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Timing of Texans’ Jim Caldwell interview seems a little off

Mike Florio and Charean Williams break down why Carolina let GM Marty Hurney go and discuss why Matt Rhule's presence in the organization could complicate the job search.

Former Colts and Lions coach Jim Caldwell has a record of 62-50. That’s considerably better than, for example, Jon Gruden’s record of 63-78 since winning Super Bowl XXXVII.

So, yes, Caldwell should get consideration for a third head-coaching stint. In Houston, however, the timing of the decision to interview him seems odd.

The Texans don’t have a General Manager. Unless the G.M. will be reporting to the coach, there’s no reason to interview coaching candidates until a G.M. has been hired.

If anyone should be leery about the subsequent arrival of a G.M., it’s Caldwell. When Bob Quinn became the new G.M. in Detroit, it was a matter of time before Quinn fired Jim Caldwell and hired Matt Patricia. Caldwell nevertheless went 9-7 and 9-7 in two seasons with an inevitable termination looming over him.

While it’s fine and appropriate for the Texans to do some preliminary due diligence, it makes no sense to launch the coaching search until hiring a G.M., unless the coach will be running the show in Houston. Given the team’s experience with former coach Bill O’Brien, that’s unlikely. So unless the Texans are simply checking the box on compliance with the Rooney Rule, it makes no sense to interview coaching candidates without first hiring a G.M.

There’s one other exception, one that is hardly ideal for any NFL team. It’s possible that the coach and the G.M. will have a certain amount of autonomy, separately reporting to owner Cal McNair (or, in theory, to executive V.P. of football operations Jack Easterby).

That sets the stage for dysfunction, with the coach blaming the G.M. and the G.M. blaming the coach if/when things go sideways. Given the way things have gone in recent years for the Texans, however, that can’t be ruled out.