The Houston Texans fired coach Lovie Smith Sunday night, hours after the team finished 3-13-1 in its debut season.
“We are grateful for [Smith’s] Leadership and character, and we wish him well in the future,” Chairman and CEO Cal McNair said in a statement. long-term, sustainable success. Our fans and our city deserve a team to be proud of.”
The Texans have fired two consecutive coaches after just a year after ousting David Culley last January. Smith served as defense coordinator and assistant head coach on Culley’s staff in 2021 and was named head coach on February 7.
“I’m constantly evaluating our football operations and I believe this is the best decision for us right now,” general manager Nick Caserio said in a statement. “It is my responsibility to build a comprehensive and competitive program that can be successful over a long period of time. However, we are not there at the moment but with the support of the McNair family and the resources at our disposal I am confident in the direction of our future football programme.”
McNair said he will work with Caserio to “find the right leader for our football team.”
The Texans ended their season with a win, defeating the Indianapolis Colts 32-31 the previous Sunday and had played competitively in four of their last five games. The victory, combined with the Chicago Bears’ loss to the Minnesota Vikings, earned them the No. 2 overall pick and the Bears earned the first pick of the 2023 NFL draft.
“We understand what’s going on all season,” Smith said after the win over the Colts. “Do I expect to come back? Yes, I expect to come back.”
The Texans are now beginning a search for their fourth head coach in four seasons. Former coach and GM Bill O’Brien was sacked after a 4-0 start to start the 2020 season after playing six full seasons. Then in 2021 the Texans hired Caserio as their new GM, who hired Culley. Culley went 4-13 in 2021 and was fired after one season.
The last team to have four different head coaches in consecutive seasons was the San Francisco 49ers, who ousted Jim Harbaugh in 2014, then hired Jim Tomsula in 2015, Chip Kelly in 2016, and Kyle Shanahan in 2017.
Culley and Smith were the only black coaches in franchise history, and now they are Todd Bowles (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers), Mike McDaniel (Miami Dolphins), Robert Saleh (New York Jets), and Ron Rivera ( Washington Commanders). ) remain the color’s sole head coaches.
The Texans’ season began with a 20-20 tie against the Colts in overtime after squandering a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter, where Smith played for the tie in overtime to avoid a loss.
The Texans were competitive in games in the first half of the season, but fourth-quarter struggles continued to be an issue. The Texans went without a point in four of the first six games of the fourth quarter.
And even though Smith came over from the defensive side of the ball, the Texans ranked last in rush yards allowed after finishing second-bottom in 2021. They were also 30th in yards allowed and giving up 24.7 points per game, 27th in the NFL. On offense, they finished penultimate in points per game (16).
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