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Who have the Texans interviewed for head coach? Latest on the coaching search

The Texans have asked for permission to speak with several high-profile candidates and have already conducted several interviews.

HOUSTON — The Houston Texans are searching for their fourth head coach in three years after Lovie Smith was fired following the regular season finale.

General manager Nick Caserio will be hiring the team's second coach in two years after hiring David Culley in his first year and then elevating Smith.

Who have the Texans interviewed for head coach?

  • Mike Kafka, offensive coordinator, New York Giants

Mike Kafka just finished his first season as the New York Giants offensive coordinator. He has six years of NFL coaching experience. He had spent time as an assistant coach with Kansas CIty, where he was quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator. 

For DeMeco Ryans, a head coaching job would be a return trip to where his NFL career started.  Ryans played with the Texans for six seasons before being traded to Philadelphia. Ryans has been with the 49ers as a defensive coach for six seasons, the last two as defensive coordinator.

Houston announced that it had interviewed Evero on Tuesday, Jan. 17.

Evero started his coaching career at UC Davis in 2005. After a short NFL stint, he returned to the college ranks for two years before returning to the NFL in 2011. He spent five years with the 49ers, one year with the Packers, five years with the Rams and last season with the Broncos.

  • Thomas Brown, assistant head coach/tight ends coach, LA Rams

The Texans announced that they had interviewed Brown on Jan. 17.

Brown worked his way up the coaching ranks, starting in 2011 at Georgia and moving through several colleges before his first NFL gig in Los Angeles in 2020.

The Texans interviewed Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon on Jan. 14.

Gannon is helping the Eagles prepare for the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs after getting a bye in the first round as the top seed in the NFC. Gannon was hired in the 2021 offseason and this is his second year manning the defense.

Gannon’s unit finished No. 2 in total defense in the regular season, just barely missing out on the top spot held by the San Francisco 49ers. The Eagles averaged 301.5 yards per game while the Niners finished with 300.6.

The Eagles finished with the No. 7 scoring defense and No. 5 in takeaways.

Prior to joining the Eagles, Gannon served as the defensive backs coach for the Indianapolis Colts from 2018-2020.

The second candidate to interview with the Texans was Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen.

The Texans announced on Jan. 13 that they have completed an interview with Steichen, who is helping the Eagles prepare for the NFC Divisional round of the playoffs, just like Gannon.

He is also in his second season as the offensive coordinator of the Eagles. He joined the team in 2021. In the 2022 regular season, he guided the Philly offense to the No. 2 scoring offense with 59 TDs.

The Eagles have the No. 6 rating passing attack and finished fifth in rushing yards as a team with 2,509 yards on the ground.

Of course, Steichen has played an integral role in developing quarterback Jalen Hurts. Hurts finished the regular season with a QB rating of 101.5 and 3,701 passing yards with 22 TDs. He also had another 760 yards on the ground with another 13 TDs.

Before joining the Eagles, Steichen spent the previous seven seasons with the Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers.

UPDATE JAN. 18: Ben Johnson said he will remain with the Lions, according to Tom Pelissero with the NFL Network.


The first candidate the Texans interviewed for their vacant was Ben Johnson, who currently serves as the offensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions

The Texans announced on Jan. 12 that they had completed an interview with Johnson. The offensive-minded coach is reportedly also in contention for the open Carolina Panthers head coaching job, according to CBSSports.com insider Jonathan Jones.

According to his profile on the Lions’ website, Johnson was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2022 after spending three seasons with the Lions in multiple roles on the coaching staff. He came to Detroit in 2019, as an offensive quality control coach, and was heavily involved in the passing game during Lions head coach Dan Campbell's first season in Detroit.

Johnson guided the Lions to the No. 3 overall scoring offense which had 54 TDs just behind the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs.

The Lions had the No. 5 rated passing attack in the NFL under Johnson. His offense also finished 11th in rushing yards with 2179 yards.

Prior to joining the Lions, Johnson served as the wide receivers coach with the Miami Dolphins. He served as an assistant with them from 2012-2019.

Johnson joined the Dolphins after spending three years at Boston College. 

There, here served one season as the tight ends coach and two as a graduate assistant.

He played four seasons collegiately as a quarterback at North Carolina and graduated in 2008 with a B.S. in mathematics and a B.S. in computer science.

Johnson and his wife, Jessica, have a daughter, Emory, and son, Kennedy.

READ: Oddsmakers favor former Texans star or current Chiefs coach to replace Lovie Smith

READ: Robert Griffin III says Texans 'using 2 Black head coaches to tank' is wrong

READ: Texans announce they've fired head coach Lovie Smith

On Jan. 11, the Texans requested permission from the New Orleans Saints to speak with Sean Payton, according to insider Peter Schrager. He officially interviewed Monday night as the team made an official announcement on social media.

The Super Bowl-winning coach has not been in the NFL since resigning in 2021. Payton is considered by many to be the most sought-after head coach candidate during this cycle.

  • Mike Kafka, offensive coordinator, New York Giants

The Houston Texans interviewed New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka.

Kafka coached for Northwestern in 2016, the Kansas City Chiefs from 2017 to 2021 and has spent the 2022 season with the Giants.

  • Texans ask for permission to interview DeMeco Ryans, others

On Jan. 9, the Houston Texans also requested permission to interview these head-coaching candidates, according to CBSSports insider Jonathan Jones:

  • DeMeco Ryans, defensive coordinator, San Francisco 49ers
  • Ejiro Evero, defensive coordinator, Denver Broncos

Ryans was selected by the Texans in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He spent six seasons with the team and was AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. He also was named to the 2007 and 2009 Pro Bowl teams.


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