Philadelphia Eagles Coach Jonathan Gannon: ‘Mutual Interest’ if Houston Texans Fire Lovie Smith – NFL Sources
INDIANAPOLIS – Houston Texans coach Lovie Smith’s job security is considered to be in serious jeopardy heading into the final game of another miserable season, according to NFL sources who tell TexansDaily.com that the Texans and Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator , Jonathan Gannon would have mutual interest if the job opens up.
In Smith’s first season at the helm, the Texans have amassed a league-worst 2-13-1 record heading into Sunday’s season finale against the Indianapolis Colts.
“No, Lovie’s job is not secure,” a source told TexansDaily.com.
Several league sources have labeled Gannon as a front-runner for the Texans’ potential opening after he made a strong impression during two interviews last season before the Texans promoted Smith from defensive coordinator after considering former NFL quarterback Josh McCown for the job.
Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero are other highly regarded candidates. Former Broncos coach Vic Fangio could be in play as a defensive boss if Johnson, who has done a commendable job with quarterback Jared Goff, is the choice as a possible successor to Smith.
“Johnson is impressive, very sharp,” a source said. “He’s done a really good job with that offense.”
Former Texans linebacker DeMeco Ryans, the San Francisco 49ers’ highly regarded defensive coordinator, is not expected to continue on the job.
Ryans previously filed a lawsuit against the Texans and the NFL seeking damages and alleging problems with the design and construction of the field surface after suffering a torn Achilles at NRG Stadium in 2014.
Gannon can assemble an experienced staff with his ties to former Colts coach Frank Reich, Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and Eagles quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson.
Gannon interviewed with the Texans, Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings during the last recruiting cycle.
According to league sources, Gannon “knocked it out of the park” and “ruined” his meetings with NFL teams, impressing them with his knowledge, creativity, detailed plans for strategy and personnel and his passion for the game.
A member of an NFL search committee said of Gannon, “He knows the answer before you even ask him the question.”
An NFL executive described Gannon, 40, as having some similarities to Los Angeles Chargers coach Brandon Staley.
Staley and Gannon are close friends who grew up competing against each other in youth sports in Ohio.
“Very intelligent and passionate,” a source said of Gannon. “This guy is a superstar. He has worked with greats like George Paton and Rob Brzezinski with the Vikings. It says a lot that those guys think the world of the guy.”
Former NFL defensive coordinator Gregg Williams worked with Gannon when he was a scout for the Rams and with the Tennessee Titans as a quality control coach.
“Jonathan is a really good person with a great upbringing who has never been afraid to do things for others around him and never been afraid of a task,” Williams said. “He has had to advance in business. These are the boys I love the most. If he ends up as a head coach, you have to have an understanding of the job for all the other people at all those levels and those positions they occupy.”
“He’s sharp. He’s a detailed person. He’s a good football man.”
If the Texans fire Smith, they are expected to conduct an extensive coaching search. The Texans are hoping for a long-term solution in a head coach who can work constructively with the personnel department and teach and develop young players.
Where the Texans stand is definitely not in a good place, but Smith expressed optimism that it will improve with more time. Whether Smith has more time on the job will be known soon.
“Everybody associated with Houston Texans football is disappointed with where we’re at, but they’re not giving up hope or anything like that,” Smith said. “I think we all see that better days are ahead.”
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