Good bye 2005, Hello 2006
Figured this wasn't posted and I found it to be a good read.
Hamm's Take: Houston in 2006
By Jeff Hamm, Huddle Network Featured Texans Blogger
Break out the champagne, 2005 is history.
The 2006 season is upon us, time to flush all of our memories from a dreadful 2005. For Houston, it was the equivalent of a pigskin Hindenburg. The Texans were full of promise last season, as most games proved to start of well, but as the world now knows, Houston usually flamed out around the 3rd quarter and were left for dead by the final gun.
This year it will all change hopefully for the better, because if the Texans get any worse, the city may sell the team to the glue factory.
Uncle Bob McNair got rid of every possible reason the Texans were miserable last year and brought in some new talent. Goodbye to Dom Capers, Charlie Casserly and Vic Fangio.
Hello Gary Kubiak, Rick Smith and Richard Smith (no relation).
Since he is the new head coach, lets talk about what Kubiak brings to the Texans. Kubiak was a reserve behind the great John Elway from 83 to 91 and he was a member of three Super Bowl teams.
He has seen the big game, He is a believer! And now he is the Head coach of the Texans.
After Kubiak retired from playing in Elways shadow, he went straight to his Alma Mater Texas A&M. There he showed promise coaching the running backs. One of Kubiaks early protégées, Greg Hill, was named second team, All America, his junior year.
From that point on, the NFL was calling Kubiak. His first coaching job in the leauge was with San Francisco as quarterbacks coach. In San Francisco, he worked with Steve Young during the best season of the Hall of Famers career - 1995. Under Kubiak, Steve Young set career highs in 1994 with 3,969 yards thrown for and an astonishing 70.3 completion percentage. Young was named the Super Bowl MVP after tossing 6 touchdowns and leading the 49ers to a 49 to 26 thumping of the Chargers.
Kubiak moved on to greater things during the spring of 1995 when he went back to the Broncos, this time as an offensive coordinator. Kubiak was able to better his former teammate, the great John Elway by improving all of his statistics, and in the process, help the Broncos reach the Promised Land in 1998 and 1999.
With this type of track record, its no wonder Kubiak is sought after to help mentor quarterbacks to their full potential.
Mr. Kubiak, meet David Carr.
Kubiak arrives graciously in Houston looking at a team that accepted defeat so anxiously a season ago, that they usually only played the first half of most games. Even the Saints, who had the weight of the world on their shoulder in 2005 put up a stronger effort than the Texans. Now with Gary Kubiak in charge, and back in his home town, things may change.
Houston, which has never been mentioned in the same sentence as Super Bowl, may actually have a chance to make the postseason.
Not this year, mind you, but perhaps in two or three years. Maybe.
The key factor is seeing what Kubiak can do with the nearly bygone promise of David Carr. True, the new coaching staff needs to focus on defense, and they have clearly shown their willingness to do so, but there is still the matter of scoring. Whether Carr remains the Texans quarterback or leaves his starting role and assumes another capacity, or goes to a different club altogether, is a question that will be answered in this, his fifth season in the NFL.
If Kubiak can work the same magic he did with Steve Young, and to a lesser extent the magnificent John Elway, then David Carr may really come into his own. He has shown some promise with his ability to make scoring plays happen, but the defense just wasnt there in 2005 to back him up. Carr is at the crossroads of his career. The next couple of years will show if he is going to be one of the greats or wind down his NFL playtime.
Kubiaks offenses has always been paced by the running game. In 1997, the Broncos gave the ball to Terrell Davis and he rushed for 2008 yards, making him the fourth person to ever do so. In 2000, Kubiak turned to Mike Anderson, who set a record for a Bronco rookie by rushing for 1,487 yards.
2002 brought Clinton Portis to the team and he immediately broke Mike Andersons rookie rushing record by going 1,508 yards his first year. Clearly, Coach Kubiak knows how to utilize the run as much as the pass.
Taking over the offensive coaching duties this year will be Mike Sherman, former head coach of the Green Bay Packers (2000 05). Prior to working with Green Bay Sherman was the offensive Coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks in 1999.
Coach Kubiak isnt the only new face in the Texans staff this year, there is also the leagues second youngest General Manager, and former Denver director of pro personnel, Rick Smith. Smith is responsible for identifying talent to bring into the team, as he did in Denver, and overseeing the draft selections.
In addition to this already long line of Denver faces, there is Richard Smith. It should be known that in the late 80s, Smith was the special teams and tight end coach for some football team called the Oilers.
We called Edmonton and they had never heard of him.
Houston has a long tradition of underachievement in football, stretching back 40 years. Indeed, it took the great Earl Campbell rushing for 9,407 yards (career) to even bring Houston into the wildcard spot in the 1978-80 playoffs. The Texans will probably fare better this year than last (unless the turf in Reliant Stadium catches fire), but how far will they be able to go?
In a completely unscientific poll recently proctored by the Hamm institute, 75% of respondents felt Houston would anywhere between 3 and 5 games in 2006.
But with a new Head coach, offensive coordinator and GM, the Texans have their eye on the future. The promise of this club is great, but it is going to be a series of rebuilding steps for the next three years. By that time, David Carr will either come into his own as a team leader and quarterback, or have moved on in his career.
The new additions in Houston already look promising.
The fundamentals are there, as far as coaching goes. Management is solid in its desire to win and the new Draft picks bring a palpable excitement to the Texans organization. Mario Williams, the number one draft pick, will bring the team some badly needed intensity to the defenses pass rush. His choice, by the Texans, over the offensive brilliance of Vince Young or Reggie Bush shows that the coaching staff understands what is needed in the lineup.
Despite a coaching staff made up primarily with former offensive coaches, the selection of Mario Williams goes a long way to addressing the Texans 2005 habit of losing due to defense. It looks like Gary Kubiak and Rick Smith have focused on the weaknesses of the team.
DeMeco Ryans is another good addition to the defensive line. He is a quick, and more importantly, smart player who can keep his balance. He looks small, and this may lull some into believing he will not present a challenge, but he is determined and agile.
Kubiak and the Rick Smith excite me. They have shown in their Draft picks that they are willing to ignore the hype and to select appropriate picks for the team and for the long haul. It is up to Rick Smith to keep the talent coming in, and he is young enough to be able to do this for years to come.
The first and most important matter of business for Houston is to learn how to win. I believe that the defense will take a few years to become calloused into the stopping block they need to be and that David Carr will need to settle into the idea that there are teammates who want to protect him along the offensive line.
It should also be pointed out that there are no star running backs on this team. They will either need to be hired or made. Dominick Davis has shown enough spark that the staff felt okay in passing on potential phenom Reggie Bush. Vernand Morency remains on the roster as well, and after a illustrious career as a Cowboy at Oklahoma State, he will get an opportunity to shine under Kubiak and his zone-blocking scheme.
Despite the potential of a few bright spots, dont expect anymore than the rebuilding process to take over in 2006. I wouldn't expect a postseason run for this franchise for at least a few more years.
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Never heard of him .
What I'm reading, a guy who was up against a deadline and took the easy way out. You'd expect more from the Huddle. No one, saw Walkers wheels coming off the wagon last year. But I applaud his kick'em while thier down aplomb. Nice. If Coach defies the odds and gets this team over 500 at the break be interesting what he writes then.
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