My last season as a varsity volleyball coach was a one win effort. It was a season that I knew was going to be unsuccessful going in and there was a point when I knew conclusively that we would never have a chance of winning again. It’s a lonely moment as a coach. If Lovie Smith were to take a step back he would have to admit he’s there. The Houston Texans have earned the number one overall pick three times. They’ve been bad before, but in those seasons there was a sliver of hope each week that something good could happen. There is no such hope now.
When given those parameters I cannot fault Lovie Smith’s answers at the postgame press conference. The biggest mistakes I ever made as a coach was when I did not put on a good public face for what I knew was going to happen. I was brutally honest. Lovie can’t do that. He can’t openly admit this team sucks and that they aren’t going anywhere. He has to at least feign hope and sell some positives each week.
The pattern this Sunday was the same pattern we’ve seen four out of the last five games. The team struggled offensively and defensively in the first half. They were out of the game by halftime. The opponent took their foot off the gas in the second half and the Texans managed to make the final score look a little bit better than what the real game looked like. Lovie Smith came out in the postgame and tried to trumpet the second half effort. They held the Miami Dolphins scoreless in the second half. They scored two touchdowns themselves. See, there is hope for the future. Of course, those of us that watched this game know differently.
Inside the Numbers
Total Yards: Miami 339, Houston 210
Passing Yards: Miami 273, Houston 174
Rushing Yards: Miami 66, Houston 36
Total Plays: Miami 72, Houston 59
Rushes: Miami 26, Houston 15
Passes: Miami 46, Houston 44
Yards Per Play: Miami 4.7, Houston 3.6
Time Of Possession: Miami 32:27, Houston 27:33
Turnovers: Miami 1, Houston 3
Penalties: Miami 4/35, Houston 5/45
Three and Out: Miami 3, Houston 3
Again, from a former coach, I completely understand the desire to put as pleasant a face on this as possible. You have to be a positive for those guys in the locker room. You have to at least try to sound like you support them even when everyone involved knows what is really going on. The press knows as well. They are going to keep asking the questions because the answers are indefensible. It is a horrible situation to be in as a coach.
Yet, it is largely a situation of their own making. We can’t scapegoat Jack Easterby anymore. They can’t scapegoat Davis Mills anymore. They’ve tried Kyle Allen and it was eerily similar. You can put a nice face on for the public, but it is time for that coaching staff to take a long look in the mirror. This team hasn’t been ready to play since the Thursday night game against the Eagles. That’s on them. There are no scapegoats left to find.
What about Kyle Allen?
Reportedly, the Texans split reps in practice up until Friday in an effort to keep everyone guessing on the quarterback situation. So, maybe Allen gets a bit of a pass here. He hadn’t thrown a meaningful pass since the 2020 season and the coaches didn’t give him a full opportunity to prepare. Why did they do this? Lovie Smith spoke about a competitive advantage. The point was either delusional or an attempt at three-dimensional chess when you are looking at a checkers board.
Let’s ignore that the truth had been leaked even before the Wednesday shenanigans. Let’s ignore that other teams had made announcements earlier in the week in spite of a competitive disadvantage. Let’s ignore that the other team (New York Jets) is actually in the playoff hunt. Is Kyle Allen really different from Davis Mills? Is he more mobile? Does he have dramatically different athletic skills than Mills? How exactly would the Dolphins have to prepare differently? He’s ran the same crappy plays that Mills ran in the first ten games.
Passing Yards: 215
Completion Percentage: 66.7%
Yards Per Completion: 5.5
It’s hard to imagine that Allen looked worse than Mills, but he did. Is he a better quarterback than Davis Mills? I suspect that if given a full week to prepare and a halfway decent game plan then he would be. They are similar athletically and he has a little more experience. The Texans and this coaching staff didn’t put him in that position this week. That’s on them and there won’t be anymore scapegoats.