NFL

The Houston Texans Have Hired the Right Coach for Deshaun Watson’s Replacement

It isn’t a matter of if, but when quarterback Deshaun Watson will leave the Houston Texans. While he did not formally request a trade until this week, he has aired his grievances to the team’s management for weeks. A team that seemed like it could contend for a Super Bowl last year must now look toward a future without their Pro Bowl quarterback. At the very least, they have hired a proven quarterbacks coach in Pep Hamilton. It seems that he will be charged with nurturing Watson’s inevitable replacement.

Who is Pep Hamilton?

D.C. Defenders head coach Pep Hamilton
Head coach Pep Hamilton, then head coach of the DC Defenders | Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

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Throughout this coaching cycle, Pep Hamilton’s name has popped up as a potential candidate for offensive coordinator positions around the NFL. While that has not worked out, he is expected to become the quarterbacks coach for the Houston Texans.

This is the same position he served in the 2020 season with the Los Angeles Chargers. While the Chargers missed the postseason, quarterback Justin Herbert had an impressive rookie season. In 15 starts. Herbert threw for 4,336 yards and 36 touchdowns with just 10 interceptions, a season that could earn him Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Pep Hamilton’s guidance surely has something to do with Herbert’s breakout.

The year prior to Hamilton’s one-season stint in Los Angeles, he served as head coach of the D.C. Defenders of the revived XFL. By early March, the Defenders’ record stood at 3-2, tied for the lead in the Eastern Conference. This included a 27-0 shutout win over the New York Guardians. Unfortunately, the season and the league ended abruptly due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

What is Hamilton walking into?

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Assuming the Texans hire Hamilton as their quarterbacks coach, it’s still not clear which quarterbacks Hamilton will coach in the first place.

The hiring of Hamilton should not change Deshaun Watson’s position with the Houston Texans. His relationship with the team has already been fractured beyond repair, and nothing can change that at this point. Even before the team’s unexpected hiring of Baltimore Ravens assistant David Culley as their next head coach, Watson had already made up his mind, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The other quarterbacks on the Texans’ roster are nowhere near Watson’s level. A.J. McCarron won three national championships with Alabama, but has only started in four NFL games in seven seasons. 41-year-old Josh McCown is in the twilight of his career, and there are rumors that he may wind up on Culley’s coaching staff as an assistant.

Who will be the Houston Texans’ next quarterback?

Presumably, the Houston Texans will try to land their next starting quarterback in the same trade that will jettison Deshaun Watson. It is too soon to tell which team is the front-runner yet. According to CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin, “nearly half the league” could line up a deal for Watson.

One of the more feasible options is a trade with the Miami Dolphins for Tua Tagovailoa. However, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson, that is unlikely. The Texans reportedly don’t view Tagovailoa as “an adequate replacement for Watson.”

A mega-trade will be the only feasible way for the Texans to land a quarterback. Even though they finished 4-12 in 2020, Houston will not have a pick in the first round due to previous trades that backfired horribly. The Miami Dolphins hold the third overall pick that would have gone to the Texans.