There was little doubt Texans now-former head coach Gary Kubiak was going to be fired at the conclusion of the Texans’ most disappointing season in franchise history, and that was before the Texans lost for the second time in as many weeks to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Now, with Kubiak officially ousted as the Texans’ top coach, the healing process can begin.
General manager Rick Smith, who was considered on at least a warm seat, is safe for the time being, and he’ll be helping owner Bob McNair put the Texans back together. Wade Phillips, as expected, will be taking over as Houston’s interim head coach, a position Phillips has occupied with many teams over the course of his career. Still, the biggest piece of news aside from Kubiak’s firing has to be that Case Keenum, not Matt Schaub, will be starting the rest of the Texans’ games.
Now, maybe it’s completely possible the Texans are simply trying to evaluate their young quarterback before they make any decisions on the future of the position. More likely, especially considering Keenum’s play against the Jaguars, is the possibility that the Texans’ top decision makers are positioning the teams to maintain their top draft selection.
Consider, Matt Schaub clearly provided a spark for the Texans against the Jaguars, even putting them in position to win the game late. The Jaguars’ defense stiffened in the red zone, repelling the Texans, and later in the final quarter, Schaub was picked off, essentially ending the football game. Before Schaub entered the game, the Texans were largely lost on offense, putting together little in the way of productive drives.
Still, who can blame the Texans for continuing to look at Case Keenum? If they see enough to keep him in the starting lineup beyond the end of the season, they could cut a deal to move down in the first round, giving themselves more ammunition to build moving forward. If they don’t like what they see, the Texans can simply take the best quarterback in the draft with the top pick. Considering the Texans have nothing to play for this season, and taking into account the fact the Texans have apparently already decided they’re moving on from Schaub, there’s really no reason to avoid playing Keenum.
Under Gary Kubiak’s leadership, the Texans were chronic underachievers, even as expectations climbed ever higher each season. Gary Kubiak will be remembered as the coach that put the Texans into the playoffs, but his teams fell short when it mattered most.
Then again, maybe the Texans were never, and still aren’t, the talented team we thought they were. Maybe the Texans are a mediocre team that was crushed by unreasonable expectations. All that is completely plausible, but the end result is the same. The Texans are looking for answers, and at the end of the season, there will be many job openings within the Texans’ organization. It’ll be up to Bob McNair and Rick Smith to fill the voids left by the former regime.