Despite another disappointing season in Houston and another season without playoffs, the Houston Texans decided to keep Gary Kubiak as their head coach. However, Kubiak will enter 2011 with a completely different defensive staff as all the coaches on that side of the ball were let go after a bad season on that side of the ball that including a horrible pass defense. Expectations were high in Houston this season and the team underachieved. Kubiak will come back in 2011 and the Texans will be searching for the first ever playoff appearance in franchise history. With an offense led by Matt Schaub, Arian Foster, and Andre Johnson, the Texans are very explosive, but another underachieving season in Houston could lead to a head coaching change in 2011 as opposed to just his assistants.
Gary Kubiak joined KILT in Houston with Rich and John to talk about the problems on defense this season and what contributed to them, whether or not it ever crossed his mind that he was going to get fired, and on whether or not he feels fortunate to still have a job with the Texans.
On what went wrong on the defensive side of the ball:
“I think it was a combination of both. We obviously had issues throughout the season, be it Brian’s (Cushing) suspension early in the season, losing DeMeco (Ryans) for 10 weeks, we had problems with the defensive line, and we had linebacker issues throughout the season. Those were things beyond the coach’s control that they had to adapt to week in and week out and put together a plan to go stop somebody. At the same time, regardless of the issues you have, you have to find a way to stop the bleeding so to speak and find a way to win some games and stop some people regardless of if you’re talking about offense, defense, or special teams. That’s part of the deal and everybody has some responsibility in it. It didn’t work out for us defensively this year. It was not a lack of effort. Those coaches are dang good football coaches, they work their tails off but we just weren’t able to get it done. We’ve got to find a way to correct it, move in a new direction, and show these players that we’re going to find away to be successful next year defensively.”
On whether or not it crossed his mind that he could be fired:
“You bet. That’s my point. (Owner) Bob (McNair) makes a decision on me. That’s the one guy that I report to on a daily basis as far as the job we’re doing as a football team. Bob and I have many, many conversations throughout the course of the year, but we’ve had some very tough conversations over the course of the last few weeks. I’ve said all along, about midway through last week, I told Bob, we’ve had good conversations and talked about things, but I asked him to let me stop here and enjoy coaching this football game and get this team ready to play because I thought it was very important that we played well and won the game and moved on regardless of what was going to happen. Bob and I were able to discuss some of our conversations today. Of course him giving me an opportunity to move forward, now it’s my job to go fix some of our problems. Like I said whether it’s me, coaches, or whatever, it’s all part of what we do and it’s the tough part of what we do.”
On whether or not he feels fortunate to have his job still:
“You bet. I said that in the press conference. I feel very fortunate. We made a lot of progress here over four years and six weeks and we had a tough, tough ten week period and it was a step backwards and it was difficult on everybody in this organization. In this business, from a coaching standpoint, those things can lead to not very good things for you as a head coach. So for Bob to tell me he still has the confidence in me to get it done with this football team means a great deal to me. You’re right. I do feel very fortunate and I want to reward him for that. It’s my job to get to work and get these problems fixed so that I can do that.”
On what he likes about Wade Phillips as a potential defensive coordinator:
“Obviously Wade has been a successful head coach in the National Football League, he’s been a successful defensive coordinator in the National Football League, he’s got automatic respect from a players standpoint, and all those things are big, big positives. Wade’s not going to be out there that long guys and you know that as well as I do. It’s our job to present our situation to him, have him tell him what he thinks, and do our homework from that standpoint. Wade’s connection with the city of Houston and his ties here add up, but we’ll do our homework, and I’m sure Wade has many opportunities out there so we just have to make sure we’re doing everything we can to make sure we get the best guy.”