At the NFL Combine, Lovie Smith addressed the national and local media as the Houston Texans new head coach. New to his role but not new to the NFL and national media, Smith left a lasting impression after his press conference and interviews that followed.
National media members were asked to describe Coach Lovie, now in his 21st NFL season of coaching, in one word. Here were their responses:
"Determined." – Andrew Siciliano, NFL Network
"They loved him in Chicago. Loved him. Loved him. Went to a Super Bowl with Rex Grossman. Defensive players swear by the guy. I'm kind of convinced that if Lovie could get like fifty-three guys on the roster and have them only be defensive players and never had to run an offensive play and could just like punt and have his defense on the field the entire time, I think he would because he loves his defense that much, but his defense plays hard for him. His whole team plays hard for him. I am thrilled that he has another shot."
"Underrated." – Chris Simms, NBC Sports and Pro Football Talk
"Man, underrated. That's what I would say. I mean, first off, people look at stats too much, right? The Texans, the way the defense played the whole year, I always was one kind of touting it, going, 'They're a little bit better than what the stats say.' That would be the biggest thing I would look at. It's hard, their offense wasn't great this year, as you guys know, there were a lot of three-and-outs so the defense is on the field a lot. And you're a team that was kind of in the rebuilding process. Are you going to take your lumps either way? But man, I've always looked at Lovie. I think he's made for the NFL. He understands people and how to connect that way, and he understands the game in totality to where he can be an overseer of all. Let alone, I think he's still a really damn good defensive coach."
"Authentic." – Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network
"I think everybody that's around Lovie that's ever been around him says the same thing. Like, he's just very comfortable in his own skin. He's just very real and I think that's a great quality to have. You talk about leadership. It's hard to be a leader if you're not comfortable in your own skin, you're not authentic. And I think he has that. Obviously, you can look at the discipline aspect, the toughness that his teams have played with, the players all respect him. So I mean, there's a lot of great traits there, but to me, the biggest one is he's just very authentic."
"Solid." – Bucky Brooks, Analyst and FOX Sports
"I would say he's solid because he's a great teacher and he understands how to get the best out of his personnel. When you think about Coach Smith and the best defenses and the best teams that he had back in Chicago, great personnel playing in a simple system that allowed them to play at their best. I think if you watch the Texans last year with the defense that they played, look with a bunch of injuries and people in and out of the lineup, they still were able to play at a high level at times. I think now that he has total control of the team, I think you'll see a very good product because he's a very solid coach."
During his career as an NFL coach, Smith has nine playoff appearances, six division titles and two Super Bowl appearances (XXXVI and XLI). He has coached players to 53 Pro Bowl and 17 AP First-Team All-Pro selections. Last year with the Texans, Smith guided the defense to 10th in the NFL with 25 total takeaways. Houston also intercepted 3.1 percent of opponent passing attempts, the fifth-highest rate in the league.