Three games into the season, and I am ready to roll with the Fire Kubiak Bandwagon.
I know, I know, losing to the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome is rarely a cause for concern. However, in all three games this season, I have seen the same lethargic, impotent play that has been the hallmark of Gary Kubiak’s tenure as coach of the Houston Texans.
I was not impressed with another 2-0 start. Not when the team came out against the Indianapolis Colts in the third quarter with a 34-3 lead looking confused and unsure of themselves. Not when they had to eke out a win against a lame duck Miami Dolphins team. Honestly, I was resigned to the idea of losing yesterday.
So why am I so upset?
Two reasons: the Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills.
Detroit and Buffalo have been the doormats of the NFL for the past 10 years. As bad as it’s been in Houston, we could at least take solace that we weren’t Lions or Bills fans. Sprinkling salt in Bills fans’ wounds, their teams uniforms were arguably the worst in the NFL:
But that isn’t the case anymore. Both Buffalo and Detroit are 3-0 to start this season. Yes, it’s still too early in the season to crown them the cream of the NFL crop. However, while Houston was failing to close out another winnable game in New Orleans, Detroit and Buffalo showed the kind of dedication and strength it takes to in the NFL.
In Minnesota, the Vikings had put up a 2o-point lead at halftime, a place the Lions had not won since 1997. The Lions came back to win the game 26-23 in overtime. The Lions offense is powered by a young trio of talent: Quarterback, Matt Stafford, Running Back, Jahvid Best and Wide Receiver, Calvin Johnson (aka Megatron). Their defense is anchored by one of the most formidable defenders in the league, Ndamukong Suh.
The Lions, like the Texans, finished the season 6-10 last year. Their combined record during the previous two seasons was 2-30, including an 0-16 2008 season. Three seasons later, they have started 3-0, and are being considered a serious threat to the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.
Meanwhile, in Buffalo, NY. The Bills were down 21-0 against the most formidable quarterback/head coach combination in the NFL, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. The Bills haven’t been as bad as the Lions, but they have been pitifully mediocre over the past 10 years, and have been mostly an afterthought.
Like the Lions, they are built around a young core of talent. And while fans in Houston can appreciate no lead is safe in Buffalo, the Bills shocked a lot of people with their comeback. The four interceptions of Patriot quarterback Tom Brady, is an obscene statistic. In reality, THAT. DOES. NOT. HAPPEN.
The Bills, with their backs against the wall, scraped their way back into the game, then engaged in a street fight with one of the best teams in the NFL today. They stood their ground. When the Patriots hit, they hit right back. And, when the final seconds counted away, the Bills stood victorious 34-31.
In both of these cases, you have young, inexperienced teams pulling out improbably wins against steep odds.
Meanwhile, down in New Orleans, the Texans, a team built very similarly to the Lions and Bills, took control of a game early against a very talented team on the road. However, the offense, which found it quite easy to march down the field against an overmatched Saints defense, stalled in the red zone on three separate drives. Two of those drives were inside the 3-yard line. In the third quarter, the Texans were surprisingly able to stay in control of the game. However, when the fourth quarter started, the teamed failed to contain the New Orleans offense, nor could the Houston offense execute against the defense they controlled during the first half. Yes, there were two touchdowns, but one of those was the flukiest play of this young NFL season.
In short, two young teams pulled out wins in games they had no business winning, while another team lost an entirely winnable game by failing to execute when it mattered.
A lot of people will say it’s the players’ fault, and I get that to a certain degree. However, when you continue to watch a team fail in the same manner over the course of many seasons, while personnel has improved, you have to look at the coach. This isn’t the first time I’ve written about my dissatisfaction with Gary Kubiak.
This time around, I’m done. I want Bill Cowher, and I have good reason to believe he wants to coach the Texans as well.
Last offseason, there were rumors that Bill Cowher was interested in coaching either the Houston Texans or Carolina Panthers. However, when Bob McNair made clear his support of Gary Kubiak, Cowher’s name magically disappeared from the candidate list at Carolina, who ended up hiring Ron Rivera. If the Texans head coaching job becomes available, I believe Bill Cowher will be very interested in talking to the Texans.
The only problem at this point is the Texans still appear to have a great shot at their first playoff appearance this season. Yes, that’s right, I want to fire the coach of a playoff bound team. I do not believe the Texans can win a Super Bowl with Gary Kubiak. However, I do believe the team could win a Super Bowl anytime they wanted with their talent if they had better coaching.
In the end, I’m just tired of a player of Andre Johnson’s caliber continue to languish in obscurity. He is easily one of the Top 10 players in the league, and arguably the game’s best wide receiver. However, no one really acknowledges that because the Texans simply do not win enough football games to be relevant. The Lions and Bills have won three games each, and they’re not the talk of the NFL. The Texans are that team everyone talks about, but ultimately never amount to anything.
I want this team to matter, and I don’t feel Kubiak will ever make that happen. Bill Cowher will,