The Houston Texans aren’t in a good place coming off their bye week. Although Matt Schaub’s health is described as “fine” by head coach, but the team is instead going with Case Keenum as their starting quarterback. At just 2-5, the Texans are hanging onto postseason hopes by a thread, and one misstep will end any playoff push they hope to make.
For a moment, let’s pretend the Texans aren’t trying to find a way back into the postseason discussion. Let’s instead pretend they’re just trying to find a way to win a couple games, which to be fair, may actually be the case.
Gary Kubiak isn’t exactly on firm ground in relation to his own job. We’ve seen coaches make midseason changes before, and usually the net result is exactly as expected. The coach loses on his gamble, and he’s promptly shown the door at the end of the season. That’s what may be happening in Houston.
By benching Matt Schaub, Gary Kubiak is hoping to buy some time by showing strong growth with a new quarterback, and last week’s early returns from Keenum were solid. Although the Texans lost to the Chiefs, it was only by a margin of one point, and the Chiefs remains as the only undefeated team in the league.
Still, it’s not often we see this sort of gamble pay off in the long run. Matt Schaub has been the operator of the Texans’ offense since 2007, and there’s just no way to make up for that kind of experience, even with an excess of raw talent. Frankly, Keenum isn’t bad, but he’s not going to be able to match Schaub, even on his best days.
The Texans are simply in a situation where staying the course isn’t an option anymore. There’s too much external pressure and internal uncertainty to keep plugging away. Although I’ve used the example often, other teams that are worse off are on more stable ground.
The Jaguars, for instance, knew they were in for a rough season from the get go, and because of that, they’ve been able to continue plugging away at the task at hand. That’s a luxury the Texans don’t have, and with their season collapsing around them, we’re beginning to see some decisions that appear to be out of desperation, not out of careful calculation.
Gary Kubiak, in choosing Case Keenum over Matt Schaub, is making a bold move that could save his job. Whether it works or ultimately fails will be seen in due time, but for now, keep a close eye on how the Texans perform out of the gate against the Colts this weekend. That game will set the tone for the rest of the season, for better or for worse.