Gary Kubiak is one game from finishing his fifth season at the helm of the Houston Texans, but it may be his last. Kubiak's team, which has lacked much in the way of support for its offensive triad of Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson and Arian Foster, can finish no better than 6-10. That would be the worst finish for the team since their first season under Kubiak.
Fans are organizing a demonstration for this Sunday, in which they intend to implore Texans owner Bob McNair to fire Kubiak. The two men who are organizing the rally say it's nothing personal, but that Kubiak has gotten enough chances and has overseen the plateau years of the Texans' development as an expansion franchise.
If the protest works—if McNair really does fire his second head coach—here are five guys who would make capable and solid replacements.
College coaches are easily frustrated, or at least one bad season often frustrates them enough to split town. If Mack Brown has that sort of attitude, he may decide he has been at Texas long enough, after the Longhorns stumbled to a miserable 5-7 campaign in 2010.
That marked by far the worst record of Brown's tenure, and he could make the short trip over to Houston to keep coaching at the next level in his home state if he so chooses.
Someone has to give the next Schottenheimer in line his first chance to be a head coach, and Brian has become a rapidly rising star with the solid job he has done so far for New York.
He is an offensive guru and has been coordinator for the Jets for three seasons. His work with Braylon Edwards, Mark Sanchez and LaDainian Tomlinson suggests he could do absolute wonders with Andre Johnson, Matt Schaub and Arian Foster, though of course he would have someone else coordinating his offense in that case.
Yes, there could be obligatory Bill Cowher rumors.
Cowher has better offers and bigger fish to fry; he need not dabble in rebuilding (or continuing to build or slowing building or whatever the Texans want to call it).
Yet, if he wants the right mix of challenging and possible, the Texans aren't a bad option: They have talent, lots of it, but need a piece or two and a year or three.
If Cowher is willing to be patient but wants a team he can work with right away, this could be a more attractive destination than many think.
Gruden rumors are, to my ear, a bit more realistic.
The guy built the Raiders that were so good from the ground up, then he went to Tampa Bay and did it again, faster. He eventually came to lack the patience for the job of bringing guys along and helping them improve to the best of their ability, but if his very good work with ESPN is any indication, he has mellowed a bit, or at least learned to channel his overlfowing energy into productive football rivulets.
If that is the case, he and Houston could be perfect for one another.
The 49ers will not make the playoffs this season, a fact finally confirmed after their loss to St. Louis on Sunday. That opens the door for Mike Singletary to be run out of town, an overdue measure: He just did not fit in San Francisco.
Singletary is a smash-mouth football guy. He wants a team of grinders who will run the ball down their opponents' throats and stop the run cold. Frank Gore was not durable enough to execute Singletary's offensive vision, though, and Singletary never really adjusted.
The San Francisco way has always been graceful, inventive passing, so Singletary was barking up a bad tree anyway.
In Houston, though, running the ball 30 times a game with Arian Foster and using linebackers DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing to shut down opponents seems a much more feasible option. Surely, too, the fans of Texas will appreciate that style, if for no other reason than that the very aerial Texans teams of the past few years have proved unable to get over the hump with consistent production each week.