Houston Texans: Rick Smith underachieving for far too long


Drafting the same type of players and maintaining a mediocre existence in the world’s greatest sport is the definition of insanity right? No, but it appears to be Houston Texans General Manager Rick Smith’s mission statement around draft time.

I am aware the draft process is not as simple as shouting “Ooh that’s the guy I want and Voila!” It’s more like movies from the Redbox, everyone wants the most popular new thing and a majority of the time someone always beats you to it, I hate that.

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It’s near impossible to understand the vision or direction of this franchise when I see some of the selections in the draft. All teams hit and miss but not like here in Houston, when the Texans miss in multiple rounds of the draft, it’s historical and is often exposed.  “Rick Smith must go!” Tons of people scream it, but fail to mention a viable solution to their complaint. There is a solution though, getting him is the hard part.

Is it elementary of me to believe that a supreme recruiter from two successful college programs is a no brainer as an NFL General Manager? In Smith’s 9 years on the job he’s drafted three QB’s; Alex Brink, T.J. Yates and Tom Savage, excuse me right quick (I’m vomiting a little at that lineup). There is a young guy out there whose has his hand in the luring of Cam Newton, Tim Tebow, Braxton Miller JT Barrett and Cardale Jones. This guy knows a championship or Heisman QB on site apparently.

Mark Pantoni, the 32 year old innovative Director of Player Personnel at “The Ohio State” is no stranger to attracting remarkable talent. Panton’s external resume is light years ahead of the current mannequin in the office here at NRG. There is not enough room on paper to list all the amazing recruits Urban Meyer has had the pleasure of coaching because of this guy. Oh yeah, Pantoni was also his guy in Florida from 2008 through the Ohio State transition to present day.

Anything I’ve read on Pantoni is equivalent to love letters and poetry directed to the hottest girl in school. People that have worked with him are amazed when he’s on their staff and devastatingly heart broken when he’s gone. In an article by an impressive Ohio writer of “Eleven Warriors” Kyle Rowland, he quoted Meyer gushing about Mark saying, “He’s my guy, I have to have him, I don’t know what I’d do without him.” Wow! Now I’ll wait to see how many people can say at least four nice things about Rick Smith, or one.

Hardcore fans are sick of the hopelessness, and the obvious post game coach speak following a loss, this is the change that needs to happen. It would be senseless to continue with the status quo, Mark Pantoni is the best dish, on a fantastic menu at your favorite restaurant on earth. To team him with a coach in Bill O’Brien who has done more with less like a single mother, would be one of the greatest pairings of our time.

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Bob McNair has tons of money, and owns a team in a city where football is the beginning, middle and end of basically everything. This passionate fan base is beyond ready to fall madly in love with this team again. I personally want to witness a turn from mere existence supplanted in mediocrity to elite and in contention with normality. McNair has to look beyond his billions and ask himself “how soon he wants this team to be great?” Now who’s slick enough on staff to lure this gem away from Urban Meyer?