teams (including the Texans in 2020) Josh McCown.

They exit the weekend with that list narrowed to just two names. Courtesy of NFL Reporter Josina Anderson:

So, down goes Gannon, who ironically was recently reported by multiple outlets to have “knocked his Texans interview out of the park.” Gannon had all sorts of buzz for the energy he had shown in interviews with various teams in this hiring cycle, and he feels like this year’s Matt Eberflus, the now former Colts defensive coordinator who made many favorable impressions in the 2021 hiring cycle, which led to him landing the Bears head coaching job a year later in 2022.

The elimination of Gannon from the Texans’ finalists list sets up one of the most fascinating decisions an NFL team has faced in years – Josh McCown or Brian Flores? It would have been a compelling choice even before Flores filed a lawsuit last week against the NFL for racial discrimination in its hiring practices, given the complete dichotomy in the backgrounds of two candidates. Playing background, coaching experience, race, personality – there is very little that McCown and Flores have even remotely in common.

The bottom line is this – there is no decision the Texans will make in choosing Flores or McCown that will NOT be the lead story on all the NFL and sports talk shows. Let’s consider the possibility of hiring each one, and forecast what the discussion will be, starting with Flores:

IF THE TEXANS HIRE BRIAN FLORES ….
If the Texans hired Brian Flores, most of the team’s fanbase would rejoice. He has graded out as an incredibly popular candidate with Texans fans, and the fact that he is taking on the league in a lawsuit has made him a sympathetic figure with many. From purely a football standpoint, Flores overachieved in each of his three seasons with the Dolphins, so the Texans would be hiring someone with a conventional resume that says “solid hire,” and that alone would be good enough for some Texan fans, knowing that their team, for once, would not be doing something that has the rest of football saying “HUH ?!”

Beyond that, bringing on a minority coach who is suing the league for discrimination would be one of those moves that would make it really tough to question the Texans’ attention to race in their football hiring practices, something they’ve been criticized for in the past (unfairly so, in my opinion). Finally, other NFL owners would probably be thankful that Flores is immediately offered a head coaching job less than a week after filing his lawsuit, since in theory, it might take some of the steam out of his case.

IF THE TEXANS HIRE JOSH McCOWN ….
The social media storm has been brewing on this one for a while, and the consensus seems to be this – if the Texans hire Josh McCown, and his ZERO years of coaching experience, how can they not become the laughingstock of the NFL? I guess my only possible answers are (a) “because they’re already the laughingstock of the NFL” or (b) “Hell, I dunno, maybe it works!” And it could work, but the problem is that the Texans should not get the benefit of the doubt on unconventional decisions like this, seeing as they have a string of roughly 8,000 consecutive unconventional decisions that have blown up in their faces.

Let’s look at the bigger picture on this one, though. If the Texans hire McCown, a white former player with ZERO coaching experience, they would be doing so to (a) replace a black head coach who was fired after one season (David Culley), (b) choosing him over another, far more experienced minority finalist, who (c) happens to be suing the league for racial discrimination. Look, the lawsuit shouldn’t FORCE the Texans to hire anybody. You should hire who you think is best to win games. However, I can not think of a team I’ve ever followed who is attempting a bigger heat check on the optics of a hire than this one, IF indeed they hire McCown.

If I had to guess, the hire could come down any minute. The prediction here is that the choice will be McCown, and the fireworks will be spectacular. Buckle up.

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