The Houston Texans have endured a drastic 11-game losing streak since winning their first two games of the season, and head coach Gary Kubiak has been fired as a result.
His departure comes a little over a month after he collapsed on the field at halftime of a Sunday Night Football game vs. the Colts due to what was later deemed a mini-stroke. Kubiak missed just one game and returned to the team coaching from the booth for two games. He had since returned to coaching on the sidelines.
NFL insider Jay Glazer broke the news on Friday:
Just heard from a Texans member who told me Coach Kubiak has informed coaches he has been let go— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) December 6, 2013
Again, Texans assistants have been informed by Coach Kubiak that he has been fired. Coach told them he loves them but has been let go— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) December 6, 2013
Texans insider Deepi Sidhu added this:
Bob McNiar: Under these extreme circumstances, we've decided to start eval process now. Gary Kubiak is no longer the head coach.— Deepi Sidhu (@DeepSlant) December 6, 2013
McNair: We are so disappointed and so shocked by what has happened. Fans are disappointed but no more than us.— Deepi Sidhu (@DeepSlant) December 6, 2013
McNair: Wade Phillips will be the interim head coach. All other coaches and players will be evaluated during search for h.c.— Deepi Sidhu (@DeepSlant) December 6, 2013
USA Today's Tom Pelissero added more on Phillips:
#Texans owner Bob McNair says Wade Philips, who is now interim coach, will be interviewed for permanent job.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) December 6, 2013
Kubiak finished his tenure in Houston, which began in 2006, on a sour note and with a 61-64 record, per Pro-Football-Reference.com.
Even when Kubiak failed to reach the postseason in his first five years on the job, the Texans organization stuck with him. It paid dividends the next two years, as the franchise won back-to-back AFC South division titles.
Unfortunately, everything got away from Kubiak and the Texans this year. The coach even went as far to say that he needs to "start from scratch" after a 38-13 home loss to the St. Louis Rams in Week 6:
"I've got to wake up tomorrow and start from scratch." Kubiak #Texans— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) October 13, 2013
That is what the Texans are doing now—without Kubiak in the fold to oversee the operation.
The Rams game was Houston's fourth loss in a row, which B/R's Matt Miller suggested added heat to Kubiak's seat:
#Texans have now lost 4 straight games. Gary Kubiak may notice a hot sensation on his seat.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) October 13, 2013
The losing streak snowballed into a horrific 11-game skid on Thursday, as the Texans lost to Chad Henne and the Jacksonville Jaguars. NFL on ESPN put their struggles into perspective:
The Texans are the first team to lose 11 straight in season since 2011 Colts (started 0-13)— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) December 6, 2013
Part of the team's downward spiral has to be pinned on the inconsistency of the game's most important position, quarterback. Case Keenum showed promise in Weeks 9 and 10, throwing for a combined 551 yards and six touchdowns; however, he had just two touchdown passes in the following four games and threw an interception in each of those four.
While Matt Schaub has also shown sparks this season, and did so against Jacksonville when he entered the game, he's clearly not the quarterback of the future. Schaub and Keenum may be pulling the trigger on their passes, but Kubiak shares some of the blame when the offense continues to sputter.
Perhaps the league got up to speed with Kubiak's tactics, making it difficult for the Texans to have consistency on offense.
The former coach released a statement regarding his dismissal, courtesy of Houston's CBS affiliate:
I want to thank Bob McNair and his family for giving me my first head coaching opportunity in the National Football League. Bob has treated me with the utmost class and respect throughout my career with the Texans. I am appreciative of him for bringing me back to Houston to coach my hometown team.
I want thank the players and coaches for all the work they have put in during my years with the Texans. Though we came up short this season, the work, effort and sacrifice they gave me and this organization over the last eight seasons is not to be taken for granted. I want to wish them all the best.
I want to thank the people in the organization for their support over all the years. We could not have achieved our goals without their tireless work and commitment to our team.
Lastly, my family and I want to thank the city of Houston for their support of the football team and our family. We had a great run here and we will never forget our back-to-back AFC South Championships. Coming back home was a dream come true for all of us. This will always be our home. Thank you.”
Regardless of how the remainder of the current campaign plays out, though, general manager Rick Smith should take a hard look at the class of quarterbacks eligible for the 2014 draft.
With a talent-laden roster headlined by superstars Andre Johnson, Arian Foster and J.J. Watt, the Texans are in a position to have a rapid turnaround under new leadership next season. Like the 2012 Chiefs, the Texans have quarterback and head coach problems that if fixed can make them contenders in the very near future.