As the Texans try to repair the damage the team has inflicted on the relationship with quarterback Deshaun Watson, the full extent of the divide is coming into even clearer focus.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Watson recommended not only Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy for a head-coaching interview but also former 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. The Texans during the first week after the regular season ended made a request to interview neither.
The Texans eventually requested permission to interview Bieniemy during this past week. However, because the interview didn’t happen during the Kansas City bye week, the Texans must now wait until the Chiefs’ season ends before talking to Bieniemy.
The Texans did not request permission to interview Saleh at any time. Saleh, who was interviewed by every team with a vacancy except the Texans, recently became the new head coach of the Jets.
Watson’s recommendations came at the invitation of owner Cal McNair, who decided to involve Watson in the process. Watson suggested Bieniemy and Saleh after talking to other players around the league, and after consulting with Watson’s Houston teammates.
From Watson’s perspective, the failure to interview these candidates made no sense, given that the Zoom interviews by video conference are easily arranged and executed.
It’s unclear whether eventually hiring Bieniemy will resolve Watson’s broader concerns regarding the organization, especially given the perception (or reality) that the Texans asked to interview Bieniemy solely to placate Watson. However, the failure to also interview Saleh and to initially request permission to interview Bieniemy is being regarded by Watson as a sign of disrespect, given that ownership specifically included him in the process.