Posted December 06, 2013

Houston Texans fire head coach Gary Kubiak after 11-game losing streak

Houston Texans
Gary Kubiak is no longer the Houston Texans' head coach. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Gary Kubiak is no longer the Houston Texans’ head coach after nearly eight seasons. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

After an 11-game losing streak that had them going from two-time AFC South champions to contestants for the first overall draft pick far sooner than anyone expected, the Houston Texans have fired head coach Gary Kubiak. The MMQB.com’s Peter King speculated on Twitter this morning that the firing could happen, and Jay Glazer of FOX Sports said before Kubiak’s Friday press conference that the coach had told his coaching staff that he had been let go.

The team made it official during a Friday morning press conference.

“This has been a very disappointing year for the Texans organization,” team owner Bob McNair said. “We started out with such high hopes, and we felt like it was the best roster we’ve ever started the year with. We really, really anticipated a very favorable outcome, and to have this string of losses is just totally unacceptable. It’s not what this organization is about. We’re about winning and accountability, and even though we would normally wait until the end of the year to evaluate our coaching staff … under these extreme circumstances, I thought it was in the best interests of the organization to go ahead and start that evaluation process now.

“We felt that a change was needed at the head coach position, so Gary Kubiak is no longer the head coach.”

“We’ve been together almost 18 years, and there’s a lot of history with Gary,” general manager Rick Smith added. “I have tremendous respect for him … We’ve got to right the ship. We’ve got to move forward. We have three more games to evaluate every player, coach and process.”

The former Denver Broncos backup quarterback and assistant coach was hired to lead the Texans before the 2006 season, replacing Dom Capers. He has amassed a 61-64 regular-season record, with two playoff wins in four chances. But the current losing slide, compounded as it had been by a season sweep at the hands of the Jacksonville Jaguars, made the decision an easy one for the Houston higher-ups, though it seemed like an unbelievable option before this season began.

“I want to thank Bob McNair and his family for giving me my first head coaching opportunity in the National Football League,” Kubiak said in a statement released by the team Friday afternoon. “Bob has treated me with the utmost class and respect throughout my career with the Texans.  I am appreciative of him for bringing me back to Houston to coach my hometown team. I want thank the players and coaches for all the work they have put in during my years with the Texans.  Though we came up short this season, the work, effort and sacrifice they gave me and this organization over the last eight seasons is not to be taken for granted. I want to wish them all the best.

“I want to thank the people in the organization for their support over all the years.  We could not have achieved our goals without their tireless work and commitment to our team. Lastly, my family and I want to thank the city of Houston for their support of the football team and our family.  We had a great run here and we will never forget our back-to-back AFC South Championships.  Coming back home was a dream come true for all of us. This will always be our home. Thank you.”

Unfortunately, Thursday night’s loss to the Jaguars was perhaps the clearest indication that Kubiak was lost and flailing for answers wherever he could find them. Houston racked up rampant penalties (14 for 177 yards) that killed its drives over and over, Kubiak made several questionable in-game strategic decisions and the team appeared listless and undisciplined. When Kubiak subbed quarterback Case Keenum out for former starter Matt Schaub and Schaub ended the game in the wrong direction with an interception, it was clear that something in the coach-team dynamic had gone bad at some point along the way.

The loss to Jacksonville was Houston’s seventh this season by a touchdown or less, and that piqued Kubiak’s frustration after the game.

“Yeah, it was another one,” he said. “It’s very difficult when you have 2nd and a yard in a position to win the game, and one play will make you go backwards and go 4th-and-4. If you can’t make that yard, you don’t deserve to win. We had 14 penalties or something, and it’s just ridiculous. [The penalties] didn’t give us a chance to win. I think there were 22 or 23 penalties in the game, and the only ones I am concerned about are ours. There were huge penalties; down the field, pass interference penalties and those types of things. It’s on me. I am the coach. It’s discipline, and it’s just ridiculous. There is no way you should make that many penalties in a football game.”

FLOOD: Fantasy impact of Kubiak’s firing

It’s been a rough year for Kubiak all the way around. Less weighty matters like a complete defensive collapse or Schaub’s implosion into a pick-six machine paled in comparison to the Transient Ischemic Attack, or “mini-stroke,” he suffered at halftime of the game against the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 3. Kubiak sat out until Nov. 11, but when he returned to work, the first public reports of the front office’s frustrations with him had already surfaced. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network revealed that Smith (who could also be on his way out) and others in the building were unhappy with the amount of input coaches had in recent drafts and that the lack of a defensive line rotation led to sloppy play late in games.

Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who served as interim head coach during Kubiak’s recovery, will do so again.

55 comments
slickwilly
slickwilly

The bottom line was that he's a mediocre head coach, otherwise the Texans wouldn't have collapsed the way they did. He'll get at least a job as an OC somewhere and probably another stint as a HC somewhere.

therednorth1
therednorth1

Why would you wait until Saturday to fire Kubiak?  Why not do it on Monday and give the new coach a whole week to prepare for the game?

kdbarbershop
kdbarbershop

Perfect ending for a loser. Kubiak had every weapon. Watt on defense, Johnson, Foster and some said Schaub on offense and yet this is what he gave Houston. Perhaps they should have known what to expect. As a player, Kubiak chose to remain a back up QB in Denver rather than seek out a starting job. What kind of person does that? A loser

JahliSuwaghaman
JahliSuwaghaman

As a Colts fan, I'm really enjoying the 180º from the fan base who quite recently were preaching to our fans about how the AFC South was the Texans' for the taking for years to come.  Yeah, about that, try winning a game in Indianapolis first.

Dumptruck
Dumptruck

$20 bucks says that if Bob McNair offers Jon Gruden both GM and HC he'd bail from ESPN. But that would require McNair to admit that Rick Smith is the other 90% of the team's remaining problems. Which is going to make whomever they do hire as Head Coach life harder than it already will be when he takes over. We'll see...

Mark20
Mark20

He was given lots of talent to work with, basically the same team from last year, and that resulted in a terrible losing season. He was given 8 mediocre years and he failed. This firing makes a lot of sense and probably should have happened three years ago.

TXTRUTH
TXTRUTH

It was time for Kubiak to go. He lost all influence and direction. Schaub needs to go. Special teams coach is now also gone, another necessary move. General Manager should not get to comfortable either.

Lets hope they get the right coach and that is not Phillips.

houndstoothunderwear
houndstoothunderwear

Meanwhile at Penn State...the sanctions continue...coaches and players are leaving...and Bill O Brien may take his Patriots style to Houston for the right price.  But who wants for work for Bob McNair ? Oh right...Bum Phillips kid....

O-$how85
O-$how85

I think I remember about 12 months ago - this coach being one of if not the hottest coach in the league. Trendy pick to win the SuperBowl - till they had a couple losses to end the season - but even going into the playoffs people still gave them great odds. It's too bad how quickly the Owner and GM forget what this man did for their franchise. His players developed significantly - minus Matt Schaub - who really isn't even a mediocre NFL starting QB. Good luck to him.  I've enjoyed watching the Texans these last several years.

mrvicchio
mrvicchio

Thank you Mr. Kubiak, you gave us your all and gave us some good times.  The NFL is rough and this fall is not how anyone wanted to see you go out.  Wishing you the best as you move ahead in your life and career. 

rskins09
rskins09

Why did Kubiak get fired ? ?    Matt Schaub ... Your starting QB is supposed to get better every year --- not regress  every year  ...NFL QB is  30 % of your offense .. Kubiak should have realized Schaub wasn't going to get any better  FOUR  years ago ...He either should have  cut him  or traded him  at least four years ago ...Wade Phillips  isn't head coaching material -- Dallas found that out years ago ...From all the coach's on the hot seat now in the NFL,  owners , GM's  will have to start trolling  the college ranks for a head coach,   Steve Spurrier, Nick  Saban  excluded ....

stagger
stagger

I never understand these mid-season firings. This one is even more confusing. It's not like they have a young coordinator or position coach that they want to see in an interim audition for the HC position. Unless, the consider Wade Phillips a candidate, which if they do, then good luck with that Houston. And, say the team "rallies" around Phillips and wins a few of the remaining games, they could screw themselves out of the first pick.

Don5
Don5

For hilarity's sake I'd love to see Phillips get another full-time gig. 

evileyefleagle
evileyefleagle

If Wade Phillips doesn't already hold the record for number of times as "interim" head coach, he's getting close.

joyer29
joyer29

Well, they have a real "winner" in Wade Phillips. He is a cancer on the squad. 

zzloz77
zzloz77

Good...And don't let Schaub hit you on the way out !...Oh wait...it's picked ! 

KeysSteven
KeysSteven

Oh, I see Bob, because you "really, really" wanted to win this season, you had to give Gary the boot?  I can just picture the hissy-fit a young Mr. McNair might've thrown when his "anticipated" X-mas toy was "unacceptab(ly)" excluded from his holiday haul.  Watch out!


Yes, Doug, "clearly" things are going from bad to worse in Houston.  Texans' players, with key injuries on both sides, had high hopes too and may likewise be feeling a little sorry for themselves.  This is a man Kubiak who "clearly" knows how to build a winning team, suffered stroke in-season and should've been given the respect, the patience from his boss to see it through 2013 and on into the next.  Gary earned that much.  A dog eat dog world.

Inday
Inday

I am not a sports fanatic, I don't even have one item with a sports team logo but I have seen the Texans and relished their winning streak. Last night I watched the game and I wondered if it would be proper for me to pray to God for the Texans. I did anyway. They still lost and today I read this. There is nothing joyful about hopeful things gone awry. I wish Gary Kubiak  well and as for the Texans, I hope they will keep their ship upright and unfurl their sails soon. They have some really good and hardworking players who deserve victory. 

HaiHo
HaiHo

Who wouldn't want to work for Bob.  Look at Kubiac...he lasted 8 mediocre seasons.

RB888
RB888

@O-$how85 . Kubiac  has a sub .500 record. He deserved to be fired.

HaiHo
HaiHo

Too bad Kubiac couldn't see how in love he is with Schaub.

MarMac2768
MarMac2768

@rskins09 I don't think that the college ranks is a good place to look. The Texans are a good team and they have the personnel to win now. They need to look for an experienced coach in the NFL, if not head coaching material, but some good qualified coordinators can take this team to a good place. I think they ought to talk to Jack Del Rio, he did a good job at Jax. OR, you could talk to Mike Tomlin, he's going to get fired at the end of the season. 


OR, hire Greg Schiano away from my Tampa Bay Bucs!!! PPLLEEAASSEE!!!!!! Take him!! Then I can start rooting for them again!!  

Mark20
Mark20

He had Schaub last year and they made it to the playoffs. Same team and this year they are awful. That's why. He's been there 8 years and has been mediocre. BTW, Bill Belichek went 11-6 with Matt Cassel after Brady got hurt. That's a good coach.

Mark20
Mark20

You answered our own question, what difference does it make? No recruiting needed like in college. Kubiak has run his course. Better to tell him to go home and take a break. The water boy could coach this time at this point. They suck, who cares?

Mark20
Mark20

One of the best D coaches in the league. Their defense is ranked number 1. Learn a little about football. And yes, he should not be a head coach.

rskins09
rskins09

@joyer29    When he was with Dallas, a lot of NFL  Scouts  - anonymous -- used to say that Wade  Phillips looked like a retired  milkman when  on the Cowboy's  sidelines .. From PFW ..He was awful  and surprised  The Jerry,Mr know-it-all , kept him as long as he did ...

6marK6
6marK6

@joyer29 In what sense? He has been a proven defensive coordinator everywhere he has been. I think injuries got the best of the Texans this past year. Cushing can't stay healthy.

Ryan19
Ryan19

@zzloz77 Did it get returned for a TD?  I'm guessing it did, right?  

houndstoothunderwear
houndstoothunderwear

@HaiHo Kubiak has shown himself to be on a par with Jason Garrett...who may be on a hot seat also if Jerry Jones didn't love him so much 

DaM
DaM

MarMac2768 If you believe the Rooney family will fire Tomlin over the sideline incident or even this one poor season you obviously have no clue whatsoever about the Pittsburgh Steelers organization.  While I believe Todd Haley could be out I seriously doubt they will fire Tomlin.  He has only been with the team 7 years as of January 2014.. (Hired Jan 22, 1997) and in that time won a Lombardi and went to another Super Bowl.  During his entire tenure as head coach the worst complete season record has been 8-8 (2012) and has amassed a regular season record of 68-40, a far cry better than other "hot seat" coaches or those fired already like Gary Kubiak

DaM
DaM

it would be entertaining though

Mark20
Mark20

Sorry, they are ranked 9th in the NFL.

Mark20
Mark20

Look, get over it. Dungy, Cowher, Gruden,,,,ARE NOT GOING TO COACH AGAIN! They are making 7 figure incomes working 25% of the hours, see their families, don't have the stress of the responsibility etc. It's been years since they left. They ain't comin' back. Move on.

SteveNicewanger
SteveNicewanger

With the talent the Cowboys have , they should have won the Super Bowl at least twice. Garrett is not the problem, however. It's Jerry Jones. Jones considers the Cowboys, his toy to play with as he chooses and to hell with the fans. He will buck no independent thinking from any coach no matter how good he is...think Rob Ryan.Garrett does exactly what Jones tells him to do so there is no conflict between them. The Cowboys will always be a mediocre 8-8, 9-7 team as long as they are owned by Jones, no matter who the coach is. Eventually Jones will wind up like Al Davis and fear getting old and outdated rather then building a winning football team.

kdbarbershop
kdbarbershop

Garrett is also a weak coach, and only got job because he stayed in Dallas instead of taking other jobs. Technically ur right about one thing. At 7-5 (two games over .500) Dallas is leading the division., but even you know Dallas is underwhemingly.

fabio.fantone
fabio.fantone

On par with Jason Garrett?? What are you smoking? Garrett hasn't lost his teams by any means and lat time I checked the standings, his team is leading their division.

MarMac2768
MarMac2768

@Mark20 You do remember the name Vermeil don't you?? Never say "ain't comin' back' when it comes to those competitive juices. 

Mark112
Mark112

Gruden makes Gary Payton sound like a mute - or in other words, Gruden is a big mouth.