It didn’t come as a shock to the NFL community that Gary Kubiak was relieved of his duties as head coach of Houston Texans.
What was a shock was the timing - following a loss to the Jaguars, the team’s second in 12 days - that prompted Texans team owner Bob McNair to make the call.
Citing the need to make a change and prepare for the future, McNair pulled the plug on the Kubiak campaign which began in 2006. The former coach had one year remaining on a three-year deal that would have taken him through the 2014.
McNair said in his press conference announcing the decision, that he was not happy with the direction the team was in, he did not necessarily agree with the decisions Kubiak made to start Case Keenum over Matt Schaub, and that the team was not in a long-term redress, that it was a ball club that need to change a few parts to get back to the level it had been in recent seasons.
Most of that stems at the quarterback position where Schaub has been erratic this season and was benched in favor of the highly-popular Keenum.
Schaub stepped in for Keenum in the second half of the game against Jacksonville on Thursday night and almost engineered a comeback. But penalties (14 for 177 yards) and a stingy Jaguars defense prevented that from happening.
The Texans are in the middle of an 11-game losing streak and own the league’s worst record at 2-11. Currently, they hold the top draft slot in the 2014 May Draft. McNair said he wants the club to take the next three games to determine if Keenum is the future of this franchise or should the team take a shot at a passer with their top pick. The name most connected to the team is Texas A&M quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner, Johnny Manziel.
Schaub is not expected back with the ballclub next season.
Wade Phillips, who served as interim head coach when Kubiak was away from the team while recovering from a TIA he had on the sidelines during a game, will coach the remaining three games for the team and should get an interview to be the front man for the franchise.
According to league sources and the NFL Network, the names that come up as potential candidates are Philips, Stanford head coach David Shaw and Lovie Smith, whom McNair mentioned in his press conference. It is believed that after seeking a coach with plenty of offensive experience, the management of the organization, along with McNair, will seek a defensive-minded coach.