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Thank You, Rick Smith

We need more Rick Smith pictures in this thing.
We need more Rick Smith pictures in this thing.

Rivers' exquisitely crafted note of gratitude to Wade Phillips gave us an idea. For the next several days, we'll periodically be posting entries thanking various people who had a hand in making the Texans' 2011 season as enjoyable as it was. The season's over, which blows, but there's a lot to appreciate, and it's a loooooong offseason, so let's do take a minute to say thank you.

T.J. Yates, Lawrence Vickers, J.J. Watt, Brooks Reed, Johnathan Joseph, Danieal Manning, and Brett Hartmann. What do they have in common? They were significant contributors to your Houston Texans acquired during the 2011 NFL Draft and free agency process. That's quite a haul in any offseason, let alone one that was as odd as the locked-out one.

Whether it be trades (like the one for Matt Schaub in 2007 or Chris Myers in 2008), free agent signings (like Joseph, Manning, Kevin Walter, or Wade Smith), drafts (23 Texans on the roster have been taken since the 2007 NFL Draft), undrafted free agents (hi, Arian Foster, Tim Jamison, Tim Bulman, and Bryan Braman), or managing the salary cap (restructuring Andre Johnson’s deal and letting Dunta Robinson walk comes to mind), Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith, and his team of scouts and moneymen, have put together a strong, talented, and deep roster.

How else could the 2011 Houston Texans overcome 12 players put on injured reserve, plus significant missed time to Foster, Johnson, Manning, and Mike Brisiel? Why else would they enter an offseason where their biggest moves are retaining their own guys, as opposed to looking for more talent across the board?

It may have taken longer than any of us would have liked, but we are now fans of a team that is set up for a run of success due to a roster that is balanced with talent on both sides of the ball. The patience with Rick Smith has finally paid off to where
many, many, many, many people are calling your Texans 2012 Super Bowl contenders and favorites.

Rick Smith doesn’t just get a thank you for his near six years on the job. He’s earned himself an extension, a deserved chance at being named the NFL’s Executive of the Year, and a whole lot of slack for any decisions made this offseason. In Smithiakiliips we trust.

This season wouldn’t be possible without Rick Smith, and I now believe Smith can will be a championship-caliber general manager.

Here’s to you, Rick Smith.