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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Displaced in Cowboys Hell
Chronic: Kubiak is intent of erasing memories of Texans' 2-14 debacle
If it's been posted, lock it up.
By JOHN McCLAIN
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle
Although Houston is his hometown and he is entering his first training camp as a head coach on Thursday, Gary Kubiak does not carry himself like a rookie.
Kubiak may have an aw-shucks demeanor, but spend enough time around him and his confidence is unmistakable.
"Yeah, I am a little nervous right now," Kubiak said. "I'll get over it pretty fast. One reason I can is because I've got so much confidence in my coaches. I like the direction we're headed because everybody's been busting their tails for one cause.
"I'm very comfortable with the competition we have. My biggest concern is our depth, but I imagine most coaches will say the same thing. We've got a lot of good young players. To get where we want to go, they have to step up and make the kind of individual progress that helps the team make progress."
The rookies actually report for meetings today, but practice doesn't begin until Friday, when the Texans will be on the field in the morning and the afternoon.
"I'm so excited about everything, I can't wait to get started," Kubiak said.
Leaving the 13-3 Broncos for the 2-14 Texans might cause some coaches to run for cover at the first sign of trouble, but that's not the way Kubiak operates.
"One of the many things I like about Gary is that he's a winner," Texans owner Bob McNair said. "From being around him these last few months, I can see why."
In the 23 seasons since he left Texas A&M as one of the most prolific quarterbacks in college football history, Kubiak has been part of only two losing teams. He was a backup quarterback for Denver in 1990 (5-11), and he was the Broncos' offensive coordinator in 1999 (6-10).
As a player with the Broncos (1983-91), running backs coach at A&M (1992-93), quarterbacks coach at San Francisco (1994) and offensive coordinator at Denver (1995-05), Kubiak's teams went to the playoffs or bowl games 14 times. He's been to six Super Bowls and has three rings.
"Gary's very decisive," McNair said. "He's got a plan. He knows what he wants to accomplish. His coaches and players know what he expects from them. He makes sure everybody's on the same page."
The Texans are starting their first training camp without general manager Charley Casserly and coach Dom Capers. Kubiak was hired after the Broncos lost the AFC Championship Game to Pittsburgh. New general manager Rick Smith, who, like Kubiak, came from Denver, replaced Casserly after the draft.
Change brings optimism and excitement, and the Texans' cup runneth over.
Among the Texans' most significant acquisitions are the additions of defensive end Mario Williams and linebacker DeMeco Ryans through the draft, the trade for veteran receiver Eric Moulds and the free agent signings of defensive tackle Anthony Weaver, center Mike Flanagan, receiver Kevin Walter, tight end Jeb Putzier, fullback Jameel Cook and middle linebacker Sam Cowart.
More changes are inevitable.
"I can't tell you how excited I am to be here and to be part of something special," said Moulds, acquired in a trade with Buffalo. "And the thing that excites me the most is playing opposite A.J. (Andre Johnson). I haven't played with a wide receiver of his caliber.
"It's going to be interesting to see how defenses play us. We're going to have a lot of fun."
Kubiak, offensive coordinator Troy Calhoun (Denver) and assistant head coach/offensive line Mike Sherman will oversee an offense that ranked 30th last season, including 15th in rushing and 30th in passing.
"A lot of changes are being made, but we've got a lot of talented guys with experience," said Moulds, an 11-year veteran who averaged 78.2 catches and 1,064 yards over his last eight seasons with the Bills. "We know what the coaches want and expect on offense. We've got to get the running game going and develop an overall rhythm."
By the time the Texans host Philadelphia in the season opener, there could be changes at as many as eight positions on offense.
Defensively, the front seven will be different because new coordinator Richard Smith has switched from a 3-4 to a 4-3. Under Smith, the defense should be more active and aggressive, which translates to making and surrendering more big plays.
Last season, the Texans were last in points allowed (431), run defense (143.9 yards a game) and takeaways (16), and 31st in yards allowed (364), interceptions (seven) and touchdowns allowed (45).
"Defensively, I feel great about what we've got up front," Kubiak said. "Drafting Mario and signing Anthony to go with the players we've got back gives us a lot of flexibility.
"Our biggest concern defensively is linebacker. We've got a lot of experience, but we need to get healthy and stay healthy.
"I feel good about the secondary, but I'd like to get another veteran cornerback to come off the bench."
McNair spent more than $50 million in signing bonuses and guaranteed money to acquire the players Kubiak and his coaches wanted. Money hasn't been an issue when it comes to rebounding from the NFL's worst record.
"Sure, we've got a budget, and we don't throw money away, but if they think it's going to make us a better team, I'll find a way to make it work financially," McNair said. "I thought we had an outstanding offseason. Our scouts really did a good job. I was very impressed with the way Gary filled in the missing pieces.
"I have no idea what our record will be, and I'm not going to make any predictions other than I think we'll be a lot better."
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