With the Texans at Rock Bottom, It's Time to Clean House, Bob.
You listening, Bob?
Photos by Groovehouse
"We suck." -- Andre Johnson, Texans wide receiver
And with those two words, Andre Johnson proved himself to be the most lucid and honest voice that matters inside the entire Texans football operations hierarchy.
We suck. Indeed.
You thought four straight games with a pick six from your starting quarterback was as low as you could go, right, fans?
Then the St. Louis game happened, and a 25-point thrashing (as a nine-point favorite) later, you realized that you hadn't stopped plummeting. But this was it, this had to be rock bottom, right?
Last week arrived, and along with it came another home loss as a huge favorite to an Oakland Raiders squad that was starting an undrafted rookie in his debut. This had to be rock bottom, right?
Um, wrong again.
Like everything else that's happened to this team from about the time they slipped on those letterman's jackets and preened for the Internet last December, you are just wrong. They are just wrong. This whole thing is just wrong.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
I am happy to say, though, that Sunday afternoon, just after the final whistle blew on a 13-6 loss (yes, another home loss as a double-digit favorite) to a Jacksonville team that is so bad that, well...so bad that they were ten-point underdogs to the Texans, we have now unequivocally reached the nadir for this franchise, this coaching regime, this general manager and this owner.
The whole damn thing needs to be torn down. To quote the warden in Shawshank Redemption, not tomorrow, not after breakfast....NOW.
If you're wondering what Rock Bottom looks like (yes, we may as well give it proper-noun status), it's filled to about half capacity, it fires off celebratory cannons after field goals, it celebrates incomplete passes like they're game-changing turnovers and it's where wins are finally far more detrimental to the big picture of your franchise's future than losses are.
At this point, every Texans loss is a step toward a higher draft choice, a fired head coach, a fired general manager and a new beginning. Yes, losses are better than wins at Rock Bottom.
At Rock Bottom, there is no need to break down the games anymore afterwards. Brandon Harris getting repeatedly burned, Keshawn Martin having hands like feet, Ben Tate's seven carries for one yard, 218 yards of total offense -- come Monday, none of these things matter anymore. Seriously, which individual play on Sunday actually mattered? None of them.
Because breaking down the minutiae of these games is to imply that there is a greater good in winning, and there isn't, because either this regime won't be intact anymore after this season, in which case the reset button gets hit on everybody anyway, or miraculously some part of this regime returns next season, in which case, you as Texans fans should stop caring, because it means the results don't matter to this franchise, to this owner.
You're right, 'Dre, your team does suck.
For so long, there's been conjecture that a likely scenario would be Gary Kubiak's getting fired and general manager Rick Smith being retained. "Why?" you may ask. Most often the answer is because Rick Smith has a contract that runs through 2016. Oddly enough, never does the answer to "Why should Rick Smith keep his job?" have anything to do with strong top to bottom drafts, savvy deals or shrewd management of the salary cap.
As a general manager, what is Rick Smith truly great at? Keeping his job as general manager, apparently.
Firing Gary Kubiak is easy for everyone to understand. Nine straight losses. Good night, go home. Firing Rick Smith is a little less "touchy, feely," but equally justifiable.
A team doesn't lose nine straight games in the fashion the Texans have merely through predictable play calling, falling in love with a bad quarterback, bad special teams and a few wayward replay challenges. Foundational issues persist in the personnel. These are the responsibility of the general manager.
Name me the deal or draft choice that Rick Smith has made where you say to yourself, "Thank God we had Rick Smith here to make that selection." His success in the first round of the draft is well documented. On the other hand, his failure in the second round and beyond, and his gross mismanagement of the salary cap, are two huge reasons that Reliant was half full on Sunday.
Extending Matt Schaub, signing Ed Reed, letting Glover Quin walk, trading up for Brandon Harris, putting faith in Derek Newton, waiting six years to get a number two wide receiver, drafting a bad kicker, having no outside linebackers, having no inside linebackers not named Cushing, having no speed on special teams, drafting Chris Jones then cutting him, only to see him wind up as a starter for New England while you drafted and kept Sam Montgomery instead (before cutting him for disciplinary issues).
These are all general manager issues. Major general manager issues.
Yeah, Rick Smith drafted J.J. Watt. And Dexy's Midnight Runners wrote "Come On, Eileen." Where are they now?
I have a fundamental problem with any regime (general manager and head coach) that is allowed a second go-round in building with high draft picks after the first go-round netted a grand total of two playoff wins in seven seasons (I'm counting 2007 as Rick Smith's and Gary Kubiak's first full year as a tandem.). Not only do Gary Kubiak and Rick Smith not deserve the opportunity to set the course for this franchise for the next ten years, they've proven they are completely unqualified to do so.
Totally unqualified, yet still gainfully employed.
Unfortunately, in the department of football personnel, the Texans' short history shows us that the only thing that Bob McNair is worse at than firing incompetence is hiring excellence.
0 for 2 in that category so far.
So the best argument that can be made for keeping Gary Kubiak this morning is that his mere presence and involvement will greatly help the Texans lose games and secure the number one overall pick. The best argument that can be made for keeping Rick Smith is it will cost Bob McNair a few extra million to fire him.
Welcome to Rock Bottom. Population: You, Houston.
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 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.