Given how the drafts are handled, it is hard to disentangle what is coaching, what is GMing.
I do not buy that this is a team that is chalk full of talent. I wouldn't want to be mandated to play a noob UDFA behind a inconsistent line, no healthy TEs/RBs.
Though the pick 6 fest was likely not predictable, the other roster composition/question mark issues were:
*right side of line
*RB health, and future of RB with Tate leaving
*Thin at TE for a team that uses 2 TE a lot, particularly with concerns on offensive line.
*a quarterback that had been in significant decline end of 2012, with no real plan of future replacement.
*hardly any NFL catches for any WRs not named Andre Johnson, and the route errors that come from that.
*no production from d linemen not named JJ Watt and Antonio Smith. Hoping to see something from Earl Mitchell that had never been seen from him.
*linebacker group was so thin, injured, inexperienced, that they tried out Brooks Reed at ILB during camp.
*safety. I don't want to even talk about it because it makes me stabby.
*corner. I don't crush JJo/KJ as much as some because they are asked to play man a ton without the pass rush, safeties that would help. But not their finest year, and all the other corners are a testament that you don't want Smith picking corners. (BTW, Frank Bush was a huge KJ supporter in that draft given his relationship with Saban).
*unproven kicker with no competition.
*little team speed in general, very little for special teams.
In an AFC that is wide open for those teams who didn't quit, Texans had a tough early schedule, had everything break bad, missed their high expectations and gave up the season by going all in on Keenum.
The case for Rick Smith is summed up by Jerome Solomon. The short version implies that McNair knows whose decisions were whose, and that Rick Smith wanted to (mortgage the cap) to get Peyton Manning, and coaches were um no.
I've talked to NFL folks outside the Texans who knew the relative cap situations of Denver, Titans, Texans, 49ers, and believe that there was no way that the Texans could have realistically been in running for teh Peyton. That Texans being floated as a name was all about negotiation leverage.
But theoretically, the reason why Rick Smith stays is because of deals he didn't do. Because he was so damn ineffectual and non-persuasive at his job, he wants credit for alternative histories that did not happen. And take zero responsibility for stupid stuff like having a team full of needs but getting old, broken, forever rabble rousing Ed Reed as the big off-season acquisition without bringing Wade Phillips as part of the decision making process. (An adult supervision GM woulda gone nah).
But boy howdy, now he seems to be bucking for more power given unnamed "front office" rumors
Oh goody! So we get to see what Rick Smith looks like when he gets the training wheels kicked off. Nothing. I mean nothing in his background makes you go, "Whew, it is a good thing Rick Smith is handling this draft."
The process is set up for failure. Who wants to work for a "front office" who complains to people in the media as their head coach is recovering from stroking out? Personally, I like the clean house model where you pick the GM, let the GM pick the coach. How is it that the Texans want an experienced HC, but don't impose that same criteria to Rick Smith?