David Culley could soon have something in common with Lovie Smith. Culley, of course, was the Houston Texans’ head coach for one season, and his hiring was always viewed as an attempt to stay stuck in the organization’s seemingly never-ending rebuild.
Ditto for coach Smith, who had been promoted from defensive coordinator despite leading a defense that allowed the sixth-most points in football prior under his guidance a season ago.
Now, mired in another season competing for the top draft pick, the Texans appear poised to once again start over at the head coach position. As Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com report, sources close to the organization “believe” Smith will be a one-and-done head coach in Houston.
But Smith is doing his best to sell the Texans on why he deserves a second season at the helm and is meeting with team owner Cal McNair. For a team that ranks 31st in scoring and 26th in points allowed while losing two fewer games than a season ago, Smith’s case likely isn’t a strong one.
While sharing his plans to help the franchise avoid another embarrassing effort next season is a typical exercise around the NFL, the Texans are still expected to re-evaluate Smith’s future with the team once Week 18 concludes. With the Texans just another loss away from securing the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, everything has to be re-considered this offseason.
Houston Texans have hope for a brighter future in 2023, with or without Lovie Smith
While the Texans may have no clue who their head coach will be or who their starting quarterback could be, there are several reasons for hope. Sure the team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2019, but consider 2022 rock bottom.
Poised to have the top pick in April’s draft, the Texans will have their pick of the best prospect in the incoming draft class, including Alabama’s QB Bryce Young. Rookie quarterbacks rarely enjoy wild success in the win column in their first season, but the Texans would finally have another face of the franchise and a piece that plenty of coaches and players will want to be around.
Not to mention, the Texans also have Cleveland’s first-round selection, stemming from the Deshaun Watson trade, and that pick is currently projected to be 12th overall. With three incoming picks in the top 33 selections, the Texans will see an influx of young talent added to the roster, adding to players such as Dameon Pierce and John Metchie on offense and Derek Stingley Jr and Jalen Pitre.
Despite an uncertain future, there are finally some signs of optimism brewing in Houston, and maybe that leads to a better coaching candidate being intrigued by the expected head coaching vacancy.