Houston Texan Head Coaching Candidates Getting Second Interviews

This slow hiring cycle to fill all the vacancies, a number that rose to nine openings last week when Sean Payton stepped away from the New Orleans Saints, is finally starting to gain some steam. Three spots were filled late last week — Denver hiring Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett, Chicago hiring Colts DC Matt Eberfuls, and the Giants hiring Bills OC Brian Daboll — and second interviews are being conducted all over the map with the other six teams seeking new head coaches.

The Houston Texans are, as we all know, one of those teams seeking a new head coach. The one year experiment with David Culley wound up being the kind of experiment that gets you kicked out of science class for the rancid smell and nauseating smoke it leaves behind. Professor Caserio is trying to do better on Experiment Number 2. The rest of the class (i.e. Houston Texan fans) seem skeptical right now that this hire won’t yield a poisonous, Culley-esque explosion, as well.

As of this typing, the Texans have conducted two in-person, second interviews with the five known candidates. Those second interviews went to former journeyman QB (and zero time coach at any level) Josh McCown, and Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. Right now, Chargers OC Joe Lombardi, former Dolphins HC Brian Flores, and current college assistant and former Steelers WR Hines Ward are all still sitting at “conducted first interview” status.

So where does all this stand? Let’s dive in, shall we?

Let’s start with the two tweets from the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero announcing McCown’s second interview in Houston on Friday:

Now, if somebody from within the Texans (or McCown’s camp, for that matter, although they may be one and the same at this point) were feeding that information, along with the subjective “all in” assertion to Pelissero, they are doing the public perception of McCown’s candidacy a HUGE disservice. First, the contention that McCown has “told the team he’s all-in,” let’s start there. If I’m hiring someone who has to declare that he’s “all in” on being a head coach, then I do NOT want that person as my head coach! Being “all in” is the bare minimum for being merely a mediocre head coach, let alone someone a team is attaching its star to in such a risky fashion.

Secondly, in the follow up tweet, Pelissero tweeting that McCown didn’t feel ready last year for head coaching in the NFL — by the way, nor should he have, HE HAS NEVER COACHED EVER BEFORE! — and decided to evidently BECOME ready by watching his kid play high school football is laughable. It’s hard to find anybody around the NFL that isn’t high on McCown’s acumen and leadership, as a player. Assuming those things translate to embracing the grind of coaching and being an actual ACCOUNTABLE leader of an entire enterprise is two ENTIRELY different things. As a person whose life is driven by compelling content, I am here for a Josh McCown hire. As a fan of the Texans, I am terrified.

OK, now onto the report of Gannon’s second interview, courtesy of Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network:

Gannon seems to fit more of what has morphed into the “new conventional” hire in the NFL, where actual experience at a coordinator level and, quite honestly, age take a backseat to perceived leadership traits and varied backgrounds under different organizational “trees.” Gannon spent time as a scout with the Rams, and many stops along the way, college and pro, as an assistant, most notably in Indianapolis on the Colts’ staff from 2018 through 2019 coaching defensive backs, and last season in Philly as the DC. He is young (39 years old), energetic, and has ties to Caserio (both from upstate Ohio with MANY common friends in the coaching business).

For what it’s worth, here is a poll on whom Texan fans prefer between McCown and Gannon:

Rapoport mentions that there could be more second interviews coming. As mentioned previously, Flores, Ward, and Lombardi have all had first interviews that were announced by the team. Rams OC Kevin O’Connell was reported to have had a first interview by Adam Schefter of ESPN, but the team has never confirmed that.

For what it’s worth, here were the approval ratings of each of the six candidates (I’ll include O’Connell for the hell of it) in polls I conducted on Twitter with Texans fans:

FLORES — 84.2%
O’CONNELL – 53.8%
GANNON — 39.6%
LOMBARDI — 32.3%
McCOWN  – 11.2%
WARD — 10.3%

The search for the next Texans head coach looks like it’s going to roll on for a few more days, at least.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at and like him on Facebook at

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