Houston Texans, Closing In On Franchise-Worst Season, Need A Clean Sweep For 2023

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HOUSTON — The signature moment of this game, and perhaps defining moment for the Houston Texans coaching staff this season, comes in the second quarter Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.

The Texans have somehow fashioned a 3-0 lead over the Browns — a fact that in itself is newsworthy for this team with only one win.

And now there’s an opportunity to add to that rare lead against a stunned opponent and their $230 million quarterback Deshaun Watson because the Texans have a first down at the Cleveland 3 yard line.

But the Texans answer the situation by putting running back Damien Pierce, their leading rusher and perhaps second best offensive player, on the sideline.

Texans defense had good moments against Deshaun Watson.
The Houston Texans defense played a good game on Sunday but he rest of the team was a mess against the Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Texans Offensive Series From Heck

Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton then calls two pass plays on first and second down and quarterback Kyle Allen, a backup until last week, throws two incompletions. Then, with Pierce still watching from the sideline, the Texans hand the ball to Dare Ogunbowale on third down.

Except that Ogunbowale, in his fourth NFL season, has scored fewer touchdowns in his career than he has vowels in his name.

And he’s not adding to either total today because his run up the middle leaves the Texans 1 yard short of the end zone.

So on fourth down, with a rested and fired up Pierce finally back in the game, the Texans elect to throw the football. Incomplete.

A losing team doing losing team things.

Browns 27.

Texans 14.

“Hindsight right now, I wish we had done something different,” coach Lovie Smith said of the goal line debacle afterward. “That didn’t work. Thought we had a good play there. When you go for it on fourth down like that, I felt like we needed a touchdown in that situation. It’s so hard to get down there. We need to be able to convert on those.”

Lovie Smith and his beard need to go as Texans leadership.
Texans head coach Lovie Smith admits coaching has to be better. Texas. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Coach Lovie Smith Admits Mistakes

Smith spent his post-game press conference Sunday telling reporters multiple times he and his coaches “have got to do a better job.” And he’s right, because the Texans are now the NFL’s first team eliminated from playoff contention and with a 1-10-1 record have firm grasp on the No. 1 overall pick in next spring’s NFL draft.

But saying improvement is needed in September sounds like an aspiration. Still repeating it in December is about desperation.

“This late in the year, different combinations, personnel changes – we feel like we’ve let most of the guys have an opportunity to show us what they have,” Smith said. “We just have to look first to us as coaches on what we’re doing to try to get a better game plan, and then eventually get a game plan that the players can execute.

“Right now, we’re not there. See the results. Not good enough. Can’t win any football games until we get it better.”

Smith, his coaching staff, and perhaps even general manager Nick Caserio, might not get a chance to get it right. And shouldn’t.

Because it makes total sense for the McNair family that owns the team to clean house after the season.

The Texans, you see, play in a market where World Series success is the standard. But the Texans are answering that with a season in which they must manage one more win to merely tie the franchise’s worst win total of 2.

So how do Smith and Pep Hamilton and that group get a second season?

Caserio, it could be argued, should remain because most GMs get more than two seasons. But he’s the guy who hired David Culley in 2021 and fired him after an awful year. And he’s the guy who hired Smith, leading to the debacle that is this season.

So how does that track record earn Caserio the right to pick his third head coach in three years?

Nothing short of a clean sweep would be a ridiculous approach in Houston. Anything less would make that offensive series Sunday look smart.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

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  1. No one really gives a damn about the Texans. Cal McNair is one of the most testosterone lacking people in America. His choices of the people around him have been abysmal. He GAVE Bill O’Brien full control of the franchise before he RELEASED a player, J.J. Watt, who will be in the HOF. He traded a wide receiver to the Cardinals who will be in the HOF for a one legged running back, a backup linebacker, and a 2nd round draft choice.

    Yesterday, McNair welcomed a player who sexually abused 23+ women with a hand shake and a hug. McNair’s wife has more balls than he does. She turned her back to Watson when he approached them.

    F Watson and the Texans

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