Mandatory Credit: Photo by Eric Gay/AP/Shutterstock (13603698bk) Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills (10) looks to throw against the Tennessee Titans during an NFL football game, in Houston Titans Texans Football, Houston, United States – 30 Oct 2022
On Wednesday, despite comments the day before that they were considering changes at the quarterback position, both head coach Lovie Smith and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton refused to admit they were changing quarterbacks from Davis Mills to Kyle Allen for Sunday’s contest in Miami.
While the Texans’ coaches made a sudden shift in direction Tuesday after a week and a half of adamantly stating Mills was the quarterback who gave them the best chance to win, and they would not be making a change, their refusal to acknowledge the change seemed odd, as they also made it a point not to say Mills would start.
It became stranger when it was reported by Gallery Sports’ very own Hall of Fame writer John McClain that the Texans would indeed be shifting to Kyle Allen at quarterback shortly after Lovie Smith spoke and before Pep Hamilton spoke. McClain has covered the Texans since their inception as part of his nearly 50-year sports writing career.
Lovie Smith spoke to the media before the news broke about the team making the change at quarterback. The first question he was asked Wednesday was whether there would be a change at the position. Smith replied:
“Just so we kind of establish things here, I do not announce who is starting through the week. We have a starting lineup, the last one that we have. When it changes, we’ll let you know. But during the week, of course, we’re not going to announce anything like that. I think that would give the opponent an advantage. Our starting lineup, as far as you are concerned, and I would have said the same thing three weeks ago; it’s the same one until told otherwise.”
Lovie was also asked if he was considering a change at play caller – removing the duty from OC Pep Hamilton:
“Absolutely not. Have I considered a change at play caller? No. All of our coaches are working their butt off. Are we getting the results? No. So, all those kind of questions like that, I think you know the answer. It’s no.”
His noncommittal answer to the quarterback change question led to questions about if the Texans head coach viewed changing quarterbacks the same way he viewed changing play caller – with an absolutely not:
“I’m not going to get into hypotheticals. Like I said earlier, we practice during the week, and I’m not going to go into any of our game plan and what we’re going to do. But we try to improve every position. Coaching-wise, we try to improve from play-to-play, not necessarily just from game-to-game. It’s like that at every position.”
Smith was asked if he did implement a QB change, how did the players handle it. He was not having any of that:
“That’s between us (the players), of course. I talk to the guys every day. So how did they respond? We go over the video; we go over every play every day. The conversations I’m going to have with guys I don’t normally go over those with you, either. Don’t planning on starting on that either. I think you know that too.”
Smith was again noncommittal when asked if Davis Mills was still the best option for the team to win games:
“The guys that we’re going to play are the ones we think give us the best chance to beat Miami. That’s how I’ll answer that question.”
At this point, John McClain had tweeted out that Kyle Allen would be the starter:
Word of the Texans’ QB decision spread like wildfire on social media, with multiple national pundits reporting on it as well.
That did not stop Texans offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton from continuing to deny the change.
When asked point blank if the team had made a change at quarterback, Hamilton curtly responded:
That was it. That was his whole answer. No.
He was then asked what he meant by no since the reporters already knew the news at this point. Hamilton doubled down:
“As in, ‘no, we haven’t made any changes’.”
Hamilton was then asked what he has seen from Kyle Allen, if Allen is going to start, and the coach started demonstrating the five D’s of Dodgeball:
“I will stay away from hypotheticals. I think all the guys on our game day roster, we feel like they give us a chance to go and play competitive football.”
Pep was also asked if he believed Davis Mills still gave the team the best chance to win. He completely evaded the question:
“We feel like Miami’s defense is a formidable defense. They are notorious for bringing a lot of pressure, and we’re coming up with a scheme to feature our starters and make sure that we counter that pressure with the opportunities, take advantage, and hit some big plays.”
Hamilton was also asked if he felt he was deserving of remaining the play caller:
“I just feel like from week-to-week, we’ve got to trust our process.”
Clearly, their evasive nature indicates the change to Allen is coming, following their incredibly staunch defenses of Davis Mills in previous weeks. The massive shift in attitude tells everything.
Why they insist on hiding it and pretending the world does not know? They claim it is for a competitive advantage, but clearly, there is no advantage when the whole world already knows. Denying it anyway just seems silly.
It did not stop them, though.