The Houston Texans are once again looking for a head coach after three straight seasons of firing theirs following a single year in the lead role.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith believes African-American coaches shouldn’t fill out that job application.
Talking on his show, “First Take,” on Monday morning following the firing of Lovie Smith, who is the third African-American head coach to be let go in Houston since 2020, Stephen A. Smith sounded off on the Texans and CEO Cal McNair.
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“African Americans need not apply,” he said. “This is not an organization that has been fair to African Americans as far as I’m concerned. And I have these two as an example. You could use Romeo Crennel and the kind of situation they put him in in the past. I don’t like this organization.”
Before Lovie Smith, Crennel (2020) and David Culley (2021) were terminated after one season. Crennel took over once Bill O’Brien was fired during the COVID year, going 4-8 with his group.
Then, Culley went 4-13 before he was let go, making way for Smith this season.
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Houston hasn’t had the most competitive roster these last few years, especially after trading DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson, two of their most important players who were key in making the playoffs in 2018 and 2019. Both of those seasons, the Texans won the AFC South but were never able to make a run for the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
O’Brien was playing both the head coach and GM role at the time of the Hopkins trade to the Arizona Cardinals in March 2020, which received tons of backlash from fans and experts alike, some of which calling it one of the worst trades of all-time.
Then, Watson requested a trade after the 2020 season, as he didn’t like the changes that were made to the coaching staff and front office. Both sides were in a standoff until his sexual harassment allegations came to light.
Though he wasn’t officially suspended at the time, the Texans didn’t play Watson throughout the 2021 season for “non-injury reasons/personal matter.” The Texans then traded Watson to the Cleveland Browns for their next three first-round draft choices as well as the Browns’ third-round pick in 2023 and fourth-round picks in 2022 and 2024. Watson also signed a lucrative five-year, $230 million deal right after the trade to be Cleveland’s long-term option at quarterback.
In turn, the Texans were back to rebuilding, and these head coaches have had a tough time creating results from the start.
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One of the main reasons is quarterback play post-Watson, as Davis Mills, Kyle Allen and Tyrod Taylor all had trouble scoring points with the young corps on offense.
Development, though, takes time, which is why many are skeptical regarding the Texans’ plan. While players like Damien Pierce, Jalen Pitre, Derek Stingley Jr. and others have shown they can compete in this league, it takes time for teams to rebuild and develop under one system.
The Texans have already begun their head coaching search, reportedly requesting interviews with Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans.
Ryans and Evero are both Black coaches, and the former was a Texans legend during his playing days as a linebacker. Ryans spent six seasons in Houston, reaching two Pro Bowls and being named the 2006 Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Evero was a part of the mass firing that occurred in Denver with head coach Nathaniel Hackett ousted before finishing his first season in the role.
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Whoever is named head coach of the Texans for next season will be happy knowing the team has two first-round picks – No. 2 and No. 12 from the Browns – as well as ample cap space to work with in free agency.