Is Gary Kubiak Going to Be the Next Norv Turner?
Despite what you heard, the Houston Texans will be playing football on Sunday. Not all of them, maybe. But nine of the guys will suit up and take the field for the AFC in the Pro Bowl. Sure, it's not the Super Bowl, but who really cares about the Super Bowl, right?
There is no more hope.
The Texans ended the season on a disappointing note, not really bothering to show up for the last month and a half of the season. They won a playoff game for the second year in a row, but were blown out in the next round of the playoffs by a team featuring superior coaching and a superior quarterback, and with an ability to run a hurry-up offense that didn't involve the use of a huddle.
With the disappointment that marked the end of the season, I noticed that some of my colleagues here at the Press, along with many fans I know, suddenly started advocating that head coach Gary Kubiak be fired. This was a position I've been advocating for years, back when the Texans were a losing football squad and people were talking about how wonderful it was that Matt Schaub was the MVP of the Pro Bowl.
Here's the thing. That's not going to happen anytime soon. It's nice to complain. It's nice to talk about how out-classed Kubiak is by many of the other coaches in the NFL. But the boat on firing Kubiak set sail when Bob McNair decided it was better to hire Wade Phillips to coach the defense than it was to hire a coach capable of taking a team a to the Super Bowl. He stuck with Kubiak.
And it's worked. The Texans have made the playoffs for two straight seasons. They've got an elite offense featuring Arian Foster and Andre Johnson. J.J. Watt is a stud on defense. This is the team that those who preached patience with Kubiak said it would become. Give him the time, and the studs would perform and the team would become a playoff contender.
Okay, maybe Schaub's not the most mobile of quarterbacks. Maybe Schaub can't throw a bomb, time and time again underthrowing wide open receivers. And sure, Schaub can't run a hurry-up offense, and you can count on him to throw an interception at just the wrong time at least once a game.
And maybe the "offensive genius" that is Gary Kubiak has never figured out how to use James Casey. Or that the only decent receiver after Johnson is tight end Owen Daniels. And that year after year the team keeps trying to sell us on Kevin Walter as a number two receiver. Sure, the special teams are horrific year after year. But the Texans play in a bad division, and if they can keep the Colts at bay, they should be able to make the playoffs for the next several years.
The team will tease us. They'll look great one week. They'll look awful the next. Much like they do now. Andre Johnson will be wide open on a post route only to have to stop and back up ten yards in order to catch Schaub's wounded duck of a bomb which will result in the Texans having to settle for a field goal because the offense still can't operate inside the red zone.
Over the next several years, Johnson will continue to age and ultimately retire. Defenses will continue to focus on Foster because they know they don't have to worry about Schaub beating them with the deep ball. Kubiak will keep calling the draw play on third and long, and it will keep failing to work. And always will we wonder about whether the kicker's going to have enough leg to nail a field goal.
The years will pass and suddenly the teams will stop biting on the play-action fake. The Texans will struggle to make the playoffs as a wild card, where they'll lose in an upset to a team on the rise. Then the next season, the Texans will miss the playoffs and they'll have a losing record and the Texans will have turned into the Sand Diego Chargers and the team will become a national laughingstock because the owner won't fire
Norv Turner Gary Kubiak and the fans can no longer blame Jacoby Jones.
It didn't have to be this way. Kubiak could've and should've been fired after the team went 6-10. But he wasn't. And it's too late to fire Kubiak now because the kind of coach you get when you fire the coach of a playoff team is Norv Turner and that's the type of team that stays mediocre.
You wanted Kubiak to keep his job three years ago, and you got your wish. It's just a shame the rest of us will have to keep suffering.