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Join Date: Dec 2006
Richard Justice: Kubiak has had enough time
Only seven NFL head coaches have more tenure than Gary Kubiak, and all seven of them have gone to the playoffs at least twice.
The Packers, Saints and Vikings hired head coaches the same off-season the Texans hired Kubiak, and they've each gone to the playoffs twice.
The Cardinals, Falcons, Ravens and Dolphins changed coaches since Kubiak was hired, and they've all been to the playoffs.
Have you checked out the Bucs or Chiefs? They're being rebuilt in a hurry.Do you think they might get to the playoffs before our little Texans?
Every situation is different. Yes, Kubiak inherited a 2-14 disaster of a team. Yes, he plays in a tough division. At some point, though, enough is enough is enough.
Kubiak has had enough time. Rick Smith, too. If this coach and this general manager don't get the Texans to the playoffs in their fifth year, there's no reason to think they're ever going to do it.
Every season is starting to look like every other season for this franchise. The Texans aren't terrible, but they're not very good, either. They're just there, painting the town gray.
They beat the Colts. They rallied gallantly to beat the Redskins. Just when you started to believe in them, they got run off the field by the Cowboys. When they miss the playoffs again, we can't even say, "At least we beat the Cowboys."
Optimism only goes so far
Let's not make this just about Kubiak, even though that's the simplest place to start because this latest meltdown is on him and his inability to get his team to make winning plays.
If you still believe in the Texans today, you're an extreme optimist. Speaking of optimists, the Texans sold out Reliant Stadium for the 87th straight game Sunday afternoon.
Keep that number in mind the next time someone tells you Houston isn't much of a sports town. Do you think fans in Boston or Chicago would keep buying tickets if they had a team like the Texans? We're either very loyal, very optimistic or we're really, really into tailgating.
Midway through Kubiak's fifth season, 15 NFL teams have better records than the Texans, including seven in the AFC. If the season ended today, the Texans wouldn't come close to making the playoffs.
With road games remaining against the Jaguars, Titans, Eagles and Jets, they're going to need a great finish just to finish .500, much less make the playoffs.
Let's not let Rick Smith off the hook here. He has had four drafts and four free-agent classes. After all that reshaping of the roster, how many players do the Texans have who are among the five or 10 best at their positions?
Andre Johnson? Absolutely. Arian Foster? Definitely? Mario Williams? When he shows up. How about Brian Cushing? Nope, not this year.
As for three other No. 1 picks — Duane Brown, Amobi Okoye and Kareem Jackson - let's be kind and say they're a work in progress.
Schaub not exempt
How about Matt Schaub? Last week, Kubiak said he was playing well. He said the same thing of Mario Williams, so maybe his words shouldn't be etched in stone.
Schaub's numbers are down across the board, but maybe those shouldn't be emphasized too much since Foster has given the Texans a dimension they've never had before.
But the Schaub number that ought to frighten Kubiak more than any other is the sack total. After getting sacked 25 times all season, he's on a pace for 42 this year.
The bottom line is that the Texans have lost four of six since that 2-0 start and are tied for last place in the AFC South. Unless something turns around dramatically, they'll start playing out the string about on schedule.
Could Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy take this roster to the playoffs? Could they get them to cut down on their mistakes, to play with more resolve? Or has Rick Smith dealt Kubiak an impossible hand?
All that's clear is that a season that began with such optimism is slipping away as usual. And Kubiak has had enough time to fix it.