UPDATE: Gary Kubiak Fired: The Kubiak Era Is Finally Over

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Photos by Groovehouse
Our long, local nightmare is over.
UPDATE: Many Texans fans will rationalize their exuberance over another person losing his job today as "hey, it happens"-type collateral damage, and as one very large step back to "football fan happiness" for most of us.

No tears should be shed for Gary Kubiak. He made a lot of money to lose more than he won, and to ultimately fail as the head coach of the Houston Texans.

However, once the party tonight is over, and you begin to distract yourselves with coaching "hot lists" and mock drafts, I would encourage you to go back and watch the press conference today one more time. Look at the luminaries on that dais, listen to the answers. Watch Bob McNair defer to general manager Rick Smith on roster questions.

You see it now, don't you? Yeah, we are all still screwed.

The 2013 Texans were as poorly coached a team as I've seen in my nearly four decades of watching NFL football. Poor decision making, poor play calling, poor roster management, just everything. Poor, poor, poor.

However, you don't arrive at 2-11 (on the Shitbird Express to 2-14) by having a roster that's even close to functional. Rick Smith has had almost as much time as Gary Kubiak to construct a sustainable, winning NFL roster, and what do they have? Massive offensive line issues, no pass rush, no quarterback, horrific special teams, a slew of bad draft picks (many still playing prominent roles with the team because they're just less shitty than the ones who've been let go), a salary cap situation that can best be described as "fiscal gridlock," and a Red Wedding of dead cap money that they may have to choke on this offseason.

Whose fault is that?

Well, that's the fault of Rick Smith, father of Cal McNair's godson, and the guy who, when the media asked questions to Bob McNair about the roster today, McNair turned to for answers. Unfortunately it would appear that he is the guy McNair will turn to when it comes time to make the first pick of the 2014 NFL Draft.

And this, friends, should scare the ever loving shit out of you.

If ever an NFL coaching/front office situation called for a full housecleaning, a football CTRL-ALT-DEL, the 2013 Texans is it. If ever there were a time to find a bright football mind as a GM who could then hire a coach, draft a quarterback, and y'know, do things that successful NFL teams do, this was it. Instead, McNair has been snowed into leaving it up to Rick Smith who has done nothing to prove he is up to the task that is about to be at hand.

However, if Harvard Business School needs someone to teach a course on insulating and politically aligning themselves, Smith has a five star syllabus for that.

Firing Kubiak was only going to be truly meaningful as a part of terminating the whole regime. As it is, the significance of what happened to the ousted head coach was only in that a famous native Houstonian, a generally popular one until the last few years, lost his high profile job. Life will go on for Kubiak.

So go celebrate, Texan fans, if that's what you want to do, but just know your franchise did not win today. Much like his team on the field these last seven games, all games in which the Texans have lost by one score or less, as an owner Bob McNair did some good things today.

He just didn't finish the job.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: After nearly eight seasons of sub .500 football, briefly elevated by two division titles, and multiple new standards set for hitting rock bottom this season, the Gary Kubiak Era ended on Friday morning as owner Bob McNair announced that he had fired the now former Texans head coach this morning.

McNair told a media contingent this morning that the evaluation of Kubiak had been an "ongoing process" throughout what had become an "unacceptable" season, but that ultimately losing a second time to a less talented Jacksonville Jaguars outfit on Thursday night was the breaking point.

Ultimately, it appears that Kubiak's decision to ride Matt Schaub and insert him back into games the last few weeks factored in as well as the development and evaluation of Case Keenum was a topic McNair touched upon frequently, including a declaration from McNair that Keenum would be the starter the rest of the way.

McNair was clear that this is not expected to be a long rebuilding process, citing the overall talent level of the team, a clear indicator as to how safe Rick Smith (who was at the press conference alongside McNair) is in his job as general manager going forward.

"We are here to have a winning culture, and this year has not contributed to that. We've got to turn this around," McNair proclaimed.

The search begins immediately for the man who will be tasked with establishing that culture.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.

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21 comments
garage_door_opener
garage_door_opener

while I agree that Smith should also be gone, it's not as clear cut as the Kubiak decision – and Smith contract is the bigger issue. McNair does not want to pay two GMs for several years. While Smith's salary cap management has been lacking, like someone below said, give this roster to Belichik – or even a lesser but credible coach – and this is far from a  2-11 team. Smith's missed more than hit as of late, but you were among those touting this team as a conference contender before your revisionist history took hold. No?


More important, you've once again shown your immaturity and thinly veiled disdain for everything Texan. This piece should have been an insightful, honest assessment of Kubiak's past and the team's pending future. But you're not capable of that. Even the word "FINALLY" in the headline reveals your enduring cynicism and childishness.

Elephant-Talk
Elephant-Talk

The Texans started the season as a legitimate SuperBowl contender. That's what I heard a lot of the talking heads say - locally and nationally. Not a peep from anyone that Rick sucked and the Texans had no talent to compete. Just the opposite, we had a talented team and the SuperBowl is a real possibility. So what changed? Did all that SuperBowl talent evaporate? Those multiple ProBowlers morph into taxi squad guys? No. The talent is there and hopefully soon the coaching will be too. Rick hasn't been the problem, the lack of quality coaching has been. Do you think Belichick would be 2-11 with this squad?

Puller58
Puller58 topcommenter

Again, McNair's grandfatherly demeanor appears to be distressingly accurate.  Yes, he finally bit the bullet and fired his "adopted" son, but his "other" son is still in his good graces.  (The various reports that McNair lobbyied for Ed Reed's signing shows how Smith saves his bacon.)  And as I suspected, Kubiak's stubborn loyalty to Schaub cost him, but fear not, as I'm sure Mike Shanahan will find a spot on his staff for the guy who gave his dimwit son a job.  Yessiree gang, Houston, we have a problem.  (Just pray that Wade Phillips isn't "hired".)

michjksn
michjksn

Fantastic assessment Sean, absolutely and positively 100% spot on.  Smith too is EVERY bit a charlatan in his field as Kubiak was. Today, one half of a malignant tumor has been cut from the body Texan with the other half apparently (and tragically) left in place...  Priceless.  As usual for this franchise, the distant refrain of 'Send in the clowns' plays softly in the distance...

MelADavis
MelADavis

Eh.  Our roster (including what we get back from injury, and there will be some inevitable dead or expensive weight cut) can be coached into a winning team with the right staff.  Smith hasn't shot himself in the foot yet, and I would expect more coaching changes (Dennison, Marciano, at the very least) in the off-season.  Obviously - new HC can clean up coaching to his own taste.  


A big majority of our problems came from coaching - not our draft picks and not necessarily our cap management.  


It can be turned around next year.  

rdorr1
rdorr1

I agree, we'll see how this plays out. Good article. McNair seems to really not like to have to make decisions at all. His meekness, softness and lack of will affects his whole organization.

foolio
foolio

Gruden...get him now. Pay him whatever he wants.

amycardice
amycardice

I think this author honestly expressed his opinion. ... And you respond with an ad hominum attack? Classy.

And what people thought of the Texans' talent before this season is largely irrelevant. Those people could have been WRONG. But they're not the GM. The players proved over the past several months that they're not very good. People are free to change their opinions in this country.

westsidebilltx
westsidebilltx

Give it up GDO.  Your complete lack of NFL roster-building knowledge is absolutely blinding; you really shouldn't post here until you learn the basics of NFL football.  Right now, you're embarrassing the Opener family with each silly post you make like this one.

amycardice
amycardice

I heard several people say that Smith was bad at assessing talent and had this team in a terrible salary cap spot.

I also heard folks say that Kubiak was great.

People are often wrong.

westsidebilltx
westsidebilltx

@Elephant-Talk Please don't post here.   What you don't know about football is literally everything there is to know.  Your post is flat-out as incorrect as it can be.

joshabout
joshabout

Thanks for the laugh, I peed my pants laughing

westsidebilltx
westsidebilltx

@Puller58 Kyle Shanahan has actually done pretty well for a VERY young NFL coordinator.  When actually given the reins to an offense, he's been pretty dang effective when his talent is at least average.  


But you are right about McNair - he shouldn't be done firing folks just yet.  Smith HAS to be the next to go - and don't give up hope, just wait until after the season is over and more front-office execs are available for interviews...

westsidebilltx
westsidebilltx

@MelADavis Mel, name 10 strong, QUALITY contributors on the Texans team right now that Slick Rick has drafted in the past 4 seasons.  Naming only 10 should be easy - that's only 2-3 guys per draft.  No doubt you can't do it.

westsidebilltx
westsidebilltx

@foolio Your moniker is appropriate.  Come back and post when you rejoin 2013 and leave 2004...

Puller58
Puller58 topcommenter

@foolio The only problem with him is he's a hardass that might not be able to find a QB that can deal with him.  (Ask Keyshawn Johnson about Gruden's bedside manner.)

dmcTexan
dmcTexan

@foolio Did you not see how it ended for him in Tampa? Why would we want that?

Puller58
Puller58 topcommenter

@westsidebilltx @Puller58 With Kyle, there was a flap recently where he appeared to throw RGIII under the bus.  Now Mike supposedly was a huge jerk when he was in Denver, so Kyle might be covering for that, so maybe he's good at his job but stuck carrying "family honor."  As for Smith, one would hope McNair would find the door for him as well.  McNair would be wise to hire someone for the GM job that has a track record and then give them the green light to bring in a head coach.  Granted, Casserly had a "record" but he and Capers whiffed too often, but the current regime is a dud.  Wait till next year...

Puller58
Puller58 topcommenter

@westsidebilltx @Puller58 I sure wouldn't want Shanahan here were he to be fired.  (Think about how many QBs her went through after Elway.)  Yes, I could see Thompson being a good "get."  Just not another Ladd Herzog.  The things Bud Adams did in Houston was just idiotic, and hopefully McNair is willing to bring in a real GM and not a flunky.

westsidebilltx
westsidebilltx

@Puller58 @westsidebilltx Thank you for acknowledging the fact Smith has to go.  I don't mind Kyle Shanahan but will have nothing to do with defending his father (you know, WINLESS in postseason without Elway).  I say go throw about $4M a year and full football operations control at Ted Thompson and see what happens...Smith is CLEARLY not part of the solution - he's a GD politician and nothing more.  NOTHING.

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