The Texans are tanking.
You know that. The media knows that. The Texans know that.
And, they know, you know that.
That’s not something that you CC the commissioner's office on, but it is happening.
Texans general manager Nick Caserio is leading the charge and so far, he should be singing his own praises of constructing a roster and coaching staff that have executed the plan to near perfection through the first 10 games of the season.
His team is 1-8-1 after their latest loss, and what was likely a highly anticipated hiccup, is seemingly coming to a head.
The hot topic over the last couple of weeks has been whether head coach Lovie Smith will make a change at quarterback, or even the coordinator position after the offense's latest uninspired performance.
Mills threw two more interceptions in Sunday's loss to the Commanders, the first a pick-six on the second play from scrimmage.
Mills, who also leads the league now with 11 picks, has thrown at least one in five consecutive games.
It is understandable and normal that in most situations, when a team or players underperform, change can be inevitable.
Smith addressed possible changes forthcoming with the media Monday morning.
"Have I watched the video a few different times? Yeah, and made some decisions on how we’re going to go forward," Smith said. "But you can probably understand, with all changes and anything that we do from week to week, we talk to the players first before we talk to you. We’re not pleased with where we are. Do we need to do some things differently? Yes, and we will."
Whether that response from Smith simply means that changes could be made within the scheme or personnel, remains to be seen.
An NFL team has failed to surpass 10 net yards in a first half of play just 11 times in the last 22 years. Two of the most recent have come with Davis Mills at quarterback for the Texans.
Numbers like that generally cost a man his job.
Is it enough to cost Mills his?
If Caserio thinks Kyle Allen quarterbacking this team down the stretch is going to hinder their draft position, the answer is no.
The Texans are not in the same zip code, much less solar system, as a team like the Commanders who may have a quarterback controversy of sorts on their hands when Carson Wentz is healthy enough to play again. They’re fighting for a spot in the playoffs.
Could the embarrassing offensive output cost Pep Hamilton his job?
Under normal circumstances, it should. But it won’t.
Entering week 12, the Texans have a 1.5-game lead over the Las Vegas Raiders and everyone else in the league for the top overall draft pick in 2023.
The Texans also have the Cleveland Browns' first-round pick, which is currently a top 10 selection (seventh overall). They also have a Browns third-round selection and three extra sixth-round picks from trades.
Things are going tremendously at NRG.
While the window dressing is a lot more appealing this year with an experienced head coach in Lovie Smith than it was last season with David Culley, the results are the same and that’s the goal.
Culley was in a lose-lose situation and somehow he ended up winning.
Culley took home a $5 million salary in 2021 and is being paid another $17 million over the next three seasons.
Parting ways with Culley after one season wasn’t a part of the grand plan, but a costly mistake that clearly general manager Nick Caserio was able to skirt and pass blame off onto the former team executive Jack Easterby.
Smith handles the media differently. He’s got experience with it. While you may not routinely agree with much of what he says or how he says it, he’s more adept at handling the tougher questions, even if they’re better suited for the general manger.
Not to say that Smith is knocking it out of the park, it’s just more acceptable and that’s good enough to get the Texans through another season.
Give Smith credit, navigating a team that you know isn’t long for you, and isn’t built to win in this league has to be an extremely difficult ship to steer.
Long practices, hours of film study, daily discussions with coaches and players about the grind, teaching young players how to prepare their bodies to compete, handling losing and the adversities that go along with it.
That’s all very real.
Yet, Caserio built a roster that he knows can’t. That’s real, too.
Ever heard of that lottery game called ‘All Or Nothing’?
You’ve got to pick 12 numbers out of a possible 24, that you hope won’t get drawn. If you do so successfully, you win the jackpot.
What Caserio has done with the roster this season is no different.
The blunder with Culley cost them money. What they hope this process doesn’t cost them more of is time.
At season's end, it’s Caserio’s time.
He’s got to hit on a head coach and the best talent he can get with the draft capital accumulated over the last two seasons.
The grand plan goes to hell in a hand basket if they aren’t able to get their head coach of the future along with a franchise quarterback in 2023.
Shaun Bijani has spent the last 16 years covering the Houston sports scene for SportsRadio 610. Follow him on Twitter @ShaunBijani.