Houston Texans Fire Head Coach Lovie Smith

"Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans" by AJ Guel Photography is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The Houston Texans have just wrapped up a tumultuous season, and they will be moving forward with new on-field leadership next season.

The franchise decided to part ways with head coach Lovie Smith, who went 3-13-1 in his only season at the helm in Houston.

It was expected to be a rebuilding year in Houston, as they try to retool their roster and find a franchise quarterback after the trade of Pro Bowler Deshaun Watson.

Lovie Smith Coaching Profile

After hiring and firing David Culley for one season last year, the Texans were hoping to find a little bit more stability at a position that can help bolster a franchise. It seemed like they wanted a candidate who had prior NFL head coaching experience, and would not need time to learn the ropes on the fly.

Lovie Smith fit that criteria, as he had been a head coach twice before getting the head job in Houston. He had a largely successful nine-year stint leading the Chicago Bears, as he led the team to over .500 finishes in five of those seasons. His highlight moment came in 2006, when Chicago made it to the Super Bowl, but lost to the Indianapolis Colts.

After his time with the Bears, Smith resurfaced as the head man with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014 and 2015. That opportunity did not go as well, as he finished that period with an 8-24 record.

Texans’ 2022 Turmoil

Smith’s specialty in NFL coaching comes on the defensive side of the ball. Before he got a chance to become an NFL head coach, he was the defensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams, and worked as a defensive assistant under Tony Dungy in Tampa Bay during the late 1990’s. When a team hires a head coach, they expect to see production from the part of the team that individual has expertise in.

Unfortunately for Houston, their defense was not a strong part of their team this year, which likely is what led the team to feel like Smith was expendable. The Texans allowed the most rushing yards in the NFL, gave up the second most rushing touchdowns, and missed the first most tackles in the league. Those figures will lead a team to struggle more often than not.

Smith’s Future

It’s going to be interesting to see if Smith gets another chance to coach at the NFL level, or whether he’d want to do something else.

From 2016-2020, Smith was the head coach at the University of Illinois. His tenure with the Fighting Illini didn’t go all that well, as he finished 17-39 in those five seasons. With that said, it’s possible that his experience in college football might allow him to improve the second time around.

If Smith does want to stick around in the NFL, it seems like his best bet to do that would be as a defensive coordinator. There are usually no shortage of openings in that capacity, and a team could do worse than to hire someone who has been in the league a long time.