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The Houston Texans are dealing with COVID-19 as they prepare to take on the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday at 12:00 p.m. Central Time at NRG Stadium.
As the COVID reserve grows for Houston, the question is only natural: who would take over for David Culley if he tested positive?
“If I were test positive, it would be business as usual,” Culley told reporters on Dec. 22. “[Defensive coordinator] Lovie (Smith) would take over for me. [Offensive coordinator] Tim (Kelly) would do the offense. Lovie would do the defense. They would do the special teams.”
Smith would also communicate with general manager Nick Caserio and senior advisor for football performance Romeo Crennel, both of whom wear headsets on game day up in the press box.
Moving Smith to the role of acting coach would be a natural fit for the 63-year-old as he was the coach of the Chicago Bears from 2004-12.
“I’ve been in that role for quite a few years,” Smith said. “It’s not like it would be something new. But David is healthy right now. That’s always the case when you come into a situation. Just like I have to have a plan if I’m not here, who will be making the calls and all that. So, you have a plan in place, but you hope you don’t have to get to that plan B. Hopefully, that’ll be the case.”
Part of what led to the firing of Bill O’Brien after the team’s 0-4 start in 2020 and going with Crennel as interim coach was going through the scenario of what would happen if O’Brien were ever out for a game with COVID-19.
The Texans going with their defensive coordinator as acting coach is standard fare for the organization. In 2013 after coach Gary Kubiak collapsed during Week 9’s Sunday Night Football matchup against the Indianapolis Colts, defensive coordinator took over as acting coach in Week 10 against the Arizona Cardinals.