Sources: Brian Flores a top candidate for Texans

The Texans are targeting former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores as a top candidate to become their new head coach after firing coach David Culley after one season, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly.

The Texans are expected to move fairly quickly, but will also consider other candidates for the vacancy, per sources. 

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Patriots inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo are other candidates the Texans have a lot of respect for, according to sources. McDaniels is not expected to pursue head coaching interviews during the playoffs and may not pursue the Texans' job as he could remain in New England or pursue other jobs, according to sources.

The Dolphins were frequently linked to Texans Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson in trade discussions and nearly traded him to Miami at the NFL trade deadline before an inability to settle all 22 of his lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct led to a stalemate, according to league sources.

Flores, 40, was a surprise firing after finishing 9-8 this season amidst reports of disagreements with general manager Chris Grier over personnel decisions, including drafting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. He finished 24-25 in three seasons as a head coach, including a 10-6 record two seasons ago and 5-11 in his first year as a head coach.

Houston Texans v Miami Dolphins

Photo: Getty Images

The Dolphins went 9-8 after starting the season 1-7 and then going 8-1 in the second half of the season. The Dolphins were the first team in NFL history to lose seven consecutive games and win seven consecutive games in the same season.

"I've been looking at this over three years now and watching the organization grow," Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said Monday when Flores was dismissed. "And I think an organization can only function if it's collaborative, and it works well together. And I don't think that we were really working well as an organization that it would take to really win consistently at the NFL level."

Flores was the Patriots' defensive signal caller during a Super Bowl LIII championship victory over the Los Angeles Rams. He worked for the Patriots as an assistant coach from 2008 to 2018.

A Brooklyn, N.Y. native and a former Boston College linebacker, Flores has a long background and a strong relationship with Texans general manager Nick Caserio from their time together in New England. He joined the Patriots in 2004 as a 23-year-old scouting assistant before becoming a pro scout. He was promoted to the coaching staff in 2008 as a special-teams coaching assistant and then coached safeties and linebackers. He had the responsibilities, but not the title of defensive coordinator.

Flores went 4-2 against his former boss and mentor, Bill Belichick, for the most success against him of any coach facing him during that span.

"I am grateful most of all for the players, coaches and support staff who gave everything they had on a daily basis to help us win games," Flores said in a statement when he was fired by the Dolphins. "They deserve the credit for any success on the field, and it was the honor of a lifetime for me to go to work with them every day. I have always believed that leadership is really about service, and I did my best to serve the players, the staff and the organization every day. I believe in this team and will always value the relationships my family and I made here."

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