Sports

David Cooley didn’t stand a chance with Texas

On the day the Texans made him a one-time head coach in the NFL, David Cooley showed them a lot more class than they showed him.

An organization that became the epitome of dysfunction fired Culley after a 4-13 season as he was expected to be one of the worst teams in the league, so their record should come as no surprise.

Culley is set to fail by General Manager Nick Caserio and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Jack Easterby. They gave him one of the worst rosters in the league that was in constant flux, but somehow convinced Chairman and CEO Cal McNair to sign off on a firing that was hugely unfair given the hand that was dealt.

Now the Texans will hire their fourth coach in less than 15 months, after Bill O’Brien, interim head coach Romeo Crinell and Cooley. How is this for a defect?

Despite his disloyal treatment, Cooley thanked the players and the organization for the opportunity he had waited 27 years to receive.

“I really appreciate these guys,” Cooley said of his players. “I appreciate how hard they played for us. I want to wish them all the best and wish the Texans good luck too.”

Cooley, 66, knew he was taking charge of a team undergoing a massive rebuilding designed by Caserio, the first-time general manager who had spent 20 years in New England.

The McNair family awarded Caserio a six-year contract to oversee the shredding, and Culley signed a four-year deal. Cooley said Thursday that his contract is guaranteed until 2025.

Cooley said of his firing, “I’m disappointed, but I’ve been in this league long enough to know this is a business. And I understand that’s part of that business.”

Houston Chronicle writers Jerome Solomon, John McClain, Brooks Coppina and Brian T. Smith discuss Texas dismissal coach David Cooley. Video: Houston Chronicle

Cooley said he’ll take a step back and see what’s out there. After his 28th year in the NFL, Cooley was able to continue coaching. He has a lot of friends in the league.

Retirement is also a possibility. He is in no hurry to make a decision.

With Culley out of the picture, Caserio and Easterby can begin a search that will surely lead to one of their New England friends.

Easterby loves the Patriots inside midfielder Jerrod Mayo. Caserio went to college with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and worked for him for 20 years with the Patriots. Brian Flores, who was fired by Miami on Monday after winning back-to-back seasons, has spent 15 years in New England.

This is the second head coach hunt for Caserio and Easterby. By firing Cooley after one season, they tell us they failed miserably in season one. There’s no reason for fans to think they’ll get a second right until they prove it.

Everyone in the NFL would be shocked if Caserio didn’t hire someone from a New England background. Although Bill Belichick’s students have often exploded as head coaches for the NFL, they continue to get opportunities. O’Brien is the most successful. This should tell you something.

David Cooley, waving to the fans after his victory over the Chargers, has been on the cutting edge all season in what turned out to be his only year as head coach.

Godofredo A. Vásquez, Houston Chronicle / Staff Photographer

Culley, a top-notch act and a great guy, did everything Caserio and Easterby wanted him to do. Cooley coached a disadvantaged team with the kind of talent needed to win the NFL, and he never complained.

Cooley received criticism, some well-deserved, without complaint. He admitted mistakes in the game and vowed to improve. him too.

Cooley accepted the blame for the loss and poor team play. When the Texans closed in with a 2-2 record and rookie quarterback Davis Mills showed plenty of promise, Cooley was quick to appreciate his players and coaches.

Cole’s replacement should be someone who knows Caserio and Esterby well. Most coaches don’t want a General Manager and Executive Vice President of Football Operations telling them who to hire and fire.

It’s hard to imagine a head coach unfamiliar with Caserio approving what the general manager is doing and extending to the coaching staff. If he doesn’t work with Caserio, can you imagine a strong-willed coach allowing the GM to take on the role of an extra coach in practice and working with players – not to mention wearing a headset during matches and communicating with the head coach and offensive coordinator?

This is how Caserio worked when he was at Belichick, and this is how he worked in his first season as general manager. That will not change.

When it comes to hiring the new coach, do the Texans really want to build a winner, or do they want a puppet system that condemns them to drowning in mediocre performance at best and total failure at worst?

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