Amid all the speculation and argument about whether Bill O’Brien’s stay in Houston should extend into 2018, there hasn’t been as much attention focused on whether Rick Smith’s future should also be under scrutiny. Here at BRB, we’ve talked about it for years, but it hasn’t gotten as much play in the more traditional media outlets as the 4-10 Texans stumble toward the finish line of the 2017 campaign.
Sean Pendergast, however, took pen to paper and recently examined the Texans’ achievements during Rick Smith’s tenure with the organization. It’s a read that’s worth your time, but here are some notable excerpts:
This brings us to the other half of our NRG Stadium Wrestlemania main event, and that's Smith, who is on the cusp of surviving another monumental nadir, his third with this team in a decade or so. This team is 4-10 right now, and the injury excuses are flying around like bottle rockets at a July 4th picnic, not so much from O'Brien or Smith, but from apologists for either side. That's all well and good, but the fact that injury excuses are necessary for anybody is far more an indictment on the team's lack of depth and the rickety construction of the roster, and THAT falls on Smith.
The overpaid, leaky secondary... the lack of second and third tier talent to fill out competent special teams... the complete sham of an offensive line that's been trotted out there all year.
Smith... Smith... Smith.
The Texans’ offensive line, and to a lesser degree the secondary, have been very poor throughout the season. In my eyes, those shortcomings are due to personnel, not coaching. With regard to special teams, there are only three certainties in life: death, taxes, and well below average special teams play at NRG Park. More from Pendergast:
Up to and including this weekend's games, the Texans are 86-88 since 2007, a winning percentage of .494, good enough for 19th in the NFL. Every team below the Texans since 2007 has changed general managers AT LEAST twice in that timeframe. Eight teams above the Texans have the same general manager that they had when Smith was hired. Five have won Super Bowls (New England, Pittsburgh, Green Bay, New Orleans, Baltimore), two have a GM who actually OWNS the team (Dallas, Cincinnati), and the other is Minnesota, who is 11-3 with a Texans castoff at quarterback this season.
Pendergast concludes his article by creating and utilizing a simple formula that calculates the success of every NFL team since the beginning of the 2007 season. Not surprisingly, the Texans are on the wrong side of mediocre by that metric as well.
Yet Bill O’Brien is the problem?