The Resignation of Gary Kubiak
November 25, 2009, 5:47 PM
Filed under: NFL

With the Texans at 5-5 and a difficult road ahead, only a miracle will save Kubiak's job as head coach.

By Jerry Coon

It took me a very long time to put my anger aside and write this column. After the Texans’ loss to the Titans Monday night, I went into a deep depression.

Going into the game, everything looked good on the football front for the city of Houston. The Texans were 5-4, on the brink of being 6-4 and almost assured a spot at the playoffs.

Then, a tragedy occurred.

A defensive coordinator forgot how to blitz. A head coach forgot how to manage time. A kicker forgot how to do the only thing he is put on the field to do.

Let’s start with the defense. How exactly are you allowing a NFL team to run the option? With the opposing quarterback having only his legs as a weapon, why wouldn’t the Texans force him to throw? Why not stack the line with linebackers and shut down any rushing attempts from Vince Young or Chris Johnson (I understand there is no shutting down Chris Johnson, he is the best running back in football at this point. However, wouldn’t you change something up knowing he rushed for 197 yards and two touchdowns in the first meeting?).

Then, Gary Kubiak had 49 seconds to try to tie the game. Not to mention two time-outs to spare. The Texans drove the ball 31 yards in five plays, and then Kubiak waited so he could allow all responsibility to rest on his kickers’ shoulders. Which is irresponsible.

If you have one of the top five best quarterbacks in the NFL, you give him a shot to win the game for you. Period. But Kubiak won’t let that happen because he is more conservative than Rush Limbaugh. With the way the Texans were driving, you don’t think they might have been able to pick up 10 more yards on that drive if the clock was managed a little better?

Nonetheless, enter Kris Brown. Two weeks after the 42-yard miss in Indianapolis, and two quarters after missing a 49-yarder, there is no way he misses a 49-yard field goal to send the game to overtime…right?

As I awaited for Brown to kick, I kept having the same paranoid thoughts cross my mind. “Why is Gary Kubiak obsessed with people named Kris/Chris Brown? Why didn’t he use Steve Slaton all game? Did Ryan Moats get kidnapped? And why do I feel like we are about to lose to the 3-6 Tennessee Titans?”

And then, it happened. Brown misses, Texans lose, Vince Young runs around celebrating like a toddler eating ice cream and I feel like drinking bleach.

And so what now? The Texans are 5-5 on the outside looking in with six games remaining. In order to get to my predicted 10-6 record, the Texans will now have to go 5-1 to finish the season. With road games at Jacksonville and Miami, and home games against undefeated Indianapolis and 7-3 New England, what are the odds the Texans pull off a miracle?

You go as far as your coach can lead you at this point, and Kubiak’s ceiling as a coach is .500 football. I am sick and tired of being paranoid at all times during a football game. Houston deserves better than this. We deserve a coach that can instill discipline and integrity in players. Someone that makes the opposing team scared to come to Houston to play the Texans. Someone that knows how to manage a game and use time-outs correctly.

Unfortunately, Houston, that man isn’t named Gary Kubiak. So if the Texans pull off the almost impossible and sneak into the playoffs, then I am obviously a fool. But if they do exactly what we know they are going to do, which is watch the playoffs from home instead of participating in them, then we have to make a change.

So my plea is to owner Bob McNair and general manager Rick Smith: It’s time to start setting up your interviews, because the Texans are in need of a new head coach.



Three Is The Loneliest Number
November 9, 2009, 10:21 PM
Filed under: NFL

Kris Brown

Kris Brown after missing a 42-yard field goal to tie the game.

(This column also appears for The Sun Newspapers and can be seen at HCN Online.)

By Jerry Coon

I really do hate that Texans’ kicker Kris Brown is getting criticism for this loss, but I will get to that in a minute.

Let’s stop kidding ourselves with these “moral victories.” We aren’t playing for the YMCA. This is the NFL. The truth of the matter is this team honestly COULD be 8-1 right now, as sickening as that is to think about.

They had a goal line opportunity against Jacksonville to send it into overtime. A goal line opportunity against Arizona to send it into overtime. And now, a field goal opportunity to send it into overtime.

All opportunities missed.

That’s three of your four losses right there. The fourth loss coming at the beginning of the season in a blow-out against the the New York Jets.

And if all of these things fall into place, and of course if the Texans pulled it out in overtime on each occasion, we would be talking about a completely different scenario.

However, the reality is that your inconsistent Texans keep underachieving. Before the haunting 42-yard miss, there were a variety of mistakes.

Running back Ryan Moats’ fumble as he was inching his way into the end zone could have been the difference. The 13 penalties for 103 yards could have been a reason as well.

Then, there was the chance to tie. Before the first half ended, Brown nailed an almost improbable 56-yard field goal to give the Texans some momentum going into the locker room. After coming back by allowing the Colts to only score once in the second half, the Texans had two chances to make something happen. One drive ended with Matt Schaub’s deflected pass being intercepted. The next ended with Brown missing what should have been an automatic 42-yard field goal.

It’s very easy to get onto a kicker. Their only job is to kick. So when a miss loses the game for a team, heavy criticism will follow.

We can’t get onto Brown for this, however, because truth be told he is one of the best there is. Brown has had 11 game-winning field goals, eight coming with the Texans. He has connected on 78.6 percent of his career field goal attempts.

So sweeping all of that under the rug, look at the big picture: The Texans are still contending for a playoff spot.

If you look at Texans’ final seven games after the bye week, the Texans should be favored to win four of them. The remaining three games are against the undefeated Colts, the 6-2 Patriots and at the 3-5 Miami Dolphins. If one victory can be pulled out of those three games, and the Texans win the games they are favored to win, is a 10-6 record good enough to make the postseason?

I said at the beginning of the season that it would be and I still feel that way, even after a 42-yard field goal miss made me want to lick a rusty razor.