HOUSTON – The Texans aren’t retaining offensive line coach George Warhop, moving on from the veteran assistant coach Saturday, according to league sources.
The Texans, under new head coach DeMeco Ryans, are also not retaining offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, tight ends coach Tim Berbenich, assistant defensive line coach Kenyon Jackson, offensive assistant-quarterbacks Ted White, linebackers coach Miles Smith, defensive assistant-nickels coach Ilir Emini and several other assistants from former coach Lovie Smith’s staff, per sources.
The Texans are retaining special teams coordinator Frank Ross and head strength and conditioning coach Mike Eubanks and hiring former Arizona Cardinals defensive line coach and Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Matt Burke as defensive coordinator, former San Francisco 49ers chief of staff Nick Kray for the same job in Houston and 49ers defensive quality control coach Stephen Adegoke as safeties coach, according to sources
Warhop, 61, coached the Texans’ offensive line this past season as they allowed 38 sacks, left tackle Laremy Tunsil was a first-team Pro Bowl selection and rookie running back Dameon Pierce was a Pro Bowl alternate.
A leading candidate to replace Warhop, who was previously the offensive line coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals and Rams is Indianapolis Colts offensive line coach Chris Strausser with multiple league sources predicting he will ultimately be hired.
Strausser, 59, was promoted from assistant offensive line coach in 2020 and was previously an offensive line coach for the Denver Broncos and coached collegiately at Boise State, Colorado and Washington.
The Colts offensive line, despite the presence of All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson, regressed last season as they allowed 60 sacks, third-most in the NFL and tied a league-high with 14 sacks allowed in the fourth quarter. Instability across the offensive line hampered them as they didn’t settle on a consistent starting five until November. There was a significant improvement toward the final stretch of the season, especially in pass blocking, after an extremely rough start to the season.
During the first three seasons under Strausser, the Colts allowed the fourth-fewest sacks in the NFL. In 2021 when star running back Jonathan Taylor was healthy, he rushed for 1,811 yards and Nelson and center Ryan Kelly were both named to the Pro Bowl.
Another leading candidate to join the Texans staff is veteran defensive line coach Chris Kiffin with strong mutual interest between him and the AFC South franchise, according to sources. Kiffin, a former 49ers pass rush specialist who overlapped with Ryans in San Francisco on coach Kyle Shanahan’s staff, is the defensive line coach for the Cleveland Browns.
The younger brother of Mississippi coach Lane Kiffin and the son of legendary former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, Chris Kiffin, 41, has coached at Florida Atlantic, Mississippi, Arkansas State, USC, Nebraska and Idaho. He played defensive line at Colorado State.
Aaron Wilson is a contributor to KPRC 2 and click2houston.com