NFL

Texans confirm Culley hiring as Watson drama rumbles on

By Sports Desk January 29, 2021

The Houston Texans have confirmed the hiring of David Culley as their new head coach. 

Culley's appointment was first reported on Thursday, with Bill O'Brien's successor inheriting an unenviable situation in Houston. 

Franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson has reportedly requested a trade, having expressed significant dissatisfaction with the direction of the organisation and his lack of involvement in their search for a new head coach. 

Watson's desire to continue his career elsewhere has overshadowed the hiring of Culley, who takes over a team that went 4-12 in 2020 despite the 2017 first-round pick leading the league in passing. 

Culley, the former assistant head coach/pass coordinator/wide receivers coach with the Baltimore Ravens, said: "On behalf of my family, I would like to thank Janice, Cal and Hannah McNair for the amazing opportunity of being the next head coach of the Houston Texans. 

"To say that I am excited and that this is a dream come true is an understatement. Along the way, I have had countless people, organisations, family members and friends pour into me and prepare a path for me. 

"My genuine hope is that this moment is as much theirs as it is mine. Let's get to work and let's do it together!"

Recently appointed general manager Nick Caserio added: "Heading into this process, it was imperative to find a head coach that our entire organisation could rally behind and David is unquestionably that leader.

"David's infectious energy, passion for the game and ability to command a room was clear from the start. As he shared his vision for how a head coach should lead a football team, it further solidified our belief in him.

"His mentality of being selfless and willing to accept any challenge while investing in each person within our program resonated with all of us. I could not be more excited to welcome David Culley and his family to Houston as the next head coach of the Texans."

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    A miserable Sunday for the Panthers saw them go down to a 33-10 loss in Miami, their third defeat in four games.

    It was a rough outing for former MVP Newton, who recently returned to the team with whom he made his name as a free agent signing. 

    He completed only five of his 21 passes for 92 yards and two interceptions, adding one touchdown on the ground.

    Newton was replaced by P.J. Walker with the Panthers (5-7) down 20 in the closing stages, head coach Matt Rhule later explaining the backup had a better grasp of the two-minute offense.

    Ex-New England Patriots QB Newton hopes to use the Panthers' bye week to get more familiar with the system before a Week 14 divisional game at home to the Atlanta Falcons.

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    "I'm not making any changes right now," Rhule said after the game. "At the end of the day, we weren't protecting the quarterback at all.

    "It wouldn't be fair to keep Cam in there and keep getting him hit.''

    NFL Research said Newton's completion percentage of just 23.8 was the lowest by a QB with 20-plus attempts in a game since 2004.

    Newton, who had looked much better in the narrow loss at Washington last week, had no complaints about Rhule's decision to take him out of the Dolphins game.

    "I was fine with that,'' said Newton. "At the end of the day, it's still about being a professional. 

    "At that particular point, I had more than enough opportunities to keep the game in the balance. There's no need to put up a fight with that.

    "It really got exposed because of the situation, not having a full grasp [of the offense]. Nobody to blame, more so the situation I came into. 

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    Tua Tagovailoa was on the money with 27 completions from just 31 pass attempts for 230 yards and a touchdown.

    He became only the fourth player in NFL history to record a completion percentage of 80 or more in consecutive games (minimum 30 pass attempts).

    The only two QBs to have achieved the feat before this season are Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, while Kyler Murray also did so for the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2 and 3 of this year.

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    The 8-3 Ravens are at the Pittsburgh Steelers next Sunday.

     

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    The Baltimore Ravens dug deep to edge the Cleveland Browns 16-10, despite Lamar Jackson's woes in the NFL on Sunday.

    Jackson threw a career-high four interceptions at home to the Browns in Baltimore, but the Ravens still prevailed.

    Ravens quarterback Jackson threw four interceptions when targeting team-mate Mark Andrews in Week 12 – the former MVP becoming the fourth QB in the last 25 seasons to throw four INT targeting a single player in a game after Eli Manning-Hakeem Nicks, Luke McCown-Mike Thomas and Mark Sanchez-Braylon Edwards.

    Jackson was 20-of-32 passing for 165 yards and a touchdown, while he was sacked twice by the visiting Browns.

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