Is Rick Smith’s job on the line?
Oct 9, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith watches warm-ups before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Is Rick Smith’s job on the line? After a dismal 2013 season, the Texans cleaned house with the exception of Rick Smith. Despite having the 2014 draft and number one over all draft pick to address the team is on the verge of starting it’s fourth quarterback. While you cannot hold someone accountable for freak accidents and broken bones and knees the performance of the offense has been abysmal. The questionable choices to sign 10 year veteran journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick and call him starter and going with a fourth round after thought pick up of Tom Savage left Texans fans scratching their heads. The Texans needed a quarterback to anchor the system and build on. Savage’s first chance to prove himself saw a player who was unprepared to play and overwhelmed.
Obviously the coaching staff has a lot to do with the preparation of a quarterback, but the GM is supposed to see the big picture and guide the team. What we have seen this year is an unreal expectation of a return to the playoffs and poor personnel decisions in the draft. How many draft picks have had an impact on this team? Alfred Blue was a good choice, Xavier Suh’a-Filo shows promise. After that… who stands out?
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What questions have the Texans answered? The only solid answer was keeping J.J. Watt a Texan. The best move of Rick Smiths career and really in the end the only move he could make. Signing Watt was more on Watt wanting to stay then Smith’s brilliance in packaging a deal. 2015 looks to be another rebuilding year, to be branded as anything but what it is. Andre Johnson was seriously unimpressed before 2014 started, I don’t expect this season to have improved the situation.
Successful franchises in the NFL have a vision, a plan to guide them based not on this season but the next three. The Texans have a patchwork “hope it works because” plan that is focused on the playoffs this year. There is another Texas team that has been doing that for almost two decades with little to show for it over that span. Bill O’Brien was part of the Patriots, learned at the knee of the best long term planner in the game. This season showed a serious lack of foresight.
Rick Smith is a good guy I’m sure, a savvy political player in the business of football and knows how to put on one heck of a presentation. That’s why’ he’s the Texans GM, a good GM is a good salesman. A great GM is able to lay out a path for success that builds towards a solid foundation. 2014 was sold as a comeback year, the results as of week 15 are better then 2-14, that’s not saying much. Even if the miracle off a wild card berth lands in Houston, that will come more from other teams failures then their success.
2015 will start like 2014, needing a quarterback to build the offense around. The Texans draft spot will be middle of the back or lower, Ryan Mallett flashed some maybe potential but is still a giant question mark. Tom Savage can throw the deep ball well but is he really franchise quarterback material? Rick Smith is ultimately responsible for where the team is and where it is heading. Maybe it’s time to invigorate the front office with new blood.
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