Gary Kubiak rarely gives you a whole lot in a press conference. Usually, it's coach speak at best.
Kubiak is notorious for taking the blame for what went wrong, while making sure the players get the praise for what goes right and summing it all up with something to the effect of, "we looked good, but there's some things we need to work on." This makes him a pretty bad quote, but it's something I respect, as I am not a fan of the Rex Ryan media style.
So it wasn't his historically bad haircut that made Wednesday's meeting with the media interesting, but his negative comments about his players' effort that raised a few eyebrows.
(on if there is a different sense of urgency among the team because of what it accomplished last year) “No. I have the same sense of urgency every year. As a matter of fact, I just told the guys right now, I took their helmets off today and gave them a bone, so to speak and they didn’t respond to it. Last year’s team responded to it very well. This year’s team first chance wasn’t very good. I told them I’ll give them one more chance tomorrow or there won’t be any more of those days. 2011 is over. It’s 2012 and we’ve got a lot of work to do and our expectations as a football team stay the same all the time.”
For Kubiak to be unhappy with his players and voice it to the media is something that piqued the interest of anyone who follows the Texans. I like that Kubiak is calling his team out on effort but does so in a positive way, as he suggests that he knows what's in them and they didn't show it.
All the other comments he gave after practice were complimentary, so it's not as though he was there to dog out the team to the media. This makes the single negative quote acceptable and not an instance of a coach taking his players out to the woodshed in front of the media.
But what I like most about Kubiak's comments is that it shows he is not content with a little success and won't let his players get complacent either. The city of Houston is optimistic about this season, and it would be easy for that optimism to rub off on the players. Kubiak is letting it be known that nothing less than improving on last year will be acceptable.
This is a reason, a small and intangible one to be sure, but still a reason, to be optimistic about the upcoming season. The right mindset can go a long way.