Count veteran NFL coach Lovie Smith as the Texans’ latest one-and-done coach.
Smith was informed shortly after Sunday’s regular-season finale win over the Colts that he was being fired after just one season on the job. He was 3-13-1 in his lone season as head coach.
Smith is the second straight head coach to be fired by the Texans after just one season, with David Culley being shown the door after a 4-13 season in 2021.
Both coaches are African American men.
“Nick Caserio (general manager) and I spoke with Lovie Smith tonight and informed him that we will be moving in a different direction as an organization,” Texans Chairman and CEO Cal McNair said in a released statement late Sunday night. “I appreciate Coach Smith and his entire family for their contributions over the last two seasons. We are grateful for his leadership and character, and we wish him the best moving forward.
“While we understand the results have not been what we had hoped for, we are committed to building a program that produces long-term, sustainable success. Our fans and city deserve a team that they can be proud of. I will work alongside Nick Caserio throughout this process and I’m confident we will find the right leader for our football team.”
There had been heavy speculation going into Sunday’s game in Indianapolis that either Smith or Caserio or both would be fired after the game. But it appears that Caserio’s job is safe and that he will get to preside over the hiring of a third coach in his third year on the job.
In recent memory, no general manager has been given the privilege to hire three straight coaches after his first two hires only last a season. It’s especially curious because the primary reason Culley and Smith were unsuccessful had to do with the lack of overall talent Caserio stacked the team with, especially at quarterback where second-year quarterback Davis Mills consistently underperformed.
“I’m constantly evaluating our football operation and believe this is the best decision for us at this time,” Caserio said in his released statement about Smith’s firing. “It is my responsibility to build a comprehensive and competitive program that can sustain success over a long period of time.
“We aren’t there right now, however, with the support of the McNair family and the resources available to us, I’m confident in the direction of our football program moving forward.”
The Texans will have high two first-round draft picks in the upcoming NFL Draft, in part because of the trade with the Cleveland Browns for Deshaun Watson. The Texans seemed headed for the No.1 overall pick and a chance to draft the top quarterback with their own selection until the Texans managed a late come-from-behind 32-31 win over the Colts in the regular-season finale. The No.1 overall pick now belongs to Smith’s former team, the Chicago Bears.
It’s not clear who the Texans will target next but look for the team to request permission from the New Orleans Saints to interview former head coach Sean Payton. Former Texans linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who is now the San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator and one of the hot upcoming head coaching candidates, should also figure into the mix.