Texans Kicker Saga: The Randy Bullock Era Lives On
These guys can't kick the ball, too.
Photo by Groovehouse
Tuesday afternoon, the Houston Texans put up a post on the team's Web site to announce that head coach Gary Kubiak was being released from the hospital, less than 48 hours removed from the frightening mini-stroke that he suffered at halftime of the 27-24 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night.
The comments section of the post turned into a heartwarming, de facto "Get Well Soon" card to Kubiak, with dozens of Texans fans and well-wishers sending prayers along to the team's convalescing leader.
However, the Internet being the Internet, there was a small faction of commenters that infiltrated the Kubiak thoughts and prayers with their own set of thoughts (and prayers) regarding the Texans' kicker position.
You can go to the page and see for yourself or just imagine the tackiness of some of these comments scattered amid warm wishes and Bible verses:
Raymund Vinalon · Top Commenter · Alvin Community College - Alvin, Texas "And his first question to the Texans staff outside of press earshot: "Anyone know any good kickers?" Hey...I can dream. Get well, coach. Who knows...maybe we can win 8 straight games the rest of this year...but even if we don't, at least we know we have a quarterback again."
Gary Frers · Shiner High School "Agreed. We need a kicker. The field goals could have been the difference between a win and a loss or at least to keep the motivation going in a few of the losses. Anyone can have a bad day, but this has been going on since the beginning of the season, as was our quarterback situation. It should have been corrected a long while ago, as much as these players make. All that being said, I am a fan and supporter, win or lose."
Bob Curd · Pasadena, Texas "We need to get rid of the Special Teams Coach also."
Josh Sixty-four Isaac · Top Commenter · Boyfriend #2 at At yo girls crib(; "Would be more than happy to have Neil Rackers as a starting kicker again on this team and maybe work with Bullock."
It takes a special kind of
nut job fan to follow-up a dozen "May The Lord bless you as you recover, Coach!"-style posts with open lamenting of the day Randy Bullock entered your life, but never let it be said that I can't serve both factions with a little follow up news on each front.
First, here is Gary Kubiak's gratitude upon leaving the hospital yesterday:
"I want to thank my family, the McNair family, the Texans organization, the doctors and staff at Houston Methodist Hospital and the entire Houston community for all the love and support we have received over the past three days. I've been through an ordeal and my focus now is to get back to good health. Doctors have told me I will make a full recovery but we have not determined when I will be cleared to return to the office. Again, thank you for the support and concern."
That's a nice statement from the head coach, typical class and dignity you'd expect from him. We all hope he's back on the sideline as soon as possible, I don't think there's any question. Gary Kubiak is a good man.
Okay, so are we good on Kubiak, loyal readers? Yes? Okay, now on to the kicker situation...
On Tuesday, the Texans brought in three kickers to try out for the team. For two of them, the Texans didn't have to dig very deep into the Rolodex, as they flirted with rekindling an old flame with Neil Rackers (2010, 2011) or Shayne Graham (2012). The third kicker was some dude named Justin Medlock, whose kicking career is so decorated that the first ten articles that come up on a Google search of his name have to do with a DUI arrest a decade ago.
Why are the Texans kicking tires on place kickers? Well, we know that answer:
Bullock is the first player since 1985 to have a field goal percentage under 62 percent with at least 20 attempts through eight games.— Dave Zangaro (@DZangaro) November 4, 2013
Well, apparently, the Texans' threshold for kicking failure is somewhere below 62 percent because...well...this:
Neil Rackers on his tryout with the Texans: "We all hit the ball really well,but they told us they're not ready 2 make a move at this point"— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) November 6, 2013
For this Texans staff, Bullock hasn't failed nearly enough to lose his job yet.
Randy Bullock, of course, missed three field goals on Sunday night against the Colts, including a potential game-tying 55-yarder to end regulation. The last time he missed three field goals in a game (and yes, that Bullock has had two games already in his eight-game career where he's missed three field goals is an issue unto itself) was in Week 2 against Tennessee. At that time, Gary Kubiak's stance was to support Bullock, vouch that his teammates supported him and attribute some of the shakiness to his being a "young" kicker.
All due respect, that "young kicker" garbage? Well, that's some bullshit right there.
For nearly any other position on the field, I'll accept youth as an excuse for a slow start or a "learning curve." For every position on offense and defense, there's a playbook to absorb, a speed of the game to account for and a physicality that takes its toll.
For kickers, there is one thing to do, and it's the same damn thing you've done since high school -- kick the goddamn ball between the two long, yellow pipes. That's it.
Right now, not only is Randy Bullock not good at doing that, he's the worst of the past few decades up to this point in the season. Even worse, he has now cost the Texans a game.
When it comes to cutting bait, I don't get the mentality of this organization. They held on too long with Matt Schaub as the starting quarterback, and now they're about to do the same thing with Randy Bullock. Loyalty has its place in the world, but at crucial positions on NFL rosters, in a season with only 16 games, loyalty can be costly.
Someday, this team will realize that over-loyalty to underperforming players is the functional equivalent of disloyalty to top performers. How is it fair to J.J. Watt and Andre Johnson that Matt Schaub and now Randy Bullock were/are allowed to fail royally for a month longer than either should have, costing the team precious wins in the process?
For Texans management, the pain of punishing bad performance exceeds the pain of enduring it.
And that's a huge problem.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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