The Houston Texans are excited to have Lovie Smith as their next head coach. He has a lot of experience and should be able to help the team improve on what they did last season, which was get back into playoff contention in such a competitive division.
The Houston Texans have their next fall guy in Lovie Smith. Smith has been with the team since 2012 and is set to make $6 million this season. With a new coach, the team will be looking for a new quarterback.
The Houston Texans are expected to employ Lovie Smith as their new head coach, according to reports. Because the 63-year-old coach is nothing more than a fall man for Houston, they’ll most likely start looking for a new head coach shortly after.
Who else except Smith will bear the brunt of the criticism if the Texans falter in 2022, which they will.
He’s being set up to fail from the start. Perhaps he is aware of it, or perhaps he is unaware of it. In any case, it appears to be self-evident.
Houston Texans defensive coordinator Lovie Smith watches the game against the Miami Dolphins in the fourth quarter | Michael Reaves/Getty Images
According to NFL.com, the Texans are close to finalizing a contract with Smith and will shortly name him as their new head coach. He’ll be only the seventh head coach in franchise history once it’s announced.
At first look, it may seem amazing, but keep in mind that Houston is an expansion team. The Texans initially entered the league in 2002, under the direction of Dom Capers, who led the team to an 18-26 record in four seasons as the franchise’s first head coach. The only other head coaches in team history are Gary Kubiak, Wade Phillips (interim), Bill O’Brien, Romeo Crennel (interim), and David Culley.
Before the start of the 2021 season, Culley was hired by the Texans and guided a very inexperienced team to a 4-13 record. He won four more games than the Texans deserved, yet he was dismissed abruptly for “philosophical disagreements,” according to the final report. Keep in mind that despite having both Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt on the roster in 2020, the Texans finished with the same number of victories.
“There were other issues, in-game issues, disciplinary issues, but from what I understand, the philosophical issues were probably as much as anything,” NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported at the time.
In 2021, Smith was Culley’s assistant head coach and defensive coordinator, but that’s about it. Under Smith, the Texans had the league’s second-worst defense, allowing 384.4 yards and 26.6 points per game.
Despite this, the Texans have supposedly landed on Smith after a lengthy interview process that included Brian Flores (who is now suing the NFL for discriminatory hiring practices) and former quarterback Josh McCown (twice).
The crucial word here is settled.
Since 2006, Smith has had a poor track record.
Houston Texans defensive coordinator Lovie Smith on the field during the first half | Bob Levey/Getty Images
Many people remember Smith’s time with the Chicago Bears, when he reached the Super Bowl with the help of a great Brian Urlacher-led defense, but he’s been a bit of a no-show since the end of that run. Smith’s Bears lost Super Bowl 41 to Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts, and everything went downhill from there.
After the Super Bowl defeat, he had minimal success in Chicago and was never able to get the Bears back on track. After missing the playoffs for the sixth time in six seasons since winning the Super Bowl, he was dismissed in December 2012.
Smith ended up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for what turned out to be a disappointing stopover. In two seasons, he went 8-24 and was not offered a third. He then returned to collegiate coaching as the head coach of the Illinois Fighting Illini. He was with Champaign for five seasons but never had a winning season.
In five seasons as the Fighting Illini’s head coach, he went 17-39. During that time span, Illinois was only bowl eligible once, and they lost the bowl game.
Since his Super Bowl appearance in Chicago, he has a 77-107 record as a head coach. This includes his time with the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Illinois Fighting Illini.
Smith is being groomed to be the Texans’ next scapegoat.
The core of the Texans’ winning culture, in my opinion, is hiring Lovie Smith as your coach so he can train Josh McCown to be your coach. https://t.co/TmQNShGDcP
— Drew Magary (@drewmagary) February 7, 2022
In a league where head coaches are becoming younger and more offensive-minded, the Texans have chosen Smith, who is older and more defensive-minded. To be fair, this does not rule out the possibility of older, defensive-minded coaches succeeding. After all, Bill Belichick is approaching 70 years old. With that stated, the Texans are defying a pattern that has benefited a slew of other teams, including the two teams competing in the next Super Bowl, the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals.
If Smith succeeds, all credit should go to him, but can Houston really expect that much from him?
We went through the statistics in the last section. Since the apex of his coaching career, which was a Super Bowl defeat, he’s been clearly ordinary, if not just horrible. He was a catastrophe as a collegiate head coach at Illinois after falling apart in Chicago, stunk in Tampa, and was a fiasco in Chicago.
What evidence does Smith have that he is “the one” who can turn the Texans around? In the last decade, no proof has been uncovered that he is a capable head coach.
But what if Smith isn’t being brought in as “the man” by the Texans?
What if, similar with Culley, the Texans are just employing Smith to fill a void? On game day, someone who can keep the lights on and have everyone’s helmets buckled up.
Mike Garafolo is reporting that there’s a chance McCown could join Smith’s staff. The Texans interviewed McCown twice despite the fact that he has zero coaching experience outside of high school. They clearly liked him and seemed to be trending his way. Would you put it against Houston to let McCown get some experience under Smith only to pull the rug out from under the veteran head coach and hire the guy they “really” wanted after a season or two?
Who among us would be astonished if Smith leads the Texans to five victories in 2022 and six in 2023 before being replaced by McCown? If it shocks you, you aren’t familiar with the NFL.
The Texans have shown that they are not above such behavior. Despite the fact that Culley got something out of his roster in 2021, he was fired. He also managed to do all of this as the Watson drama loomed above.
If not to leave the job available for the next man, why would the Texans terminate Culley and appoint an obviously poorer coach?
If it seems like Smith is being set up to fail in Houston, it’s possible that this is the case.
ESPN and Pro Football Reference provided the statistics. Spotrac provides contract information.
The “lovie smith family” is a football coach who has been the head coach of the Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and now the Houston Texans. He was hired by the Texans for their next fall guy in 2018.
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