HOUSTON — On Sunday, the Houston Texans decided to part ways with head coach and defensive coordinator Lovie Smith after the Texans finished the 2022 regular season with a 3-13-1 record.
“Nick Caserio and I spoke with Lovie Smith tonight and informed him that we will be moving in a different direction as an organization,” said Houston Texans Chairman and CEO Cal Mcnair. “I appreciate Coach Smith and his entire family for their contributions over the last two seasons. We are grateful for his leadership and character, and we wish him the best moving forward. “
It is the second consecutive year that Houston has fired their coach after one year of service. Former coach David Culley was terminated after he completed the 2021 season with just four wins. General manager Nick Caserio is responsible for hiring both Culley and Smith will now have an opportunity to employ his third coach in as many years, which is unprecedented in the NFL.
Caserio will be headed into his third year of a six-year $30 million contract next season. After firing Culley in January 2022, he was asked if he felt any pressure to get the hire right, given that most general managers don’t get the opportunity to hire a third head coach.
“Only the pressure you guys put on me,” Caserio said on Jan. 14, 2022. “I’m immune to pressure. We live with pressure every day. Everybody deals with a lot of difficult situations that we’re dealing with. I’m blessed to be in the position that I’m in, and I am excited for the opportunity here moving forward to try and continue to build our program out with whomever the next coach is. Excited about the opportunity. Pressure is; however, you define it, so the pressure will probably come more externally, but that’s ok; that’s part of the fun of it.”
Being immune to pressure does not give Caserio the green light to keep putting this franchise into situations where they will have to replace head coaches year in and out after less-than-mediocre seasons. If the Texans have another terrible season, Caserio will have to look at himself in the mirror and ask, “Is it me that is keeping this franchise from getting back to some sort of relevancy?”
Houston is scheduled to have the second overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft. That would have been the No. 1 pick had the Texans not pulled off some late-game heroics to beat the Indianapolis Colts 32-31 in the season’s final game.
That selection now belongs to the Chicago Bears, whom Lovie Smith once coached. They also have the No. 12 pick in the draft thanks to their blockbuster offseason trade with the Cleveland Browns.
Caserio hopes to entice a head coaching candidate with 11 total draft picks and a budget of $46.7 million to spend in 2023. With a plethora of picks and cap space in the future, Houston becomes one of the most attractive jobs available in the offseason. The only blemish will be if Caserio is unwilling to allow the new coach to hire his staff and take a hands-off approach regarding game-day preparation.
McNair and Caserio are slated to address the media on Monday about the future of the Texans and their coaching search.