Photo by Marco Torres Could both emerge un-fired from this debacle? Probably.
Still, those who follow the team closely believe Schaub will retain his starting job. Whether or not that is good for team, or for Schaub for that matter, is up for debate. Despite sounding confident, the Texans's QB looks like a shell of his former self on the field. The handful of times he has curled up in a fetal position on the field when a sack is eminent gives him the look of a PTSD sufferer, which may not be far from the truth considering the four pick sixes in consecutive games.
But, before I go laying all this at the feet of the coach and the QB, it should be noted that they are simply following an unwritten Texans protocol that extends to all parts of the football side of the organization. For example...
Kubiak allowed to remain after 6-10 season.
Kubiak need only look at his own situation to see the issues within the organization. He failed to reach the playoffs in his first five seasons going over .500 only once -- notably, the first time for the franchise. The team fell on its collective face in 2010 going 6-10, the same record Kubiak had in his first season with the Texans. Yet, miraculously, he was allowed to remain. Things turned around after the hiring of Wade Phillips (more on that in a moment) to repair the defense, but it is defensible to suggest Kubiak should not have continued as head coach after 2010. Many were surprised he remained, but Bob McNair loves the guys he loves and Kubiak is at the top of that list.
Schaub given extension after mediocre season.
Statistically, Matt Schaub had a very good 2012. He remained healthy for the entire season and led the team to a 12-4 record. But the team fell apart down the stretch losing home field advantage and crumbling in the playoffs. Their losses in 2012 were of the crushing variety against the likes of Green Bay and New England. Schaub began to struggle mightily towards the end of the year and started throwing the picks that are absolutely killing him this year. Yet, before the start of the season, he was given a long term extension. This is the same guy that missed much of 2011 with a serious foot injury, the same guy who had yet to remain fully healthy for a whole season. In short, he was who we thought he was, not a guy who deserved that extension, but the Texans reward loyalty almost to a fault and here we are.
No heir-apparent has been drafted at QB.
With all due respect to TJ Yates and Case Keenum, neither are the Texans future starting quarterback. Problem is, neither is Schaub and there is no one in the bull pen warming up. Successful franchises see the end coming and prepare. Green Bay drafted Aaron Rodgers when Brett Farve was still putting up big numbers. The Colts allowed Peyton Manning to walk so they could draft Andrew Luck. Even the Chargers drafted Philip Rivers and sent Drew Brees to New Orleans. Smart franchises plan ahead, especially at QB, but some believe the Texans didn't want to start a quarterback controversy and shied away from drafting one. Competition is a good thing. If Schaub can't win his job, he shouldn't have it.
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Hiring Wade Phillips took too long.
Neither of Phillips predecessors had ANY experience as a defensive coordinator before given a chance by Gary Kubiak. Frank Bush and Richard Smith ran the Texans defense into the ground. It literally became the laughing stock of the NFL. The first season Phillips, a proven defensive mind, was on the job, they became one of the best. But, it took years of mediocrity because the coaches hired by Kubiak were his friends. Frankly, I have to wonder if a big time D coordinator would have been hired had the son of one of the most legendary figures in Houston sports history not been available.
The Texans special teams coach since the beginning of the franchise seems like a really good guy, but his time is over, has been for several years as the Texans have consistently been near the bottom of the league in kicking, punting and coverage. I honestly think the only reason he has remained with the team is because he is the only guy remaining from the inaugural season when, at times, the only decent play on the field came from special teams. But when you draft Trindon Holliday only to cut him and see him become one of the league's elite return men, it says something about your ability to bring out his best. No one thinks Marciano will survive next offseason, but he's managed to avoid the ax thus far thanks in large part to his history with the team. It certainly can't be because of his performance on the field.