Texans Rumors: Lovie Smith 'Could Be' on Hot Seat; Eagles' Jonathan Gannon Linked

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVDecember 14, 2022

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - DECEMBER 11: Head coach Lovie Smith of the Houston Texans looks on prior to a game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on December 11, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)
Sam Hodde/Getty Images

Lovie Smith could wind up being one-and-done as Houston Texans head coach.

Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported Smith is currently on "shaky ground" amid the team's 1-11-1 start.

Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon is reportedly among the names that would be atop Texans general manager Nick Caserio's list of candidates. Gannon interviewed for the position after the Texans fired David Culley last offseason.

Smith was a surprise hire given the fact he was the defensive coordinator for an underperforming Texans team last season. Promoting from within a staff of a fired head coach is always going to raise some eyebrows, especially so in this case because it was not a situation where Culley was fired midway through 2021 and Smith turned the team around as an interim coach.

Smith had previous experience coaching the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers but hadn't had success in a decade. Even his jaunt to the college ranks at Illinois featured five straight losing seasons and a 17-39 record.

All of which is to say it's perfectly understandable that the Texans might want to move on.

That said, the optics in this particular situation would be awful. During a period of time the NFL is being sued for discriminatory hiring practices, the Texans would be firing its second Black head coach in as many seasons after only giving him one year to turn things around.

Culley was thrust into a situation where he was taking over a 4-12 team that lost Deshaun Watson as he sat out the entire 2021 season amid sexual misconduct allegations. Houston still managed to win four games and played competitive football, but Caserio fired him anyway.

Smith was saddled with by far the NFL's worst roster—one seemingly designed to land the Texans the top pick in the 2023 draft—and the team has performed to its talent level.

While Gannon is one of the best assistant coaches in the NFL and deserving of a head-coaching job, the Texans would be opening themselves up to fair scrutiny by hiring a white coach precisely at the time the organization's fortunes could start turning around.