In an effort to bring another perspective to the ongoing evaluation of his team over the final month of the season, and to perhaps lend insights into the direction for the future, Houston owner Bob McNair has hired former NFL coach Dan Reeves as a special consultant.
There had been whispers over the past week that McNair, whose franchise owns the NFL's worst record at 1-12, might seek input from an independent party.
McNair made it clear that Reeves was not interviewing to be
coach of the Texans, nor was he brought in to critique coach Dom
Capers or general manager Charley Casserly.
"He's here as a resource to assist me as we go forward and to
assist the other people in our organization to help us be a better
team," McNair said.
McNair said he hired Reeves to get an outside opinion of his
organization and that he would spend time talking with coaches,
watching practice and reviewing game film.
Reeves, 61, has not coached in the NFL since 2003, when he left the Falcons with three games remaining in the regular season, after being apprised by owner Arthur Blank that he would not be retained for 2004.
In 23 seasons as a head coach with Denver (1981-92), the New York Giants (1993-96) and the Falcons (1997-2003), Reeves compiled a 201-174-2 record, including playoff games. He ranks sixth all-time in coaching victories. Reeves led his teams to four Super Bowl appearances. As a player, assistant coach and head coach, he participated in nine Super Bowl games.
Most recently, Reeves has co-hosted a national radio show.
While he has left open the possibility of returning to the sideline, Reeves' role with the Texans will be as an observer. In that role, he is expected to consult with Capers and Casserly, and report to McNair.
He wouldn't rule out the possibility of returning to coaching
("Never is a bad word to say") but said he wasn't actively
looking for a job.
The addition of Reeves, even in just a consulting role, will almost certainly further fuel the rumors that the Texans will undergo changes, with Capers likely being dismissed, at the end of the season. Capers is the only coach the expansion Texans have had during their four-year existence, and the club has a 17-44 record under his stewardship.
Reeves said he was "flattered" when contacted by McNair last
week and that it was the first time anyone besides journalists had
asked for his opinion on an NFL team since he left coaching.
"I want to be an asset," Reeves said while flanked by McNair
and Capers at a news conference. "I don't want to be a threat to
"I want to be able to give some insights and thought into what
I feel like good organizations have done," he said.
Until this year, Houston (1-12) had been a model of steady
improvement, winning seven games last season after winning five in
2003 and four in its first season.
But the Texans have lost six straight games for the second time
this year, including three in a row that slipped out of their hands
in the final minute.
Reiterating earlier statements, McNair said he would not make
any top level personnel changes until after the season.
"None of us are happy with the performance of our team this
year," McNair said. "We're all disappointed. It's been very
frustrating and we all want to do everything we can to improve our
team. That's what this effort is all about."
Capers said he has the "utmost respect" for Reeves, calling
him a "very bright guy," and doesn't think his presence will be a
"If Bob had talked to me about coming here and being the head
coach, I wouldn't be standing here sitting next to Dom saying 'I am
going to try to help Dom,'" Reeves said. "If somebody called me and I
thought it was a great opportunity then I'm a football coach
McNair said Reeves would likely be with the team for ``a couple
of months,'' but that he could remain with the Texans longer.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here. Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.