NFL head-coaching turnover: Lovie Smith out for Texans

Jan 9, 2023, 8:51 AM | Updated: 10:23 am

Check back for the latest news from the NFL head-coaching front this Monday as teams seeking changes begin looking toward the offseason with firings and staff moves.

What transpires could impact the Arizona Cardinals, whose owner Michael Bidwill must now replace head coach Kliff Kingsbury after a 4-13 season.

Texans fire Lovie Smith after 1 season

By The Associated Press

Lovie Smith was fired as coach of the Houston Texans on Sunday night after just one season in which the team went 3-13-1.

It’s the second straight season in which the Texans have fired a coach after one year. They parted ways with David Culley last January after he went 4-13 in his only season.

“I’m constantly evaluating our football operation and believe this is the best decision for us at this time,” general manager Nick Caserio said in a statement announcing the team parting ways with Smith.

“It is my responsibility to build a comprehensive and competitive program that can sustain success over a long period of time. We aren’t there right now, however, with the support of the (team owner) McNair family and the resources available to us, I’m confident in the direction of our football program moving forward.”

Smith was asked about his future after Sunday’s win at Indianapolis and seemed confident that he’d return next season.

“We understand the totality of the season,” he said. “Do I expect to be back? Yeah, I expect to be back, absolutely.”

The Texans had the league’s worst record for most of the season but won two of their last three games, capped by Sunday’s win over the Colts that cost the team the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft. The 32-31 victory over Indianapolis gave Chicago the top pick and left Houston to choose second in April’s draft.

Davis Mills connected with Jordan Akins on a 28-yard touchdown pass with 50 seconds left Sunday against the Colts. Mills then found Akins again for the 2-point conversion to put the Texans on top for good.

Kingsbury and Keim depart Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals fired head coach Kliff Kingsbury on Monday after a 4-13 season, his fourth on the job.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport first reported the news that was made official by the team.

A statement said Kingsbury was “relieved of his duties,” adding that general manager Steve Keim “has decided to step away from his position in order to focus on his health.”

Keim had been on a health-related leave of absence since Dec. 14.

“The team wishes them well and thanks both of them for their contributions,” the release added.

Kingsbury finishes his Cardinals tenure with a 28-37-1 record (.432) and a single postseason appearance in 2021. He is let go as Arizona and owner Michael Bidwill navigate the uncertainty that comes with the health-related absence of general manager Steve Keim.

Kingsbury was under contract through the 2027 season after his original deal, which included a 2023 team option, was extended in March 2022. Keim’s contract was jointly extended that length as well.

NFL head coaches fired midseason

Former Panthers head coach Matt Rhule (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

By Arizona Sports

Carolina Panthers

Third-year coach Matt Rhule was fired after a 1-4 start to the season. Former Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks (2018) took the interim job and led a turnaround of sorts as the team finished 7-10.

Rhule has already accepted a new job as head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Denver Broncos

With high expectations after acquiring quarterback Russell Wilson in the offseason, Nathaniel Hackett, a former Green Bay Packers assistant, went 4-11 before being fired prior to the end of his first full year on the job.

The Broncos replaced him with Jerry Rosburg and have reportedly already been in talks with New Orleans about compensation to potentially hire former Saints head coach Sean Payton. Denver finished 5-12.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts ended Frank Reich’s tenure in the middle of his fifth season on the job. He went 3-5-1 before the team let him go, then made the controversial decision to hire former offensive lineman Jeff Saturday as an interim coach, pulling him out of the ESPN studios and placing him on the job without any college or pro coaching experience.

Saturday went 1-7, winning only his first game on the job against the Las Vegas Raiders.

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