Re: New HC candidates
It is hard to read so much cynicism. I do understand it. However, particularly for those of you who ceased to believe in the Gary Kubiak train a few years ago, this is a time for optimism! The leaked list of candidates is a good list. I can not promise the best decision will be made, but it is certainly a possibility.
Also, we can argue back and forth about the state of the Texans' talent base. Other than a claim that we are bereft of talent (like we were in 2005), the truth will never be known. However, we do know that the following equation is well within the realm of possibility:
current talent + new coaching staff + off-season free agents and draft picks could = a 10-12 win season in 2015... We can know this because it similar turnarounds have happened for other teams in recent history (KC). Also, we know it is possible because the current roster is not missing a volume of talent from 2012's 12 win team greater than what could be replaced with our collection of draft picks and free agency potential... Perhaps circumstances were very kind to the Texans in 2012 and that was a big reason for their success... Still, circumstances could be kind again in 2014... Also, if the right coach is in place, fewer dominoes need to fall for a dramatic turnaround to occur.
Let's look at what could happen:
1. It is possible to likely (depending on your perspective) that the Texans will hire a better head coach than Kubiak.
2. Texans are in a great draft position, have all of their picks, and will also receive 2-3 compensatory draft picks somewhere between rounds (4-6).
3. The Texans will be focused on upgrading the QB position and their are a number of options/possibilities that could accomplish that.
4. The Texans are under the cap.. don't have to cut anyone in order to keep what they have and fill the roster with the draft and at least some lower-tier free agents.
5. The Texans could, if the front office and head coach desired, to carve out significant room under the cap and make dramatic changes to the veteran personnel through free agency (only 3 player contracts on the entire roster would have a greater cap hit in 2014 if the player was cut or traded than than their cost under the cap if the played for the Texans next year: Cushing, Hopkins, Swearinger)... This is a huge point! That means that the new coach could clean house with anyone and everyone on the roster, other than those three, and net cap savings by dumping them- the only issue would be the cost of their replacement. The point is, however, that the new coach has enormous freedom to alter the personnel as he sees fit, either to address locker room culture, poor play, etc... That is a very attractive situation for a new head coach. In 2006, Smithiak inherited a cap disaster. The team had unending dead money and huge dollars tied up into low performing and old veterans who were upside down in their contracts- meaning it was cheaper to keep a guy like Zac Weigert or Anthony Weaver around for $5 million a year than to cut him.
6. The Texans will have no worse than the 2nd pick in the draft... and, under this CBA, those are highly coveted picks because huge salaries and bonuses are no longer attached to those picks as they were before 2011. That means their pick will have greater trade value... Also, the consequences for the Texans if they miss on the pick do not cripple and haunt the team and the cap for years- only the missed opportunity to get a great player will hurt the team. (by the way, while Rick Smith's record in the draft is mixed, he has been great in round one- and has executed those picks much lower in the round.
7. Last but not least... The best argument for hopeful optimism right now is:
We're due! Right? Houston football fans are due to have lady luck smile on the team.... I just talked myself straight out of hopeful optimism and into arrogant certainty!! Texans are headed to the Superbowl next year! Reserve plane tickets and hotel room now for good rates.