Houston Texans: What the Lovie Smith hire means for Davis Mills

Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

What does the new head coach hire by the Houston Texans mean for Davis Mills?

The Houston Texans find themselves on their third head coach in just three years. This time, former Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith is the man tasked with solving Houston’s problems.

Step one on that list for Smith should be figuring out how to maximize quarterback Davis Mills’ potential. Mills showed real flashes in his rookie season after entering the season as a third round pick. He ended the year with the sixth-most 300-yard passing games by a rookie quarterback in a season, finishing ahead of fellow draftees Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, who both were first round picks.

The most yards Mills threw for in a game in ’21 came in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks where he threw for 331 yards with one touchdown pass and no interceptions.

But could the Smith hire as the new Texans head coach actually hinder a budding career for Mills? Unfortunately for Texans fans, the answer likely leans towards yes.

This is just the reality when you look at Smith’s coaching history. Smith has been a defensive minded coach through and through. Now that doesn’t automatically mean it can’t work with a young quarterback.

Examples like Sean McDermott with Josh Allen have shown it can work. However, with Smith his track record doesn’t exactly radiate hope for the Houston Texans.

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The problems start with his offenses as a whole. In his 11-year head coaching history Smith has had a Top 12 offense just once. In that same time, Smith’s teams have finished in the bottom half of points per game eight times.

Moving onto the quarterback position, things don’t begin looking up either. Only twice has a quarterback finished in the Top 12 of passing yards under Smith as the head coach. The first being in ’06 when Rex Grossman finished 12th in passing as the quarterback of the Bears. The other time came in ’15 when Jameis Winston finished 11th with the Buccaneers.

It looks like Mills will certainly have his work cut out for him in ’22. The good thing for Mills is Smith has focused on the offensive side of the ball when it comes to one specific area, the NFL Draft.

During his tenure with Chicago, Smith essentially used a first-round pick on an offensive player six of his nine years because the Bears in ’09 and ’10 used first round selections in a trade for Jay Cutler so that counts in the overall total. This trend continued in Tampa Bay (’14 and ’15) for Smith as he used both of his first-round picks on offensive players.

So while Smith’s offensive statistics may not bring a smile to Mills’ face, at least there’s a good chance the new head coach in Houston brings in someone such as offensive tackle prospect Evan Neal to help bolster the Texans porous offensive line.

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Other than that however, Mills could be destined for a sophomore slump thanks to Smith.