March 19, 2018

Kubiak Trying To Save His Job, Not the Season

The-RundownThis season is turning into the best reality show in Houston right now, and the Texans are slowly sliding into the top portion of the 2014 NFL Draft. The center of what happen on Sunday in the 28-23 loss to the Oakland Raiders is Head Coach Gary Kubiak. Kubiak made probably the biggest move of the 20123 season by returning the offense back quarterback Matt Schaub after some early struggles from Case Keenum. 

Once again the name of the game was offensive struggles with the offensive philosophy, pass protection, lack of running game, turnovers and lack of red zone success. All factors that have plagued the Texans this season offensively.


Kubiak Trying To Win Not Evaluate

At the 2:26 mark late in the third quarter, Kubiak replaced Keenum with Schaub and the fans of Relaint made themselves heard with the disapproval of the move. Schaub came in a produced the normal field goal game that Texans’ fans have grown accustomed too, and ended up stalling inside the red zone on 4th down to turn the ball over on downs late in the 4th quarter.

Despite the move by Kubiak there is more to the story in our eyes and it starts with the week he was off from the team. This is all speculation but there is reason to believe that Kubiak’s job is in serious jeopardy especially with some key factors showing up since he went down with his TIA against the Indianapolis Colts. Kubiak clearly is not 100% with his early return, especially with him being sent to the coaches box upstairs away from the stress of the side line. If his doctors and team were giving him a clean bill of health they would have no issues with him on the sideline. Second, the move to replace Keenum was a sign that Kubiak is in win mode and not evaluation mode for the remainder of the season. If Kubiak was in evaluation mode then he would have no issues sticking with Keenum to see what he could do.

Something has changed for Kubiak and the move to Schaub shows the desperation for him to find a way to win. All logic has gone out the doors and Kubiak is now doing things he has to do to produce a win. He is trying to make these wins happen with his quarterback in Schaub and the truth is that Keenum is not his quarterback he traded for. The move against the Raiders was to prove he still has what it takes to be the coach of this team, but this move just adds to the questionable decisions that have already been made by this coaching staff this year.


Accountability Arriving A Little Late

For the first time all season the Texans on both sides of the football played the accountability card for poor play on Sunday. Offensively rookie DeAndre Hopkins was benched for mistakes he made in the first half and saw little time for the remainder of the game that resulted in 2 targets and 1 catch for 7 yards. Dennis Johnson didn’t see much of the field after not breaking an arm tackle on a key 3rd and 1 in the 1st quarter and some key pass protection breakdowns. Also, with Keenum’s so-called “struggles” he was given a quick hook when things got a little rough for the offense.

On the defensive side cornerback Brice McCain struggled by giving up two touchdown passes early in the 1st quarter and he was quickly replaced by Brandon Harris for the remainder of the game.

All of these moves would have been good when they were needed most at the beginning of the season when the season could have been maintained.


Special Teams Kept the Texans in the Game

This is by no way an endorsement to keep Joe Marciano in Houston as the special teams coach, but the special teams unit did what they had to win the game today. A muffed punt by Keshawn Martin turned into a 87 yard return where he made people miss and he showed he could separate with his speed to get into the endzone. Not the way anyone wants to draw it up, but Martin made a positive play that started off ugly.  Shane Lechler was flipping the field and downed two more inside the 20 yard line and not to mention he averaged 49.1 yards a punt. Even kicker Randy Bullock got in on the fun where he drilled a 51 yard field goal and went 3 for 3 in field goal attempts today.

This is the type of season it has been, the special teams unit kept the Texans alive in this game. This is for a unit that has struggled the entire season and it shows the inconsistency that has plagued the team all season.


The Three Plays that Did the Texans In

1. (13:38) 1st quarter, 3rd and 2, First Drive of the Game

Case Keenum hit Garrett Graham for a 10 yard game, and Charles Woodson strips Graham to cause the fumble. 6 plays later the Raiders score a touchdown. Score: 7-0


2. (4:01) 1st quarter, 1st and 10 from the Texans 5 yard line

Chris Myers lets his man beat him and hit Keenum in the middle of his throw on a pass attempt to an open Garrett Graham. The wobbly pass is intercepted by linebacker Nick Roach. The next play the Raiders pass for another touchdown. Score: 14-0


3. (2:39) 3rd quarter, 1st and 10 from Oakland 20 yard line

The Raiders are in the wildcat and it is direct snaps to Raider running back Rashad Jennings. He goes unotuched into the second level of the defense and meets safety D.J. Swearinger. Swearinger gets trucked by Jennings after trying to give him a shoulder in the hole. Jennings runs right through Swearinger and 80 yards later he outruns the defense to the endzone. Score: 28-17


The Three That Showed Up


Jeff Tarpinian

He was brought off the streets to fill a roster spot and with Joe Mays out for the game, Tarpinian went to work. He totaled 11 tackles and played the run strong and even got a pass deflection. He showed he could produce against the Arizona Cardinals last week, and today he built on that performance. There is not much more you can ask from a street free agent, but he is making plays needed in both the run game and in coverage to find a way to stay on the field.


J.J. Watt

Two more sacks to his stat list and the only real threat on the defensive line for the Texans defense. His numbers are no where close to where they were last season, but his production that are not stats are off the charts. He is still causing disruptions and commanding attention from opposing teams because there is no one else in the Texans front 7 that can consistently beat one on ones. Watt is still the best defensive player on the team but he needs help.


Keshawn Martin

The game still ended in a loss, but Martin made some things happen with the football especially with his 87 yard punt return for a touchdown. He also chipped two catches for 32 yards and did what he had to do to make a positive impact on the game. Martin has struggled mightily this season, but he did his part to help the Texans pull out a win against the Raiders.


The Spat

Understand both Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson had roles in this verbal altercation. This happen two times in the game, both in the 4th quarter where Johnson cut off his route early in front of the safety, and it happen on the last play when Schaub was almost intercepted. The big issue was the amount of traffic Schaub was trying to fit the football in to get it to Johnson. Johnson shouldn’t have cut his route off, but at the same time Schaub should not be trying to throw it to him with three defenders in the way.

Schaub was very animated on the field and yelling at Johnson to continue his route, but Johnson did not like Schaub calling him out on the field. When they both arrived to the sideline more discussion ensued and they had to be separated by personnel. Johnson had enough and walked of the field before time was up, which raised questions on what was really going on. Johnson took the high road after the game calling it “his mistake”, but it was hard to buy that from the veteran wide receiver.

Frustrations have boiled over and seeing Johnson leave the field is concerning for a team searching for answers. Where the team goes from here will be something to watch, but it is no secret that Johnson is the true leader of the organization and everyone took notice of what was going on.




You can follow Patrick on Twitter.  He is the Editor of State of the Texans.

12 Responses to “Kubiak Trying To Save His Job, Not the Season”
  1. Stephanie Stradley says:

    Actually, I think if Kubiak was more inclined to save his job versus the season, he would have stayed with Keenum. Really, by this point, the best way to save his job is to demonstrate he can help a young QB succeed.

    Going back with Schaub was likely a combination of not liking what he was seeing on the field + trying to win. Sounds like he thought Schaub would be better at running the sugar huddle. I don’t think Kubiak, job in jeopardy or no, was ever in for going to an entirely evaluation mode no matter how bad it got. He’s always wanted his teams to win.

    Ultimately, I do think he does things he thinks will win, without caring one bit what fans think. His first big decision going with Mario Williams over Reggie Bush and Vince Young illustrated that.

    • cartooner says:

      This may be splitting hairs, but I think Schaub was a desperate move to win and save Kubiak’s job. Had Schaub won that game, it would’ve given some badly needed coaching clout to Kubiak, “See? I was right about Schaub all along. I tried it your way and it didn’t work. Now trust me and let me do my job.”
      Demonstrating he can help a young QB succeed might have been plausible had he not clung to Schaub through a record breaking string of pick-sixes.
      I do agree that the desire to win trumps other instincts…except stubbornness against trying something different to win.

      • Stephanie Stradley says:

        Sticking with Schaub early was hoping they could salvage season, playoff hopes, fix offense/Schaub. Beating Oakland with Schaub proves zero.

        Kubiak has zero great options. Limited RBs, TEs, an offensive line that is rotating, and Andre + unproven WRs. He goes with either Keenum and the limitations of a young QB, knowing that the fan base is okay with mistakes from a young local QB who will do both cool and not cool things. Or with more of the playbook/pace with Schaub but knowing his limitations and that the fan base hates him. Not easy coaching either option.

        If Schaub beat up the rest of the easy schedule it does nothing. If Kubiak could put Keenum in a position to succeed for rest of the year, even biggest Kubiak haters might think he could develop QBs. Not likely, but more than if Schaub looks okay against bad competition.

        • cartooner says:

          I still can’t agree, but you do make a valid argument. I just don’t think Kubiak thinks that way. Either way, Gary has dug his own hole and no matter how futile, it’s only fair to let him try to dig his way out.

        • Autonomous Collective says:

          If he is to be believed from his Monday press conference, apparently Kubiak was just trying to win the game. However, if true, it highlights just another coaching weakness in his decision making arsenal. In his effort to change protection schemes and/or go hurry up he is unable to understand the effects of such a move on Keenum, Andre Johnson, the team, and the fans. His linear thinking is what has limited him during the entirety of his head coaching career as he has not demonstrated the capability to think in multiple dimensions.

          The defending of Kubiak through his limited options isn’t sensible. He has had more than enough resources, authority, and a favorable environment to be successful after 8 years. Most if not all of his problems are of his own making. The Texans devote the highest percentage of the salary cap to their top 10 highest paid players. By embarking on this strategy the Texans are going to be thin when inevitable injuries arise.
          This team is a debacle and is closely tracking the 2-14 2005 team with no QB, massive salary cap issues, and aging veterans.

  2. Juan Grande says:

    Can McNair fire a guy who worked so hard for him he has a physical breakdown on the field on national TV? I am not sure McNair is that cold, or would be willing to take the blowback (like becoming the butt of jokes by Jay Leno, et al.). Thus, I think we are stuck with Gary.

    My greatest fear is they will draft Johnny Manzear and Reliant will turn into a “Whoop-fest.” If you want to know – How could it get any worse? This is how. Perpetual losing teams with a loyal whooping fanbase. Aggy coach, aggy kickers, aggy QB. Aggy fans. Great. Thanks a lot Bob.

    • Guest 1 says:

      What the hell? If you want to be taken seriously, learn how to spell or actually get names correct (It’s Manziel, and he won the Heisman, in case you didn’t know). And I have no idea how you put this on the Aggies. Jesus. Have another round.

    • Buddhaelt says:

      You can say what you want but, Kevin Sumlin will probably be the next head coach in the NFL. I just hope it’s with the Houston Texans when he does get to the NFL. Oh, by the way, you can say what you want about the The Texas A&M Aggies. Just don’t forget to say “ok Boss” when you’ve fininshed. I’m not an aggie, either!

      • Juan Grande says:

        I will concede that aggies have a loyal fan base, which is your point whether you understand it or not.

        However, while we have emotion and cult-like behavior on the one hand, on the other, there are facts. And the facts are that the aggies are not winners. They have never won anything.

        You can go all the way back to WWII and you will not find aggie football coming within sniffing distance of a national title. In all this time, they have NEVER finished in the top 4. They had one top 5 finish in the 1950s and then one more last season courtesy of Manziel (and probability says they will regress to the mean after he leaves). In other words, IN THE LAST 70 YEARS+ years of aggie football, the best they have to show for it are two “barely in the top 5” final rankings and no national titles. No No. 2s. No No. 3s. No No. 4s. NONE. ZIP. NADA.

        Furthermore, in the period they consider to by the high point (the roughly 10 years from 1985-95 in which they managed a best ranking of 6th) — it was only due to rampant cheating. Is this really what you want at the Texans? Why you guys want to keep hiring them is an example of the Peter Principle.

        Based on your writing style, it seems you are young which probably means you are unaware that Kubiak is not Houston’s first aggie head football coach. The Oilers had one too. He was handed the most talented Oilers team ever with a record-number of Pro Bowlers all over the field on both sides of the ball. But, just like Gary Kubiak, Jack Pardee could not get the job done. And, just like Kubiak, Pardee’s tenure ended with a spectacular flameout choke job.

        Why in the world would we want to give another one of these guys a chance?

        We have to pray the McNairs have their heads on right this time.

  3. RIP Texans 2012 Season says:

    The Texans as a whole had to tow the line and pretend that they had 100% confidence in Schaub after his back-to-back weeks of helping opposing teams score against them. For the King of Pick-6’es to criticize Andre after one blown play in coverage when there were several moments in the game when ‘Dre WAS WIDE OPEN shows that he’s an arraogant, self-righteous ass. He won’t have his teammates’ backs the way they had his, all because he’s Kubiak’s favorite. (Let’s face it, the only reason Kubes hasn’t traded Keenum out is the UH fans alone would riot.) Schaub isn’t the “Golden Boy” Gary’s making him out to be: he’s a gold-painted turd. A no-talent, hypocritical, self-absorbed turd who feels he can behave any way he likes because he’s the coach’s pet.
    And a gold-painted turd is still a turd.

  4. cartooner says:

    When Gary Kubiak first arrived as HC, I remember reading stories quoting both players and coaches praising Kubiak for his approach of making everyone “accountable”. Accountable to each other, the whole team… Due to the furtiveness of this organization, it’s hard to know what “accountability” means exactly. Lately, “accountability” doesn’t seem to be equal between Kubiak’s bosom buddies and the rest of the team. OR it means, “Im sorry.” with a “Fugetaboutit!” reprimand, or maybe both. Anyway, I’ve had my fill of “players’ coaches”. How about a coaches’ coach?

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