Texans Hire Culley, All Head Coaching Jobs Filled

NFL Previews

NFL news as we wait for the upcoming Superbowl. Teams like the Texans and Green Bay make offseason staffing decisions with hires and fires, while Jason Witten signs a one-day contract with the Cowboys so he can retire where it all began.

The Houston Texans were the first NFL team to fire their coach during the 2020 season, and on Wednesday, they became the last team to hire a new coach. The Texans have reportedly secured terms from Baltimore Raven’s staffer David Culley who has 27 years of NFL coaching experience. 

Culley was the Ravens assistant head coach/passing coordinator/wide receivers coach the past two seasons after stints with the Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Under his leadership, the Ravens passing attack finished dead last in the NFL in the 2020 season. 

Culley spent 14 seasons with the Eagles from 1999-2012 under head coach Andy Reid and later worked for Reid in Kansas City as well. Cully will be the NFL’s third African-American head coach and fifth minority head coach. 

Houston also has a new general manager this off-season, with Nick Caserio joining the franchise from New England. Bill O’Brien had been both head coach and general manager before being fired after a 0-4 start to the 2020 campaign. 

It has yet to be seen how the hiring of Culley will impact franchise cornerstone quarterback Deshaun Watson. Watson was reported to be asking for a trade after he was not consulted on Caserio’s hiring. Defensive tackled J.J. Watt, the face of the franchise, has one year left on his contract at $17.5 million and could be released at the age of 31. 

Jason Witten Retiring, Again 

For the second time in three years, tight end Jason Witten is retiring from the NFL. Witten spent 16 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and one with the Las Vegas Raiders while also sitting out the 2018 season. When he retired in 2018, he worked for ESPN as a Monday Night Football analyst before returning to the Cowboys for the 2019 season. 

This season Witten caught just 13 passes for 69 yards and two touchdowns while playing in all 16 games opposite budding superstar Darren Waller. In 17 seasons overall, he caught 1,228 passes for 13,046 yards with 74 touchdowns, and he will likely be enshrined in the Hall of Fame in Canton in the coming years. 

Witten will sign a one-day contract with the Cowboys in March so he can officially retire with the team he started with. An 11-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro selection, Witten ranks fourth in NFL history in receptions, 19th in receiving yards, 38th in receiving touchdowns, and 25th in games played. Among tight ends, he ranks second to Tony Gonzalez in receptions and yards while ranking fifth in receiving touchdowns.

Packers Fire Special Teams Coordinator

Days after being eliminated in the NFC Championship Game, the Green Bay Packers fired special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga. The Packers ranked 29th in special teams ranking by guru Rick Gosselin after ranking 26th last season. When Mennenga took over from fired Ron Zook in 2018, the Packers ranked 32nd and have long been an issue in the frozen tundra. 

The Packers allowed two punt returns for a touchdown this season, had a punt blocked, fumbled on multiple returns, and had a botched snap on an extra point in the playoff win over the LA Rams. While kicker Mason Crosby was perfect on 20 field goals and hit 63-of-67 extra points, the punting game and kickoff coverage were wildly inconsistent.

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