Unless you’ve been in hiding the last few days, you know Lovie Smith was promoted to fan by Houston Texans owner Cal McNair following Sunday’s debacle against the Indianapolis Colts.
McNair and a somewhat nervous general manager, Nick Caserio, announced the search for a new head coach has already begun, with Houston asking to speak with 5 candidates so far.
Houston Texans New Head Coach
Ben Johnson, Detroit Lions offensive coordinator
Johnson might just win “Overachiever of the Year” for 2022. The Lions, like their division rival Chicago Bears, were early favorites to compete for the #1 draft pick alongside the Texans. Thanks to Johnson, among others, the big cats from Detroit went 9-8, with the plus 26 point differential and were 5-1 against their division that includes the 13-4 Minnesota Vikings. Under Johnson, the Lions fielded the 7th best passing game, 11th best run game and their offense scored the 3rd most touchdowns. Hardly the marks of a team run by Cal McNair and his merry band of misfits.
Johnson, 36, is currently the offensive coordinator with the Detroit Lions, coming off a season that ended very strong, kicking the Green Bay Packers out of the playoffs with a win in Week 18. Lions head coach Dan Campbell says Johnson is “worthy” of a head coaching job.
“I think a ton of him. I think he’s – I’ve said it before, I just think he’s extremely bright, he’s creative. He’s organized. He’s a great communicator. I mean, he just, he’s got it,” Campbell said, via the Detroit Free Press.
Demeco Ryans, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator
Ryans, a former Houston star linebacker, has a rocky past with the team. He filed suit against the Texans due to the ill-conceived pallet field, the same one allegedly responsible for Jadeveon Clowney’s horrific injury that derailed the former #1 draft picks early career. Hard to imagine Ryans wants anything to do with this dumpster fire, and has allegedly stated he has no interest in the job. But, this is the NFL silly season, where lies are as common as truth.
Former #Texans linebacker DeMeco Ryans, 49ers' highly regarded defensive coordinator, not expected to pursue this opening at this time, according to sources. Texans do have interest in Ryans, though. Doesn't mean he can't change his mind. He's on Broncos' interview list. https://t.co/Rwn7ceruD0— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) January 9, 2023
Jonathan Gannon, Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator
Rumors abound that Gannon was actually Caserio’s main choice last off-season before the Brian Flores lawsuit and resulting PR disaster. We may never know how true that is, but Gannon is very well liked in league circles, admired as a rising star in the coaching ranks. He also has deep ties to Caserio. It’s also well documented Gannon could assemble a solid staff quickly and might present the quickest, clearest path forward for this floundering franchise.
In his first season as defensive coordinator, Gannon’s Eagles’ defense surrendered 5.2 yards per play, tied for the seventh-fewest in the league. The Eagles were tied with the Bears and Panthers for the fifth-fewest takeaways in the NFL with 16.
This season, Gannon’s defense was among the top units in the NFL, finishing No. 1 overall in total defense, No. 1 against the pass, and 8th in the NFL in points allowed.
Ejiro Evero, Denver Broncos defensive coordinator
The last time the Texans got anything from the Broncos it was historically bad. Evero might help erase that stain, but his passing defense actually gave up more air yards in 2022 than the Texans. He did field a top-10 run defense, however. But, given the choice between him and Gannon, it’s an easy decision. On paper at least.
Was looking at the list of candidates the #Texans want to interview and something really stood out. Looks like they want a young HC to grow with this young team.— Laces Out (@Lacesoutnflpod) January 10, 2023
Ben Johnson (36)
DeMeco Ryans (38)
Jonathan Gannon (40)
Ejiro Evero (42)
Shane Steichen (37)
Shane Steichen, Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator
Steichen has the 3rd ranked offense in total yards, 8th ranked passing game and 5th ranked rushing attack in 2022. The Eagles are certainly one of the better teams in the NFC, thanks in large part to Gannon and Steichen. Is he ready for the next step? Since his name has already surfaced in interview requests for the Baby Horses, Carolina Panthers and Texans, with more expected, it seems the belief is he will succeed at the next level.
The Eagles Shane Steichen led offense this season:— Drew (@IndepthTexans) January 9, 2023
3rd in Total yards
5th in Rushing
3rd in PPG
The Texans have put in a request to interview Steichen for their vacant HC position
Steichen is only 37 and also played a huge factor in QB Justin Herbert's development in LA
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