It looks like the Texans really are going to do it.
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports that former NFL quarterback Josh McCown is the favorite to become next head coach of the Texans.
McCown is getting a second interview, a clear indication that a former player with no college or pro coaching experience could indeed go straight from playing to serving as an NFL head coach.
McClain notes that McCown has “earned a lot of respect as a future coaching candidate during his long NFL career.” The key word, in our view, is future. As in, after serving for a period of time as an assistant coach, working his way up the ladder and learning the inner workings of what to do and what not to do when ultimately doing the job.
Could McCown eventually figure out how to be a head coach by being a head coach? Sure. (It worked for Jerry Jones as a woefully unqualified G.M.) But that doesn’t make McCown one of the currently most qualified people to get one of the six open head-coaching jobs in the current cycle. The supply of qualified head-coaching candidates far outweighs demand. There definitely are more people who are better suited to getting the job than McCown or any other former player who has never coached.
To show how unconventional the move would (will) be consider this. The Saints need a coach. Will they interview Drew Brees for the currently vacant job in New Orleans? Did the Chargers interview Philip Rivers last year? Have Peyton Manning or Eli Manning ever been considered seriously as potential head coaches, with zero apprenticeship?
Is anyone clamoring for Tom Brady to make a decision as to playing so that the Dolphins, Texans, Jaguars, Raiders, Vikings, or Saints could interview him to become their head coach? How about Ben Roethlisberger? Is anyone thinking about interviewing him?
Regardless of whatever potential the Texans subjectively think McCown may possess, every name listed above has significantly more NFL playing experience than him. So if McCown’s extensive roster experience justifies considering him to be a head coach with no actual coaching experience, why aren’t some of these other guys getting chased to become coaches, too?
It tends to prove that this one is sufficiently outside the box to, as Myles Simmons would say, stay there.
Yes, the Texans can do whatever they want. Owner Cal McNair, still firmly under Jack Easterby’s Jafarian spell, will do whatever Easterby suggests. G.M. Nick Caserio, who was able to serve as the shadow coach during 2021 games, directing David Culley like a puppet via a shared headset, will get to continue to be the coach without being the coach.
And maybe, just maybe, it will work. The question is whether it should be given a chance to work. The question is whether others who are more deserving to get one of the few available chances to be NFL head coaches should be ignored.
Consider this. Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has as many years of experience as an NFL assistant coach (16) as McCown had as a player. For the second straight year, Bieniemy can’t even get an interview for the Houston job. McCown is on interview No. 3.
As explained regarding the curious ongoing inability of Bieniemy to get the opportunity he has earned, no one has been willing to make the bet that Bieniemy is ready to jump from coordinator to head coach. But the Texans aren’t even willing to sit down with Bieniemy in an effort to determine whether he’s ready to become a head coach.
Again, the Texans can do whatever they want. And the rest of us can point out that what they’re about to do crosses the line from unconventional to unfair to the many candidates, regardless of race, who have greater objective credentials and who have earned the opportunity to show that they can do the job.
McCown, who nevertheless may become a great coach, simply hasn’t earned the opportunity to try to do it. Many others have. One of them should be the next coach of the Texans.