Was Smith the best hire for the Texans?

by Gary Shelton on February 8, 2022

in general

Lovie Smith?


What? Was Ray Perkins busy?

The National Football League officially ran out of coaches Monday when it was reported that the Houston Texas -- a team that exists solely to keep the Jacksonville Jaguars company in the basement of the AFC South division -- were expected to hire good old Lovie as their new head coach.

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I'd feel sorry for the Texans if I wasn't so busy feeling sorry for Smith.

Again, I like Lovie. I've liked him since he was a linebacker coach for Tony Dungy. I watched his Bears team make a Super Bowl. I thought he was going bring a little stability to the Bucs back in 2014 after the chaotic regime of Greg "Sergeant Rock" Schiano. I was wrong about that one, but heck, he meant well.

But the Texans, with the world to hire from, looked to Lovie to lead them out of the muck.


You wonder: What was it that gave the Texans reason to look at Smith and say "that's the guy to lead us the promised land." Smith was the defensive coordinator on a Texans team that was 4-13 last year. Before that, he was coach of the meek Illinois team that went 17-39 over five years.

And before that, he was with the Bucs, where he won eight games out of 32.

No, it isn't as good as Vince Lombardi's resume, is it?

If you remember, the Bucs had high hopes for Lovey, too, back in 2014. The Bucs were a mess of a franchise in those days. Schiano had just given up on Josh Freeman, and SARS had infected the clubhouse, and the vultures were circling overhead.

So, yeah, Lovie made a lot of sense. Sure, it had been a long time since his Super Bowl (2006), but he had had four double-digit winning seasons in nine with the Bears. He seemed calm enough for the chaos.

But sitting out the 2013 season didn't do Lovie a lot of good. Smith landed and immediately started signing free agents. You could argue all day whether offensive tackle Anthony Collins was a bigger bust than Michael Johnson, and just how short-sighted it was to bring in quarterback Josh McCown.

That Bucs team won two games. In Smith's second year, he won six. I still wonder if the Bucs tanked that first season to draft Jameis Winston (if they did, they got what they deserved).

Say this for Smith. He's the rare Bucs coach who finds an NFL head coaching job after leaving here. (Jon Gruden and Tony Dungy did as well).

It's bad form, of course, to will ill will on a decent guy. I just don't see the compelling reason the Texans would have to hire him. What's was the determining factor over such assistants as Eric Bieniemy, Byron Leftwich or Todd Bowles. Jim Caldwell would have made sense. Brian Flores. Rich Bisaccia.

Heck, for that matter, the Texans should have gone and begged David Culley to take his old job back.

Instead, it's Lovey's job.

And the Texans are going to party like it's 2014 all over again.

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