Gary Kubiak Is the Greatest Middle Manager of All Time
There's an old saying in business that the measure of any manager's (or, for our purposes, any head coach's) true value is in how similarly, in his or her absence, the business (or team) runs to how it would with him or her present.
Photo by Groovehouse Middle Manager Extraordinaire
In other words, if you've done a good job managing and coaching others, the business or team shouldn't collapse with you gone. Quite the opposite -- it should run exactly as it has with you there.
If that adage is true, then Gary Kubiak must be the best goddamn leader in all of sports, because by and large, since his leaving the Colts game in an ambulance a little over a week ago, it's been business as usual for the Houston Texans. The last six quarters, sans Kubiak, they've looked like the same exact team we've seen all season long.
Same defensive mistakes, same second-half offensive woes, same results.
Seven losses in a row. Thud.
The Texans' tumble into the depths of football hell continued on Sunday afternoon, as they moved the ball fairly well in the first half behind the arm of Case Keenum, coughed up the lead in the second half and wound up on the losing end of a close one, this time again by a 27-24 score to the Arizona Cardinals (the same final score as a week earlier against the Colts).
While merely cutting and pasting previous Monday stories after Keenum's first two starts in Kansas City and against the Colts last week would seem to be moderately doable based on the similar final margin Sunday afternoon against the Cards, the game yesterday certainly looked different from Keenum's first two starts.
With all-out blitzes on seemingly every down, Arizona made Keenum finally look like a functional rookie for much of the afternoon. Statistically, it was easily his worst game so far as he completed barely 50 percent of his throws (22-43) for under ten yards per completion and under five yards per attempt. Additionally, while he still hasn't thrown his first career interception yet, he had at least a handful of passes that could have been picked off in dangerous parts of the field.
In other words, on multiple occasions, Keenum was dangerously close to joining CEO Matt Schaub and COO T.J. Yates in the company "Pick 6, LLC" a few different times against the Cardinals' suffocating defense.
As it was, Keenum did fumble on the first play from scrimmage on a straight drop back, a play that saw Matt Shaughnessy of the Cardinals scoop and score, and a play that saw the Texans keep alive the 2013 tradition of allowing a score off of a turnover in the first two minutes of a game taking place west of the Central Time Zone:
Week 1, at San Diego, 14:45 remaining in first quarter
Week 5, at San Francisco, 13:30 remaining in first quarter
Week 10, at Arizona, 14:46 remaining in first quarter
An odd and terrible tradition, indeed.
Two things here: First, did anyone think this Texans team would actually beat their record of 15 seconds into a game in allowing a touchdown on something other than a kickoff return? Second, has there ever been a first play from scrimmage for a season that has been more of a harbinger for how that team's whole season would go than Schaub's interception on the first play against the Chargers in Week One?
The only ironic part about Schaub's interception as a symbol for this season is how early it took place in the game, because chronologically the first play of the game is as far away as you can be from the second half of the game.
And make no mistake, the defining story of the Texans' 2013 (a season so flush with potential "defining stories" that you could sell a set of Texans Defining Story encyclopedias for 2013) is their complete and utter failure in the second half of games.
During this seven-game losing streak, here are the ugly numbers:
Week 3, at Baltimore: 3 points
Week 4, vs Seattle: 0 points
Week 5, at San Francisco: 3 points
Week 6, vs St. Louis: 7 points
Week 7, at Kansas City: 6 points
Week 9, vs Indianapolis: 3 points
Week 10, at Arizona: 7 points