Texans Could Fire HC Lovie Smith, GM Nick Caserio

9:13pm: When speaking to reporters after the team’s win over the Colts (which, given its effect on the upcoming draft, has not been perceived as such), Smith downplayed the swirling speculation that he is on the way out.

“First off, there are reports,” he said, via Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. “I don’t know what the reports are… Do I expect to be back? Yeah, I expect to be back. Absolutely.” He added that his most recent meeting with McNair was simply the latest in regular post-game sit-downs between the two. Depending on what takes place tomorrow, his remarks could prove to be well-founded or wind up being a moot point.

2:44pm: One of the teams generating the most attention around the NFL with respect to potential changes on the sidelines and in the front office is the Texans. Houston has been marked by instability and underwhelming win-loss records in recent years, and their rebuild could soon be headed in a very different direction.

Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reports that one of head coach Lovie Smith, general manager Nick Caserio or both “will be gone” at the conclusion of the regular season, putting them in danger of being fired tomorrow (video link). Given recent reporting on each of them, that would come as little surprise, in spite of the continued turbulence the organization would be undergoing in the event of a third straight coaching change.

KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson corroborates the sense that Smith, 64, will not return in 2023. As his sources explain, the team’s on-field performance – including a 2-13-1 record heading into today’s season finale against the Colts, and struggles in almost every category on both sides of the ball – is only one reason for a likely change. Others include the way he is perceived in the organization with respect to his approach and his stubbornness to alter it.

Smith (whose job status was one the Texans were already reported to be planning to evaluate following the season) has taken steps in recent days to try and avoid receiving a pink slip. The former Coach of the Year has been meeting with owner Cal McNair to “state his case” for being retained for at least one more year, per Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Smith would join David Culley as a one-and-done bench boss in Houston in consecutive seasons should his efforts prove futile.

Notably, Wilson reports that Caserio should actually be considered to be on relatively solid footing, adding that sources would be “extremely surprised” if he is let go. The longtime Patriots exec was, like Smith, reported to be on thin ice in the wake of the Texans’ struggles this year, one in which expectations were tempered. The 2022 season was always likely to include a long list of losses, but a lack of development by quarterback Davis Mills in particular has made the season a disappointing one.

The Texans are slated to pick no worse than second overall in the upcoming draft, however, which will give the franchise an opportunity to add a long-term answer at the position. That – coupled with a notable stock of other picks, cap space and a small group of young, encouraging players – could make the GM job an enticing one, should Caserio be dismissed. As for a potential Smith replacement, both Glazer and the NFLN pair name 49ers defensive coordinator (and former Texans linebacker) DeMeco Ryans as a name to watch when the coaching cycle begins to heat up.

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