Lovie Smith wants the Texans to be better on offense, defense and special teams. He saw signs of promise in each of the three phases in 2021 and is already at work bolstering each for 2022 and beyond, but the Texans new head coach added another area for improvement as well.
"The fourth phase would be the fans," Smith said. "We cannot play winning football without you. I have seen the day when it's tough playing at NRG Stadium. It's our responsibility to bring the fans back and get them excited about the product we're going to put on the football field. I guarantee you we can do that."
It's Smith's third go-round as an NFL head coach. In addition to serving as the defensive coordinator in Houston last autumn, he brought his Chicago Bears squad here in 2008 and the Buccaneers to town in 2015. The Texans won both those contests, and the home crowd advantage made a lasting impression on Smith.
"It's our responsibility to bring the fans back and get them excited about the product we're going to put on the football field. I guarantee you we can do that." Head Coach Lovie Smith
Attendance was down in 2021 and Smith acknowledged that happens when you win a combined eight games over two seasons, but the veteran head coach also uses it instructional when talking with his players.
"I was telling some of the defensive guys: look at the stadium right now," Smith said. "There's a lot of empty seats. Soon there's going to be a time where you're not going to see these empty seats. The fans are going to come back. Right now, we can't expect them to like a lot of things we're doing, but that day is coming."
Smith said he and the Texans are working on rounding out the coaching staff, and he's enthused by the opportunity.