Carl Smith

Texans Add T.J. Yates, Akeem Dent To Staff

Nearly five years ago, the Texans traded T.J. Yates in order to acquire Akeem Dent. In 2015, they became teammates after Yates re-signed in Houston. The duo will now begin their coaching careers on the same sideline.

The Texans announced Yates and Dent will be part of their staff, joining former standout Houston linebacker Brian Cushing in transitioning to coaching with the franchise. Both Yates and Dent will start at the bottom, the former quarterback joining the team as an offensive assistant and ex-linebacker signing on as a defensive assistant.

Yates was starting for the Texans as recently as the 2017 season, which saw Deshaun Watson go down with a rookie-year-ending injury, and was part of the brigade of passers to audition for the Redskins following injuries to Alex Smith and Colt McCoy. The most recent workout occurred in December, but it sounds like Yates, 31, is going to attempt to move into the coaching ranks.

The North Carolina alum played seven NFL seasons, the most notable action coming in a seven-start rookie campaign that featured Yates — subbing for an injured Matt Schaub — quarterback the Texans to their first playoff win. Yates also played for the Falcons and Dolphins, coming back to Houston after short stays with each team.

Dent, also 31, last played during the 2016 as a Texan, finishing off a three-season Houston tenure. The former third-round pick spent most of his career as a backup linebacker but started for the 2012 Falcons, who claimed the NFC’s top seed that year.

The Texans also hired Carl Smith to replace Sean Ryan as quarterbacks coach. Ryan departed for Detroit to be the Lions’ QBs instructor, and the Texans soon promoted tight ends coach Tim Kelly to OC. Smith spent the past eight seasons with the Seahawks, the first seven as Seattle’s QBs coach and 2018 as an associate head coach. His primary role, obviously, was overseeing Russell Wilson‘s development into one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks.

Set to take over in guiding Watson, Smith has been an NFL quarterbacks coach since serving as offensive coordinator for the Saints from 1986-96. Smith, 70, served as either a QBs coach or OC with four franchises, also working with the Jaguars and Browns. Smith’s lone season away from the NFL in the past 33 years came as USC’s QBs coach during the Trojans’ most recent national championship year (2004).

The Texans also hired John Aylward as an offensive assistant.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Notes: Cardinals, Lions, Packers

New Cardinals hire Steve Wilks will be bringing in some of new faces to the coaching staff. One of the biggest changes will be at defensive coordinator as he appears to be poised to bring his former Panthers colleague Al Holcomb to lead the defense. This means that former defensive coordinator James Bettcher will be on the way out, according to Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com (Twitter link).

Jurecki does make sure to note that Bettcher will “land on his feet” with another organization that he’s actively looking for other opportunities around the league. These next few weeks will be a quick change for Bettcher, who was in the final group to be considered for the Cardinals vacant head coaching job.

Here’s more coaching stories to follow:

  • While Wilks will be making multiple changes to the Cardinals coaching staff, that doesn’t mean that there’s going to be a complete overhaul. The new first-time head coach is likely to keep some members from Bruce Arians‘ staff on board for next season, per Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com (Twitter link). While many new coaches like to make their imprint on the organization through bringing in new coaches onto the team, there’s also something to be said for trying to keep some of the same voices that players have been hearing from throughout the past few years.
  • The Lions will be letting go of their quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan, sources tell Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated (Twitter link). As I noted before, it’s not unusual for new head coaches to turnover their staff, but Breer adds that this move is a little surprising because Callahan is well-regarded around the league and will have a number of teams looking to bring him in for 2018. It’s been rumored that he could be a potential candidate for the Titans vacant offensive coordinator gig.
  • Meanwhile, the Seahawks have made a decision on who their next quarterbacks coach will be. The team has officially promoted Dave Canales from wide receivers coach to working with Seattle’s signal callers next year, a source tells Alex Marvez of the Sporting News (Twitter link). Canales has been on Pete Carroll‘s staff since 2010 and was previously promoted to the WR coach position back in 2015. Although, this move doesn’t necessarily signal that the Seahawks will move on from former QB coach Carl Smith. Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times hears that Smith could be shifted to a different role (Twitter link).
  • The Packers have added a new coach from the college ranks. Mike McCarthy has hired Ryan Downward from Bowling Green to help work on the team’s defensive staff. Downward worked as Bowling Green’s safeties coach for the past two seasons and previously worked for new Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine back when he coached in Cleveland.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.