Houston Texans: Pros and Cons of keeping Head Coach Lovie Smith
By Skyler Smith
The Houston Texans and Head Coach Lovie Smith are in the middle of another terrible season in which they find themselves sitting at 2-13-1 and will either have the #1 pick in the draft this April, or #2 if the Texans beat the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday and the Chicago Bears lose to the Minnesota Vikings. Either way, they are going to have an extremely high pick and will most likely select a quarterback with that pick.
Lovie Smith was hired as the Houston Texans Head Coach late in the hiring cycle last season, and after 1 season finds himself on the hot seat after taking a 4-13 Texans team last season to 2-13-1 this season. There was a report that came out on Saturday from NFL Insider Tom Peliserro saying that Texans owner Cal McNair had not made a decision yet on the future of Lovie Smith and the Texans, and that Smith was pleading his case for why he should stay another season. Its safe to say Lovie Smith is far from safe.
Lets dive into reasons why and why not the Texans should keep Lovie Smith around:
Reasons to keep Lovie Smith as the Texans Head Coach
- Stability: Lovie Smith provides the Houston Texans with a stable face to lead their franchise and with him you won’t have to worry about any off the field issues. You can’t argue that he is a strong leader of men and has kept this team (for the most part) competitive despite being out of the playoff race for weeks now. Also, do the Texans really want to be known as the team that fires every head coach after 1 season if they don’t have any success immediately? I don’t think so.
- Expertise: Lovie Smith has seen a thing or two during his time coaching in the NFL and football in general. He has been coaching at the college level since 1983 and the NFL since 1996 (except for a brief stint as the HC of Illinois from 2016-2020). He knows the In’s and out’s of coaching and can pass down his knowledge to other players and coaches. The issue with this is that expertise doesn’t always translate into wins.
- Familiarity: Lovie Smith has been with the Texans for 2 seasons now, so the players and other coaches are used to him being around for a while now. Some players might look up to him as a role model, especially the younger players and rookies. Do you really want to mess up the potential culture that could be forming between the locker room and coaching staff?
Reasons to fire Lovie Smith when the Season is over
- Lack of Growth: Last year under David Culley, the Texans finished the season 4-13. This season under Lovie Smith, the best the Texans could finish is 3-13-1 (if they win against the Colts on Sunday). It goes without saying that if you hire a new head coach you would hope that the new coach would have a better record than your old one. Lovie theoretically hasn’t improved this team record wise at all, and that is a pretty discouraging fact.
- Outdated Defensive Scheme: Lovie Smith is famously (or this year, infamously) known for his defensive scheme, the Tampa 2 defense. If you don’t know, a Tampa 2 defense is a 4-3 defense that is heavily reliant on running zone coverage with 2 deep safeties and a MLB who drops into coverage very often. The issue with that is with the way offenses are run nowadays, this scheme is pretty outdated and can be picked apart and exposed pretty easily. It has happened to the Texans all season long. They need a new defensive scheme ASAP, and that most likely starts with a new HC and DC.
- Intriguing Options Elsewhere: If you look around the NFL, there are plenty of well qualified candidates that are going to be very sought after by other NFL teams with head coaching openings. Does Houston want to hire someone who could develop a potential rookie QB? Eric Bieniemy from Kansas City could be an option. Maybe they want a defensive guy that brings a bit more energy? DeMeco Ryans from San Francisco would be an excellent choice. Want to take a chance on a former player, such as the division rival Tennessee Titans did? Jerod Mayo from New England is an interesting option. The ceiling may be higher if the Texans bring in someone else as the Head Coach, which isn’t good news for Lovie Smith.
This could all be a mute point, Cal McNair and the Texans brass may decide to keep Lovie Smith around for another season and give him another year to right the ship with a Rookie QB and some more young talent via the draft and hopefully some outside free agent signings. There is a chance the team would improve if they had a competent option at QB and added some more talent around him to make his transition to the NFL as easy as possible. It is equally possible that the McNair family has seen enough of Lovie Smith after just one season, and want to move on and try their luck elsewhere with a brand new Head Coach. Nobody truly will know until the news breaks regarding the decision on Lovie Smith.
And at this point, the Texans are the definition of unpredictable.