The Texans went 4-13 under Culley in 2021. Houston finished 30th in the NFL in scoring, 27th in points allowed, 32nd in rushing and 31st in rushing yards allowed. Houston’s record mimicked its 4-12 mark in 2020 that resulted in Bill O’Brien being relieved of his duties after an 0-4 start.
Culley inherited a less than ideal situation in Houston. The team benched Deshaun Watson throughout the season and endured an injury to Tyrod Taylor. Houston went 2-9 with rookie Davis Mills at starting quarterback. Mills showed growth during the season that included his 301-yard, three-touchdown performance in Houston’s Week 18 loss to the Titans. Along with Mills, the Texans enjoyed solid statistical seasons from receiver Brandin Cooks, defensive end Jonathan Greenard, linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill and defensive backs Desmond King and Lonnie Johnson Jr.
Texans GM Nick Caserio says he had “philosophical differences” with Culley “over the long-term direction and vision for our program moving forward.”
CEO Cal McNair released a statement saying in part, “these decisions are difficult, but Nick (Caserio) believed it was necessary for the future of our organization. We look forward to continuing to build our roster and finding the right coach to lead us forward.”
The 66-year-old Culley had served as the Ravens assistant head coach/receivers coach the previous two seasons prior to coming to Houston. An NFL assistant since 1994, Culley has also served as the receivers coach in Pittsburgh (1996-98), Philadelphia (1999-12) and Kansas City (2013-16). He was a college assistant coach from 1978-93.
Culley joins Joe Judge, Mike Zimmer, Matt Nagy, Vic Fangio and Brian Flores as NFL head coaches who have been let go since the end of the 2021 regular season. Jon Gruden and Urban Meyer were relieved of their duties during the season.
The Texans will likely pursue Flores given his rapport with Caserio. The two were members of the Patriots‘ organization together from 2004-18.