"It is flattering and humbling to be invited to interview for a number of NFL head coaching positions, and I greatly appreciate these opportunities. But I have decided to stay with the Ravens. This is a special organization and we, like [Head] Coach [John] Harbaugh says, are building something great. I want to be a part of that and contribute in whatever ways I can." -- Gary Kubiak, like a week ago
Yes, about a week ago, after a 35-31 loss to the Patriots in which he came out smelling like a rose despite the outcome of the game, Ravens offensive coordinator and former Texans head coach Gary Kubiak was all set to remain in that capacity for another season, outwardly happy to play the role of consigliere, Silvio Dante to John Harbaugh's Tony Soprano.
That said, we shouldn't have expected Kubes to have to caveat his enthusiastic return to Baltimore with a "Yeah but." Who knew when Kubiak said he'd be back for another season as part of the Ravens' staff that the Denver Broncos would have a coaching implosion, with John Fox
getting shitcanned mutually agreeing to part ways with the team just two days after their season-ending loss to the Colts?
Clearly, Gary Kubiak didn't, otherwise he likely would've laid low for another week before giving a job status, because as of Sunday night, Gary Kubiak, he of the 61-64 overall record and two playoff wins in eight seasons, is the new head coach of the Denver Broncos.
For eight seasons, from 2006 through 2013, the most frustrated of Texans fans wondered why Gary Kubiak clung so hard to his Denver Bronco inner circle when it came to hiring, and why he was so overly loyal to some players who probably overstayed their welcome by a season or two.
Now, after an interview process that appears to have entailed John Elway hanging out and watching football for a Sunday afternoon at Kubiak's house (a process to fill one of the top head coaching jobs in all of the NFL, by the way), I think it's a fair assessment to say that Kubiak may have inherited the nepotism gene from the top of the Denver food chain.
Now, with his former superior on the Denver QB depth chart back in the 1980s, John Elway, running the show, it's also fair to say Kubiak is benefiting from said nepotism gene. If so, good for him. Let's face it, that's how a lot of hiring is done in the NFL (and in a lot of jobs in general). It's not what you know, it's who you know.
The glitch in Kubiak's matrix here in Houston, though, was always suspect hiring (staff, players, etc.), so while he's benefiting from the "good ol' boy" network letting him back in getting his second chance at a head coaching job, he'd be wise to think more spatially when it comes to filling out his staff and his roster this time. Just my two cents.
Kubiak has to feel completely blessed that his dream job opened up in a city whose opinion of him is so positive that it's not unfair to wonder if they may not have been getting the NFL Sunday Ticket from 2006 through 2013. Never has the carpet rolled out been so red for someone who was three games under .500 for eight seasons.
So while the toughest question during Elway's interview of Kubiak may have involved whether or not to get the crab cakes at Morton's, were it I conducting the interview (or any of the other 30 NFL teams not named the Texans or Broncos), here are at least a handful of the questions I would have asked Gary Kubiak before just handing him the keys to one of the marquee jobs in the NFL:
1. Peyton Manning is our quarterback here. So what happened back in 2012 when Peyton wanted to go to Houston? Why didn't you sign him? You do know you probably would've won a Super Bowl if you had, right?
2. What exactly led you to believe Frank Bush would be a good defensive coordinator? Whose decision was it to hire Wade Phillips after Frank bottomed out? Was it yours or Bob McNair's?
3. Your special teams were not good your final couple of seasons in Houston. Why did Joe Marciano keep his job for as long as he did? Why did he get fired like two days after you did in 2012?
4. Along those lines, Randy Bullock had never kicked in an NFL regular season game before the 2013 season. Why didn't you bring in some competition in training camp for him? What does it say that you had to bring in competition for him in season in 2013?
5. In 2009, you called a halfback option against Jacksonville on which Chris Brown threw a pick. You didn't run anything close to trick play for the next five years. Why?
6. Through 12 games in 2012, you were 11-1 and a near lock for a bye in the first round of the playoffs. You wound up 12-4 and a three seed. What happened?
7. As your 2013 season was teetering on the tipping point of the abyss, you called Matt Schaub a "winner". Define "winner."
8. Also, is this why you went back to Schaub at the first sign of Case Keenum messing up in 2013? Because you do know Andre Johnson absolutely hated that decision, right?
9. You do know that Matt Schaub was fucking horrible from like Thanksgiving 2012 on, right? You are aware of this, no?
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10. Why were you so good from December on when it meant nothing (or almost nothing, 15-10 in 2006 through 2010) and so bad in December when it meant everything (4-6 in 2001 and 2012)?
11. Once you got mostly "your players" in place, in how many seasons did the Texans exceed expectations on your watch? (Correct answer: One, 2011.)
So the countdown is on. Soon enough, Vegas will release its season win totals for 2015. Assuming Peyton Manning returns, the Broncos will be forecasted for around 10.5 or 11 wins. I, for one, am already giddy to bet on the under.