With the Texans coaching search heating up, there are some new names being thrown into the ring.
Ward and McCown have gotten a lot of attention because they’re not your typical coaches. They also bring different backgrounds to their respective jobs as well with Ward playing wide receiver for 15 seasons in addition to his current role on CBS NFL pregame show ‘The NFL Today,’ while McCown has been an assistant coach for eight years and played quarterback in college at Southern Cal before becoming a broadcaster for ESPN. The two will be interviewed by Mike Greenberg today starting at 9am EST on ESPN Radio’s ‘Mike & Mike’ morning drive radio show.

Hines Ward and Josh McCown are among the “new nfl head coaches 2021” that the Houston Texans have been considering. The Texans are looking for a coach who is outside the box, someone who has never been an NFL head coach before.

Hines Ward and Josh McCown are Among the Houston Texans 'Outside the Box' Head Coaching Candidates

In 2021, the Houston Texans lacked a great quarterback, a one-and-done head coach, and no Pro Bowl players. The squad might be said to be the least exciting franchise in the NFL season. Now, while clubs throughout the league look for their next head coach, the Texans are going “outside the box,” interviewing unproven candidates like Hines Ward and Josh McCown. This makes the Texans’ once dull quest one of the more intriguing offseason events in 2022.

The Houston Texans already have a front office that is “outside the box.”

(L-R) Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward stands on the sideline in the third quarter of a preseason game on August 20, 2017; Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images; Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio before playing the Jacksonville Jaguars at NRG Stadium on September 12, 2021; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown warms up prior to the National Football League game between the New York Jets and the Houston Texans on December 15, 2018.

(L-R) Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward stands on the sideline in the third quarter of a preseason game on August 20, 2017; Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images; Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio before playing the Jacksonville Jaguars at NRG Stadium on September 12, 2021; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown warms up prior to the National Football League game between the New York Jets and the Houston Texans on December 15, 2018. Hines Ward, Nick Caserio, and Luke McCown (L-R) | Photo courtesy of 2017 Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images; Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images

It should come as no surprise that the Houston Texans are conducting their coaching search in a unique manner. People who are a bit different from the norm lead the organization.

The squad is owned by Janice McNair, the late owner and co-founder of the brand. The team’s day-to-day operations are overseen by Texans Chair and CEO Cal McNair, Janice and Bob’s son.

Cal is divisive on a number of levels. According to Sports Illustrated’s Mike Fisher, the Texans’ CEO recently had to apologize “for using an anti-Asian slur at a team charity golf event in May.” This isn’t entirely surprising, considering his father had to apologize for comparing his kid to “inmates controlling the jail,” according to Tom Schad of USA Today.

Former New England Patriots team chaplain Jack Easterby was elevated to Executive Vice President of Football Operations by the founders’ son, thus giving him control of the organization.

The divisive Easterby was in charge of hiring and dismissing previous head coach David Culley in a single year, as well as bringing in former Patriots pro personnel guru Nick Caserio as general manager (which led to tampering claims from the Pats, according to Sports Illustrated’s Jenny Vrentas and Greg Bishop).

McNair, Easterby, and Caserio are now in charge of finding the new coach for the company. With this trio in control, it’s hardly surprising that they’re looking at possibilities that other NFL teams aren’t.

The Texans are conducting interviews with some unconventional prospects.

NFL clubs with coaching openings are (almost) all interviewing the same persons during the 2022 hiring cycle.

HC of the Miami Dolphins in the past Brian Flores, Kellen Moore of the Dallas Cowboys, and DC Dan Quinn, Brian Daboll of the Buffalo Bills, and DC Green Bay Packers OC Byron Leftwich, Leslie Frazier, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers OC Byron Leftwich Some of the names that are showing up on every team’s list of possible head coaches include Nathaniel Hackett and Nathaniel Hackett.

Some teams are taking things a step further. The Broncos spoke with Luke Getsy, the Packers’ QB coach and passing game coordinator, and the Dolphins spoke with Thomas Brown, the LA Rams’ running backs coach and assistant head coach, but these younger players are about as crazy as it gets for most teams.

The Houston Texans, on the other hand, are doing things a bit differently.

According to CBS Sports, although other clubs have a long list of interviews, the Texans just have four. They’re speaking with Flores and Joe Lombardi, the offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Chargers. That’s not unusual.

They’re also interviewing Florida Atlantic special assistant (and former NFL WR) Hines Ward and high school football coach (and former NFL QB) Josh McCown, which is a bit unusual.

These two names are unmistakably recognized to NFL fans. But not for any coaching-related reasons. So, as head coach of the Houston Texans, what would the renowned Pro Bowl receiver and journeyman backup quarterback bring to the table?

What do Hines Ward and Josh McCown bring to the table?

In other sports, hiring players soon after their playing days are over and without going through the regular processes to become a head coach is customary. In Major League Baseball, Aaron Boone (New York Yankees) and David Ross (Chicago Cubs) are notable instances of this. Steve Nash (Brooklyn Nets) and Jason Kidd (Dallas Mavericks) are two NBA players that meet this description.

That is not the situation with the NFL, though. Coaches are often promoted from the ranks of coordinators. Sometimes a college head coach or, in rare cases, a position coach will acquire a job.

Hines Ward is a wide receivers coach at Florida Atlantic University. He does, however, have some experience as a low-level offensive coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Jets.

Ward’s appeal stems from his role as a motivator on two Super Bowl-winning Steelers teams. He was also one of the roughest and most well-liked pass catchers of his time. NFL head coaches must first and foremost be CEOs and leaders. They may obtain assistance with play-calling. That is why Ward is such an intriguing prospect.

Josh McCown played for nine different clubs in the NFL throughout the course of his 16-year career. In his career, he only started 76 games and had a 23-53 record. He has, however, learnt from several veterans and mentored a handful of young quarterbacks throughout his experience in QB rooms around the NFL.

In today’s NFL, a coaching staff’s most important jobs include developing new quarterbacks and cultivating a positive connection with a seasoned quarterback. McCown did it for over two decades as a player. As a head coach, I’d be able to do the same thing (theoretically).

Ward and McCown may not be on most clubs’ short lists of possible head coaches, but if the Houston Texans choose one of them and they succeed, additional recently retired players like them may be given greater consideration in the near future.

Pro Football Reference provided all stats.

RELATED: Houston Texans: 4 Best Candidates to Replace David Culley

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