After the Houston Texans fired head coach Gary Kubiak on Friday morning, the flares went up almost immediately: The chase to replace Kubiak would be a highly competitive one because the Houston franchise is a dynamite quarterback and the right kind of coach away from a serious and long-time return to contention.
The evidence for this optimism is impressive. In the two seasons before 2013′s landslide, the Texans won the AFC South each year and compiled a 22-10 record over that time. There has been no team to take over the division in the wake of the Texans’ demise: The Indianapolis Colts are impressive at times, but struggle just as often, and the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars are impressive but unfinished rebuilding projects.
The common perception seems to be that if the Texans get the right head coach and take one of a few potential franchise quarterbacks with what very well could be the first overall draft pick (Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater comes to mind), this is a team set for a resurgence much like the Kansas City Chiefs have enjoyed this season. Kansas City replaced Romeo Crennel and Matt Cassel with Andy Reid and Alex Smith and shot up the charts from their 2-14 season in 2012 to their current 9-3 record.
At the press conference announcing Kubiak’s firing, owner Bob McNair and general manager Rick Smith added to that choir of voices by insisting the Texans are just a few steps away from an impressive turnaround. Continue Reading
Wait, what? Could this really happen?
A few days ago, my intrepid colleague Chris Burke detailed a series of scenarios by which the Houston Texans could catapult themselves from contention for the first overall pick in the 2014 draft to a back door into the 2013 playoffs. Of course, the Texans violated the first rule of Burke’s Law, which was to win out. They’ve now lost 11 in a row after their 27-20 Thursday night failure against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and at this point, Teddy Bridgewater might as well start putting the big red and blue bull on all his towels.
Meanwhile, there’s a stranger possible reality afoot — after an 0-8 start in which they were on pace to set all sorts of records for offensive futility, the aforementioned Jags are hot, hot, hot. They’ve won four of their last five games — admittedly against sub-par competition like the Texans (twice), the Cleveland Browns and a 29-27 Week 10 squeaker over the Tennessee Titans that got this ball rolling. They’re now 4-9, and the players have bought in fully to first-year head coach Gus Bradley’s system. Momentum can be a force multiplier, even for teams that haven’t made the playoffs or had a winning record since 2007.
How is this possible? As Mr. Burke did, I consulted ESPN’s Playoff Machine and discovered that yes, the Jaguars could indeed sneak into the AFC’s postseason picture under the following conditions: Continue Reading
The Houston Texans fired head coach Gary Kubiak on Friday, one day after falling to 2-11 on the season. Kubiak’s replacement will be asked to navigate a quick turnaround for a team that entered this year with Super Bowl aspirations.
For now, Wade Phillips will take over as the interim head coach. He could be one of the candidates to fill Kubiak’s shoes eventually, depending on how he fares in his brief stint at the helm. Houston will be the sixth NFL team Phillips has led and the third as an interim.
But assuming the Texans opt to somewhat start from scratch after the 2013 season concludes, there already appear to be a number of candidates who could be of interest. Texans owner Bob McNair said that he would like to find someone with NFL and head coaching experience. Whether or not he would bend the rules for the right coach remains to be seen.
With that, a look at a few of the names that may be on McNair’s radar:
Each Friday, Eight in the Box will highlight a list of eight players, teams or moments and their impact on the 2013 season.
Entering Week 14, there were 28 teams — including every single squad in the AFC — still mathematically alive in the playoff race. (That number dwindled to 27 Thursday night with Houston’s loss).
Not all schedules are created equally, though, so tougher roads await a few of those challengers in December. Here are eight teams that will be put to the test between now and the end of the regular season:
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.”