Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Gary Kubiak, The End of an Error

Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Houston is a weird place to live during the Holidays. Some years it’s cold and grey, and other years you’re wearing shorts on Christmas day. Nevertheless, the Holiday traditions still go on.

One tradition that I have done since I was a child, is watch “A Christmas Story”. The story of Ralphie Parker, who only wants one thing for Christmas, a Red Ryder BB Gun.

It’s safe to say, that most Texans fans only wanted one thing to happen at the end of this season, Gary Kubiak to get fired. Christmas came early this year, when Bob McNair announced that Gary Kubiak has been relieved of his head coaching duties on Friday.

Bob McNair hired Kubiak back in 2006, and Houston had hope that this was the answer, after the Capers disaster. McNair believed in Kubiak so much, that he handed him the keys to the franchise.

Gary came in and did something that would ultimately lead to his demise, he stayed in his comfort zone. He hired people that he was comfortable with, and gave them a lot of cushion.

His staff was built on prior relationships, using the “Good ‘Ole Boy” system. When someone didn’t workout, it weighed on him to let them go. The same thing happened with players. Being a players coach, he worried about their feelings, way too much. And that’s not how to run a franchise.

Watching Kubiak call games was frustrating. Burning timeouts for no reason, running the ball when it’s 3rd and long, playing not to lose and not playing to win.

Watching the Texans in the red zone  made me want to bang my head against my coffee table. It was odd how an offense that could be so effective moving the ball up and down the field, just stall out in the red zone. Settling for field goals instead of touchdowns.

The first half of his tenure he blamed a lot of the red zone struggles on not having a run game. Which seemed fair at the time. But that excuse was no longer valid, after Arian Foster showed us he’s a top 10 running back in this league. When he could no longer play that card, his excuse was, “It’s on me.”

I took a deeper look at how the Texans ranked against the rest of the league when it came to the red zone.


There are a lot of interesting numbers here. Inconsistency all across the board.

The highest he was ever ranked in red zone touchdowns was 4th back in 2007, the first year of Matt Schaub (I take those numbers with a grain of salt, seeing as the offense was still horrible). In 2010 the Texans had their best all around performance as an offense. They could pass, run, and score touchdowns in the red zone (If only that defense wasn’t a pair of clown of shoes that season).

You could argue, that if Fat Albert never fell on Matt Schaub’s foot in 2011, that the red zone touchdown scoring would be completely different. That’s fair. Then again, Kubiak considers himself an offensive guru, and he should have been able to adjust his play calls to fit T.J. Yates‘ strengths.

Maybe making offensive adjustments just isn’t your game, Gary… I know, let’s have a spelling contest (Doc Holiday voice). That right there is the real kick in the potato sack. Adjustments were not made. Knowing that there is an issue and thinking that it will just work itself out, is beyond stupid to me.

The west coast offense, is a scheme that uses running the ball to set up the pass. The passing scheme is typically made up of two wide receivers, tight end, and running back. Their routes create spacing and mismatches throughout the field.

For the most part this scheme has been real effective when it comes to moving the ball up and down the field. When you’re working with 20 or less yards, it’s a lot harder to create that space. Scoring becomes a lot more difficult unless you have a quarterback that can make smart decisions fast, and can zip that ball to one of the options in a small window.

Gary Kubiak knows this, and he firmly believed that Schaub could be that guy. Or maybe Schaub was just a “Yes Man”, and never spoke up when he disagreed with a call. It almost seemed as if Kubiak coddled Matt. He would never let him get too far ahead of the game. It was like watching a controlling owner walk their dog with a choke collar. Once that dog gets off path a little bit and doesn’t walk the way he wants him too, he yanks on that leash. Just so that dog remembers who is in charge.

That speaks to his entire tenure here in Houston. Gary Kubiak was dead set on doing things his way.

All in all, Gary Kubiak was a good guy. It’s tough to say whether or not he will learn from the mistakes he made in Houston. It’s hard not too root for a hometown guy to do well.

In the end, Houston got their Red Ryder BB gun. I just hope we don’t shoot our eye out this time.


Tags: Bob McNair Gary Kubiak Houston Texans

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