The Houston Texans fired head coach Lovie Smith following a week 18 victory that knocked the team from the No. 1 spot in the 2023 NFL Draft. Smith is the second-straight Texans head coach to be relieved of his duties after only one season at the helm (third-straight if 2020 interim HC Romeo Crennel counts).
With that track record, why would any self-respecting potential head coach subject themselves to such incompetence? Last offseason, the franchise hoped to turn over a new page by trading away disgruntled quarterback Deshaun Watson for a haul of draft picks. Unfortunately, you can turn pages all you want, but it won’t matter if the book is falling apart at the seams.
The Texans first joined the NFL in 2002, and since that inaugural season, the team has employed seven different head coaches. Dom Capers (2002-2005) laid the foundation for Gary Kubiak (2006-2013) to become the longest-tenured head coach in franchise history. Kubiak won two division titles for Houston, only to be replaced by Bill O’Brien in 2014.
O’Brien (2014-2020) found the most success of any coach yet, leading the team to the playoffs multiple times and only posting one losing record before his firing in 2020. Romeo Crennel (2020) coached the remainder of the season, with David Culley (2021) taking over the following year and posting a 4-13 record in his lone season as head coach.
Lovie Smith (2022) did not propel the group into the win column often, but by all accounts, Smith was very much a player’s coach. Still, general manager Nick Caserio fired Smith less than a year after shaking his hand and giving him the job. Less than two years after he did the exact same to David Culley.
At what point does Caserio start answering for his mistakes? Or even further, when does accountability at the ownership level come into play? The roster has some talented, young players on it, and on paper, it is a great job to get your feet wet as a head coach.
But how can anyone trust that regime and the higher-ups at this point? What if a coach upends his entire life to take this position with the Texans, but in 12 months, Houston decides to move on with someone else?
I know that the coaches are compensated when contracts get cut short, and being replaced comes with the territory, but there is zero job security right now with the Houston Texans. Lovie Smith went from a four-year deal to a “time to find a new job”. The frustrating part of it all is that Smith (and Culley for that matter) never had a real chance to win with the roster that the front office assembled.
Until the organization makes the changes up top, the product on the field will continue to suffer. And in turn, the fans will too. Here’s to hoping the next guy is finally the “right” guy for CEO Cal McNair and GM Nick Caserio. The fans, players, and coaches deserve better.