After interviewing several intriguing candidates, the Texans ultimately didn't have to look far for their next head coach – down the hall.
Lovie Smith, who's been an NFL head coach for 11 years, is the choice. And after a year of doing a better-than-the-numbers-say job as the defensive coordinator in 2021, he is ready to take the helm of the Texans.
Smith becomes the fifth coach in the history of the franchise and only the second with NFL head coaching experience. He's been to a Super Bowl and had another appearance in a championship game.
His nine seasons in Chicago were peppered with five winning campaigns and six that were .500 or better. After a five-win season to begin his run there, the Bears never dipped below seven wins.
Smith is a winner and took over a Texans defense last year with a ton of new faces and installed a new scheme. From the first practice I witnessed, where the defense was going through a takeaway drill, you could see the players were in good hands. The results during the regular season were notable, with the squad finishing in the top third in forced turnovers.
There are many advantages to hiring Smith. Having already been here for a year, he's worked with Caserio, knows the ins and outs of the remaining members of the roster and all the nuances of operating in the facility and the division.
It's not every day you get to promote a man who already has coached in 176 games and has championship game experience. He also has the love and respect of players past and present. And he's also a Texas native, which isn't crucial but it can't hurt.
There is much work to do. The staff has to be fully constructed. The roster has to take shape. But there are many things to build on from the positives of 2021 – Smith's coaching performance being one of them.
Don't just look at the numbers. I watched every down. As rough as the record looked and some of the scores were, the defense kept the Texans within striking distance in most of the losses, nine of which were one-score games in the fourth quarter.
Smith certainly deserves this shot. He gets another chance at a ring. Recently I wrote about second or third chance coaches who have won Super Bowls. The list is filled with names like Shula, Belichick, Carroll, Shanahan, Coughlin and Kubiak. Here's hoping Lovie Smith becomes one of them.