Houston Texans: My McNair Epilogue, Apparently It's NOT On Gary Kubiak
Things I've learned in the last 24 hours:
1. Dunkin' Donuts is re-opened on Bellaire Boulevard and is cranking out some positively delightful coffee and flatbread sandwiches. Highly recommend.
2. Per @OMGFacts on Twitter, the most dangerous city in America is Camden, New Jersey. Breathe easy, New Orleans! You're Kennebunkport, Maine compared to Camden.
3. Texans owner Bob McNair either doesn't read my blog or chooses not to follow my sage advice.
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Can you believe that?
Yesterday, I implored McNair to break the monotony of empty self-analysis on the part of those underneath him, speak up, and say that his football team is being run poorly right now. Sure, technically, in a 2010 vacuum, it's being run just averagely -- the Texans reside in the familiar village of .500 at 4-4 -- but in a business where the goal is a championship, four average straight seasons constitutes four straight seasons of failure. In other words, poor.
Well, Bob McNair spoke up yesterday, all right. And apparently, Gary Kubiak has been wrong all along -- it's not on him. The unbalanced play, the mental lapses, the Jekyll and Hyde performances half to half, the disappointment on defense, the endless running in place that we've endured the last four seasons are not the product of poor coaching. Oh no.
To the contrary, says Bob McNair....
"Gary's doing a good job." Soak that in for a second, Texan fans. Certainly, in the first couple years of a new coach's regime, you can be more subjective with what constitutes a "good job." A coach is still adjusting the roster and trying to sweep out the cultural and physical remnants of whatever dysfunction the previous staff left behind.
But we're now in Year Five of the Kubiak Era, more than enough time to allow the numbers to dictate the bottom line. Subjectivity is out the window. Gary Kubiak has coached 72 games as the Texans head coach. He is 35-37.
Apparently for Bob McNair, a guy who has presumably been successful being far above average in the real world, this is a "good" coaching job.
Then came this salvo from McNair: "Replacing him doesn't help you catch more balls."
You hear that, Jacoby? You hear that, Andre? The frantic quarterback sneak on fourth and two is fine. That's "good" coaching. But you guys....you guys who are supposed to catch the ball...YOU guys need to spend more time at the JUGS machine looking the ball into your hands. Catching the ball, that's the problem.
So with the battle lines drawn -- the players need to play better and listen to their coach, who apparently is very good at his job -- my analysis of the remainder of McNair's media session yesterday.
"You're always going to be criticized if you don't win every game. That's just part of it. If you win, the criticism goes away."
SEAN PENDERGAST: To be clear, I think the Texans fans would be ecstatic with Kubiak and the team if they were 6-2. Nobody's demanding perfection. But week to week, there can only be two results (not counting ties) -- you win or you lose. One is good, one is bad. So yes, the week after bad things happen, there will be criticism. We're on the same page here, Bob. Good.
"I think [Kubiak is] doing fine...."
SP: Uh oh, here we go....
"[Kubiak is] not out there making the blocks and catching the ball, and that's what hurt us."
SP: Let's welcome the offensive line to the pool of blame! Jump in Duane, Eric, Wade, Myers, Briesel! The water's warm! And when you're done soaking in the tub of blame, the blocking sleds are right over there. Get workin'.
"If you replace the coach, will it be easier for the guy who missed the block to make it? I don't think so."
SP: Huh? Will it be easier for the guy who missed the block to make it? Well, I guess since we're not going to allow the new coach to run out and physically help the offensive line, then maybe not, but will a new coach teach a lineman how to block better? Possibly. More importantly and to the point, will a new coach create an environment with strict consequences for missing a block? That's the question. This is a management team and coaching staff that just appears way too comfortable at .500, or to be more on point, feels way too uncomfortable having to make changes to become better than .500.
"If [Kubiak] was making bad decisions, if he wasn't managing the team and if the players weren't playing hard, that would be cause for concern. But our players are playing hard."
SP: This made me laugh. Okay, Bob, the players are playing hard, but what about that whole "bad decisions" and "managing the team" thing?
"I'm disappointed we didn't win Sunday (29-23 loss to San Diego) because we certainly could have. That's the bad news."
SP: Okay, what's the good news?
"The good news is we're 4-4..."
SP: ...which extrapolated out over a full season is 8-8. GREAT NEWS!!
"...and we're one game out of first place with half the season ahead of us."
SP: Behind the two teams who have had a stranglehold on the division for the last decade. This keeps getting BETTER!!
"We haven't missed the playoffs. I don't know why they're upset at this point. ... We've got a long way to go."
SP: No, the annual tradition of missing the playoffs is still a few weeks away. You're right, Bob.
"I really like the way we've run the ball. Arian has become a tremendous weapon."
SP: That's good news for Arian Foster, the one player who didn't get thrown in the grease. He's apparently got immunity from being blamed by the owner.
Just like the head coach. Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on the "Sean & John Show" and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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