Lovie Smith believes Texans could make Bengals-like leap in 2022: ‘Why not us?’

Lovie Smith is not leaving something out of the query in his first season as Texans head coach.

Simply take a look at the Bengals. That is what Smith will inform you when requested concerning the potential of his crew in 2022.

“We received 4 video games this 12 months. The Bengals received 4 the 12 months earlier than, and this was an enormous 12 months for them,” Smith advised NBC Sports activities’ Peter King. “We do not have to surprise — we simply noticed a crew do it. Somebody’s going to make that leap. Somebody at all times does. Why not us?”

With this response, Smith is attracting a comparability between the 2 squads, so we’ll oblige, beginning with quarterback. Cincinnati has a budding famous person in Joe Burrow, the previous No. 1 general decide of the 2020 draft. Houston has 2021 third-round choice Davis Mills. Though Mills supplied a wholesome quantity of cause to be optimistic about his future with the Texans, he isn’t on the identical trajectory as Burrow — at the very least not but.

Smith is not inserting Mills on a path destined for Canton, however he is excited by the quarterback’s potential.

“What provides me optimism is … I bought an opportunity to see Davis Mills,” Smith advised King. “What number of particular quarterbacks are there on the market? There’s a couple of. However there’s lots of good quarterbacks. I feel we could have quarterback for the Houston Texans. We’ve got the third decide within the draft proper now. There is a chance of us getting an awesome quarterback added to our crew, or lots of draft picks to get in additional gamers. One thing optimistic’s going to come back out of that.”

Smith is appropriate about Houston’s possibilities of touchdown a difference-maker in April’s draft. Two of NFL.com’s most up-to-date mock drafts have the Texans deciding on Oregon edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux, a hulking defender who has carried NFL potential on his shoulders since his highschool days in Los Angeles. If there have been a coach who might assist Thibodeaux maximize his potential early in his profession, it is Smith.

Houston is greater than a participant or two away from being a contender, after all, which means normal supervisor Nick Caserio must nail greater than only one choice in April to expedite Houston’s turnaround. However lots of it is dependent upon the quarterback place, and if Mills can carry his optimistic momentum into 2022, the Texans can be in a significantly better place than they had been a 12 months in the past.

Making a run at a Tremendous Bowl like Cincinnati did in 2021 stays a extremely aspirational objective, however in February, there isn’t any cause to set a membership’s sights any decrease than soccer’s highest goal. The months forward will play a serious function in figuring out whether or not Smith was unrealistically hopeful or noticed an enchancment earlier than most anybody else. As with most every part, time will inform.