Nov 2, 2019; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Lovie Smith looks on during the first half against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier on Wednesday night, it was reported that the Houston Texans are hiring David Culley to be the team’s head coach. And it looks like Culley is picking a former NFL head coach to be Houston’s defensive coordinator.

Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports that the Texans are expected to finalize a deal with former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith that will make him Houston’s defensive coordinator.

This is a really interesting hire, but one that makes a lot of sense for Culley, who’s never been a head coach.

Smith, 62, was head coach of the Chicago Bears from 2004-2012, leading the Bears to an 81-63 record and a Super Bowl berth in the 2006 season. He followed that up by serving as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014-15, and then going to the college level to be head coach of Illinois from 2016-20, before being fired on Dec. 2. He became one of the top head-coaching candidates in the NFL after being the St. Louis Rams’ defensive coordinator from 2001-03.

So, Smith brings a known, respected voice — he’s always been liked by players — to the locker room and field to help a first-time head coach. He also really knows defense and has a long history as a playcaller there, but he may have to show the willingness to add some more variety to what has usually been a very traditional Tampa-2 defensive scheme. It doesn’t mean his defense can’t work, but it’s a different game now than the one in which the defenses of Smith and Tony Dungy had tremendous success in, and the great quarterbacks will find a way to beat the scheme if it doesn’t feature some different looks.

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports that the Texans are also interested in hiring longtime NFL quarterback Josh McCown to Culley’s staff.

McCown actually was on Houston’s active roster at the end of the season, and even reportedly interviewed for the head-coaching position, which drew a lot of criticism. But McCown certainly makes sense as an assistant — surely with a focus on the passing game — for Culley and the Texans.

Update: NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports that the Houston Texans have indeed agreed to a deal with Lovie Smith to make him the defensive coordinator.

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

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