As the 2022 season closed, the Texans began the inevitable cleaning out of the front office, starting with the head coach, Lovie Smith. He was relieved of his duty before “Black Monday”, ending his three-year contract with the Texans two years early. Despite Lovie’s record of 3-13-1, his departure marked back-to-back years where Cal McNair severed ties with his coach after one season. Is the existing pattern hurting the Texans franchise’s image for future coaches?
Texans Frequent Firing Casting A Bad Light?
The simple truth is that ownership (looking at you, Cal) has been very impatient since Bill O’Brien’s implosion took most of the franchise with it. It all started with General Manager Rick Smith’s departure in 2017. Following was a storm of inconsistency, with one year of Brain Gaine, the promotion and subsequent firing of Bill O’Brien, followed by the controversial hiring of Nick Caserio.
O’Brien’s terrible time as a GM also cost him his job as the head coach of the Texans in 2020, which fell to interim coach Romeo Crennel. He was not re-signed and Nick Caserio hired David Culley (another controversial move) to be the coach through the tumultuous Deshaun Watson scene. Culley was let go after one year and after a futile coaching search, Lovie Smith was promoted to head coach. After another disappointing season, Smtih was also let go after just one year.
For those keeping scores, that makes four GMs and four coaches since 2017. With a total of eight front-office position turnovers in a span of five years, it becomes increasingly apparent that the Texans head coaching job comes with a significant amount of risk. It’s gotten so bad that Cal McNair has decided to take a substantial role in the process this time (for better or worse).
Cal McNair, Texans chairman/CEO: “We’re committed to getting this one right…We have a plan in place for this process..For this hire I’ll be taking on a more active role.” pic.twitter.com/RZR03WYJic — Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) January 10, 2023
Texans May Get Last Dibs On Head Coach
The Texans’ job opening is one of several on the market this off-season, with the Panthers, Colts, Broncos, and Cardinals also having availabilities that may attract the strongest candidates. While the Texans opening certainly possesses the most draft capital in the near future (11 picks in the 2023 draft, including two in the first round), the roster leaves something to be desired. Adding to the volatile history of the Texans head coach position, don’t be surprised if the vacancy is one of the last to be filled.
What are the Texans doing. What kind of operation is this where you don’t have any convictions about supporting the coaches you hire. Who is going to want to coach there if you might only get one year to implement your plans. Two years in a row is ridiculous. https://t.co/Lrn6jyVs7P — Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) January 9, 2023
The current head count on the coaching search shows the Texans have requested interviews with 49ers Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans, Lions Offensive Coordinator Ben Johnson, Broncos DC Ejiro Evero, Eagles OC Shane Steichen, Eagles DC Jonathan Gannon, and Giants OC Mike Kafka. Ryans, Johnson, and Evero have all been requested for other head coaching openings across the league, so the team has to move quickly if they want their pick of the candidates.
One notable common factor of all the candidates requested so far is that they are significantly younger than the coaches of the last several years. All new requested coaches fall under 45, while the last three coaches haven’t been younger than 60. While the track record isn’t great, there is an indication that the Texans organization is looking for a young, upcoming candidate that can grow with the young roster.
Texans Look To Hire Winning Coach For First Time In History
As the off-season ramps up and the rumors begin swirling, the most important aspect for the Texans is to find a real winner to coach the team. Since their start in 2002, only one of their five true coaches has a winning record. Bill O’Brien holds the record at 52-48, with a win percentage of .520, with Gary Kubiak as the runner-up going 61-64. Fans and ownership will have to finally take a “wait-and-see” approach, as another one-and-done coach would spell doom for the franchise.