As head coach, Lovie Smith's new role with the Houston Texans will encompass more than just overseeing the defense like it did in 2021. Who will run the defense in 2022? Smith said the answer was an easy one for him.
"I loved calling plays last year," Smith said at Tuesday's press conference. "I will be calling the defenses this year. Just look around right now. Most of the offensive head coaches that are offensive guys, they call the plays. For some reason, a lot of the defensive guys don't. I think I can help our program the most right now with me in that same role. So, I will be doing that."
A defensive mind, Smith has spent 20 years in the NFL coaching ranks, including 11 as head coach, four seasons as defensive coordinator and five as a linebackers coach during the start of his career in Tampa Bay (1996-2000). Smith joined the Texans last year as defensive coordinator and associate head coach and called plays on defense.
"You know, this past year I had so much fun," Smith said. "I've never — of course, I've been a head coach a while. A lot of those years I was heavily involved with the defense. I'm at the purity of the sport I love coaching. It's getting my hands on."
Under Smith's leadership, the Texans defense improved from last in takeaways in 2020 (nine) to tied for 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. The team announced Smith as their fifth head coach in franchise history on Monday.