The Texans got a head start on ‘Black Monday’ by firing head coach Lovie Smith last night. The move was expected given the circumstances of his hiring last year and the team’s poor performance, but further details have emerged painting a discouraging picture of the organization’s operations during his tenure.
Not long before Smith was dismissed, it was reported that part of the reason he was on thin ice was his aversion to change and suggestions from others regarding his approach. That included a range from conversations with players, to a stubbornness on the subject of things like analytics and the role of modern approaches to on- and off-field operations.
One Texans player said, via Aaron Wilson of KPRC2, “Lovie would meet with players, but he would never use any of our suggestions and ideas… We wanted to be heard, and he ignored what we had to say. It was very frustrating. Talking with him became a waste of our time.”
With Smith following David Culley as a one-and-done on the sidelines, attention has now turned to the Texans’ list of replacement candidates. To little surprise, Wilson reports that Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon sits atop the list of Houston’s targets. He adds that there is a “mutual interest” between the 39-year-old and the Texans to make him the franchise’s next head coach.
Gannon was one of three finalists during Houston’s HC search last offseason, alongside former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores and longtime NFL quarterback Josh McCown. Flores’ racial discrimination lawsuit against the NFL and several teams was filed not long before Houston’s ultimate decision to pivot very late in the process to Smith. Circling back to Gannon would come as little surprise considering the interest shown in him previously, and his success this season.
Philadelphia has been stellar on defense this season, ranking seventh in the league in points (20.2) and second in yards (301) allowed per game. They also comfortably led the NFL in sacks with 70 in the regular season, and boasted the best pass defense in the league. That represents a step forward for Gannon’s unit, something which will likely only make him an even more sought-after coach in this year’s cycle. Gannon met with the Broncos and Vikings in addition to the Texans last year.
Wilson also lists Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and Broncos DC Ejiro Evero as other names to watch as Houston prepares their latest search. The former has drawn plenty of attention with his role in helping Jared Goff and Detroit’s offense help the team to a 9-8 record and nearly clinch an unlikely postseason berth. Evero, meanwhile, has been commended for his performance with Denver’s defense, a unit which (to a degree) masked the team’s offensive woes. Evero will interview for the full-time HC gig with the Broncos.
On the other hand, one candidate who appears unlikely to be hired is 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans. The former Texans linebacker “is not expected to pursue the job,” per Wilson, in spite of Houston’s interest in him. Ryans is likely to draw significant interest from at least some of the other four teams (the Panthers, Colts, Broncos and Cardinals) in need of a new bench boss given his success in his current role. The Texans will still have plenty of options to consider even if he steers clear of the organization.
14 comments on “Latest On Texans’ Lovie Smith Firing, HC Candidates”
If Demeco Ryans isn’t available or doesn’t want it
In that order.
Johnson has helped transform Goff into a franchise QB again. Waldron has made Geno Smith look like a franchise QB. Streichen has worked with Herbert and Hurts. Kafka got a lot out of Daniel Jones this year with little help at receiver.
If youre going to hire a young coach it should be one that’s going to help your new franchise qb develop whether that’s Young Stroud or Levis. I’d go with Stroud at 2 but that’s me. He played really well against a very good Georgia defense that has a lot of 1st round talent.
I’d also draft a new #1 receiver for your new QB and invest in a center. Ethan Pocic graded out really well for Cleveland near 80 and he’s 28 before start of 2023 so that’d be a good investment say 4 or 5 years.
How about Wes Phillips for HC?
Son of a famous coach with a short track record as an offensive coordinator working under an offensive minded head coach with a well established QB? Can’t think of a time that’d worked out badly in recent years!
“Lovie would meet with players, but he would never use any of our suggestions and ideas…”
The modern athlete in a nutshell. When
I played sports we would have been running laps for even suggesting an idea to the head coach and that was only about 15 years ago.
Did your head coach run outdated schemes?
We didn’t always like or agree with our coaches…but we did respect their position.
Why is having ideas and suggestions disrespectful? Good leaders are open to ideas that aren’t their own and make an effort to let their employees have a voice.
Anonymously discussing private team meetings with a reporter is about as disrespectful as it gets.
Seems like maybe he didn’t respect his players enough for a coach who had most recently failed at the college level and was then running the worst team in football.
That position being what? Stubborn?
You’re basing Lovie being stubborn on the comments from unnamed sources within the Texans organization. The same organization that has fired a head coach after only one season in consecutive years. The same organization that thought it was wise to let Bill O’Brien have full control of all football personnel decisions. I won’t give that organization the benefit of the doubt.
Do you think that if Lovie had not been “stubborn” he would have won with that roster?
I am by no means suggesting Houston was justified in firing Lovie. Whether or not these rumors are legitimate remains to be seen. My comment was referring to the idea that players should not be permitted to have discussions with coaches regarding scheme and strategy. A good head coach works with their players to develop the ideal game plan. One who refuses to lend an ear or adapt based on player suggestions is stubborn IMO
I bet you if Lovie had the 49ers roster, his schemes would be pretty good. Worst starting QB, worst run defense, etc.
They fot 1 player to speak off the record. They knew they were firing him in September.
Dude blew the No.1 overall pick. Basically did a solid for his former team if you believe in conspiracies. But if Young is Peyton and CJ is Leaf…. feel bad for the Texan fans you deal with Watsons BS and then endure losing only to blow your chance at the top pick. Bears will get a haul for the pick.