First Foundation The foundation of a football team lies primarily with the players and the coaches. The players are the immediate actors on the field, and they are the ones that enforce their will on opponents. The coaches develop the tactics and train the players in their application, so a good coaching staff is necessarily a part of a solid foundation. The coaches should provide leadership to keep the entire team focused on the common goal; the players should provide leadership that focuses individual effort in the locker room, training, practices, and in games. The Texans foundation was weak the first four years. The initial players were marginal NFL talent, and as they were replaced the team didnt improve as drastically or as permanently as they should have. The players bear some responsibility for this, but I blame most of the lack of continued improvement on the other part of the foundation the coaches. I think the Capers regime did not perform its duties. Their keep it close and play not to lose philosophy was not a good game day tactic. They did not develop the talent they had available. I can only think of a couple of players whose performance improved while with the Texans. Their leadership was staid and uninspiring. In addition, they hampered on field leadership by valuing lock step discipline in their players over aggressiveness and personality. They sent confusing messages to the players by rewarding playing time based on something other than on-field performance. The foundation is improving. The Texans are picking up some good players and for the most part helping them improve their games. The players should continue to increase their leadership as the culture shifts with the Kubiak staff. Kubiak provides the leadership the team has lacked from the coaching staff. He is a former player, has been a successful coach, and has a dynamic personality and infectious spirit that the players respond to. He isnt perfect and has made his share of mistakes, but he should be able to improve his game as time goes on too. Second Foundation Behind the physical foundation is a second foundation the front office staff. This staff, from the owner on down, is the brains of a successful organization. They must be able to identify and acquire good football players and guide the development of the entire team. Ideally, this second foundation makes the strategic decisions, and if they are doing their job correctly they are virtually unnoticed. They should also act as a correcting mechanism for the coaching staff. Our previous front office had problems identifying talent, which was exacerbated by the coaches inability to develop what talent was there. The previous staff also spent a lot of money on players that didnt pan out. There was a deeper problem with the front office during the Casserly era though too, and that tied back to the owner. The front office had little control of the coaching staff. They could not counteract the direction the team was going because Casserly had no real authority over the coaches. If he had, he would have forced changes under Capers and possibly limited some of the damage done by the coaches, for instance the pathetic offense that resulted from the Capers/Pendry vs. Palmer political infighting. As I understand it, Casserly told Capers to remake his coaching staff before the 2005 season. Capers decided to go with what he had and put his head on the block with the rest of them. Palmer was then fired four games into the season - a move that should have been done early in the off-season. The new front office seems to work well together, but there are some concerns. They seem to do a better job evaluating talent, but that is still being proven. They still spend capital perhaps unwisely the Moulds bonus, the Black bonus, the cost of Schaub, etc. On the other hand, I think McNair finally corrected his most egregious mistake by letting the team move away from Carr. The new Texans have done very well in the draft, but not so well in free agency. The front office is still a work in progress. The problem is there is a lot of power centralized in Kubiak that may belong in the front office. I dont know if Smith has the authority to keep him on track if he starts to derail. Kubiak has done a fine job so far among other good moves Ryans and Spencer were great finds at their positions in the draft. However, he also bears responsibility for the Moulds situation (either he shouldnt have hired him with the big bonus or he shouldnt have been forced to cut him). His handling of Daviss (now Williams) questionable knee last training camp also left a bit be desired. The team was unprepared at running back to start the season last year. Overall the front office staff has yet to define itself. The crucible of the coming season will test this free agency period and the upcoming draft, and the results will go a long way in providing that definition. Gaia That leaves Gaia, which goes by many names. A winning attitude, IT, etc. This expresses itself in a team that can will itself to victory, has some swagger, can overcome adversity, and can win the tough battles. The Texans have never proven they have these characteristics, and they may be the most important of all.