Tag:Gary Kubiak
Posted on: June 19, 2011 4:30 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2011 5:35 pm

Leinart could reunite with Carroll in Seattle

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Nothing like a lockout to artificially inflate Matt Leinart's value. The former Cardinals first-round pick in the 2006 draft, Leinart has been underwhelming by any measure. After five starts as a rookie, he toiled mostly as a backup. Leinart was also occasionally characterized as disgruntled, and that eventually led to Arizona releasing him before the 2010 season.

"In fairness to Matt, I think that it would be a tough position for him to be in a backup role," coach Ken Whisenhunt said at the time. "Maybe a fresh start for him is what would be a good thing, for all of us."

Leinart signed with Houston, where he took exactly zero snaps.

Now, according to the Houston Chronicle's John McClain, "the Texans would love to have him back" but admits "Leinart wants to play for a team that'll give him a chance to start. I see him being reunited with Pete Carroll."

Which is the latest evidence that Matt Hasselbeck, who spent the previous 10 seasons in Seattle, will be hawking his wares elsewhere in 2011.

Dan Pompei, writing for NationalFootballPost.com, echoes McClain's thinking that, ultimately, Leinart could end up with Carroll. But just like Whisenhunt in Arizona and Gary Kubiak in Houston, Pompei doesn't think Leinart will be the starter in Seattle, either.
Chances are looking good that the Seahawks may have two new quarterbacks by the time camp opens. They tried to re-sign Matt Hasselbeck before the lockout started and couldn’t come to terms. Now they may move on if they can find a better alternative (hello, Kevin Kolb) as a starter. Getting hurt in each of the last three years has left Hasselbeck vulnerable in Seattle. And it would almost be an upset if the Seahawks didn’t sign Matt Leinart to come in as a backup. The Seahawks might not be crazy about what they have seen of Leinart on tape, but coach Pete Carroll has won a lot of games with him, and he thinks he can win some more.
With the Cardinals, the knock against Leinart wasn't his ability (although his inconsistent efforts in practice didn't help); it was that he wasn't considered a leader.

ESPN.com's NFC West blogger Mike Sando wrote last September that "Leinart could have made this work if he had played by Whisenhunt's rules. He wasn't willing (or possibly able) to do that under difficult circumstances. He complained and pouted and made it impossible for Whisenhunt to name Leinart the leader of a locker room filled with players more closely aligned with the Whisenhunt mindset."

As Whisenhunt said last fall, maybe a fresh start will be good for Leinart, even if he's destined to be a backup. A bit of advice, Matt: try to avoid burning bridges like your former college teammate, LenDale White.

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Posted on: June 12, 2011 4:12 pm

Wade Phillips handcuffed by lockout

PhillipsPosted by Josh Katzowitz

The other day, I caught legendary coach Bum Phillips on the phone for a 45-minute chat, and briefly, I asked about his son, Wade, and how he thought the Texans would adjust to running the 3-4 defense that Phillips will install.

Not surprisingly, Bum said he thought the adjustment would be smooth – even if DE Mario Williams, who’s been much more effective in a three-point stance than standing as an OLB, will have to get used to a new position.

Yet, Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune isn’t so sure.

As Kaufman writes, the lockout has played havoc because Phillips and head coach Gary Kubiak, just like every other coach and defensive coordinator in the league, can’t communicate with their players.

Considering Phillips basically was hired in order to send Houston to the playoffs for the first time, this doesn’t bode particularly well (of course, on the other hand, the Texans’ future opponents aren’t communicating with each other either).

As Kaufman writes:

Phillips has proven to be a pedestrian head coach in several NFL outposts, but he's also an effective assistant who can make a difference and save Kubiak's job.

Unfortunately, his timing is lousy.

This lockout is having a particularly debilitating effect on a Houston franchise that took a major step backwards last season.

It's in (owner Bob) McNair's interests to get this lockout lifted as quickly as possible so Houston coaches can get to work on a daunting turnaround project.

Tick tock, Wade.

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Posted on: April 11, 2011 1:07 pm
Edited on: April 12, 2011 12:37 pm

Offseason Checkup: Houston Texans

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups . Also, check out our checkup podcast:

When the Texans beat the Colts 34-24 in the 2010 season-opener, Houston was well on its way to winning the AFC South and the first-ever playoff appearance for the club. Matt Schaub was going to continue emerging as one of the top QBs in the game, Andre Johnson was going to cement his place as the top receiver in the NFL, RB Arian Foster was going to build on his first-game performance (231 yards and four total TDs on 33 carries) and Houston’s secondary was going to be just fine without Dunta Robinson.

That’s what we thought anyway.

Then, the Texans, sitting at 4-2, lost eight of their next nine games to kill their season. Foster still went on to win the rushing title, and Schaub had a pretty good season. But Johnson didn’t have one of his better years (though to be fair, he WAS dealing with a painful ankle injury that he played through), and the secondary, to be kind, was absolutely horrid. Overall, in fact, the defense was terrible. Yet, coach Gary Kubiak has been retained for another season, and the Texans continue to be slightly worse than mediocre.

But something must change …

New defensive system

That something might be new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. While Phillips’ reign as Cowboys head coach ended in disaster in the middle of last season, he’s still well-respected as a defensive coordinator. In 2011, though, he’s got a big job in front of him.

1. Um, the secondary
Yes, the Texans will need to rethink their entire defensive back roster, because it repeatedly got torched last season. After saying goodbye to Robinson, who went on to a so-so season with the Falcons, the secondary (Kareem Jackson, Glover Quin, Bernard Pollard and Eugene Wilson) were just tremendously bad. If the Texans can’t get this fixed, it doesn’t matter who’s coordinating the defense, because Houston simply won’t win.

2. Nose Tackle
Houston hasn’t had to worry much about this position in the past because of the 4-3 scheme it used to play, but now that the Texans will go to the 3-4, they need to find a massive NT to eat up blockers and allow his linebackers behind him to make plays. Maybe Shaun Cody is that guy, but he might not be good enough and he certainly hasn’t been an impact player thus far in his career.

3. Second Wide Receiver
It looked for a time like Kevin Walter might be that guy, but he was little more than solid last year. Jacoby Jones is fine on kickoff returns, but he drops the ball too much as a receiver. Though the Texans obviously have much bigger problems, it wouldn’t be a huge shock if the Texans went after Julio Jones in the first round of the draft.

It’s hard to be confident that a Kubiak-led team will ever make the playoffs, but the Texans better accomplish that this year if they want to keep him around. Defense, like we’ve pounded in your head over and over in this checkup, is the true test, and there is plenty of talent in the front seven on that side of the ball. If Phillips can help get that unit in gear, the AFC South is ripe for the taking.

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Posted on: January 31, 2011 12:47 pm

Bob McNair very honest about struggles

Posted by Andy Benoit

Dale Robertson of the Houston Chronicle recently wrote a fascinating piece about Houston Texans owner Bob McNair and the struggle his franchise has had. The 10-yeB. McNair (US Presswire)ar-old Texans are yet to make a postseason appearance.

From a pure business standpoint, McNair has been a highly successful owner. The club he bought for $700 million is now worth $1.17 billion, according to Forbes. That ranks 10th in the NFL. McNair’s stadium garnered a league-high $300 million naming rights deal with Reliant. And, despite the absence of postseason play, that stadium has sold out every game in the franchise’s first nine years of existence.

But McNair is no Mike Brown. He doesn’t unapologetically prioritize dollars over victories.

"If you're successful financially, but you're not successful on the field, then you're not successful,” he said. “If you're just in this to make money, there are a lot of things you could do that are a lot easier and more profitable."

Early on, nothing about the NFL was easy for McNair. After purchasing the Texans, McNair and his staff were basically left to fend for themselves.

"The league did nothing to help us," McNair said. "We didn't have anybody come down to show us anything, (such as) how teams set up their books, how you prepare for the draft."

As Robertson writes, in retrospect, McNair wishes he'd sought the counsel of his experienced peers. But that was difficult.

"I'd been negotiating with them over the price of the team," McNair said.

"They were trying to get as high a price as they could, and I was trying to get a reasonable price. After you've gone through that, you're not real confident talking to those folks and asking for advice - not after they've just finished trying to take every nickel you have.

"I mean, how much could I trust them? I had to learn who would be honest and candid with me. That took some time."

The pressure will presumably build in 2011. Texan fans were hoping for a coaching change, but McNair opted to retain Gary Kubiak.
Extending the playoff drought to 10 years would seemingly make it impossible to continue the sellout streak. Then, not even the business side of ownership would be a feather in McNair’s hat.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: January 5, 2011 5:33 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2011 5:49 pm

Texans hire Wade Phillips to coordinate defense

Posted by Andy Benoit
W. Phillips (US Presswire)
Wade Phillips is back in the NFL. The Texans have announced that the former Cowboys head coach has been hired as the team's third different defensive coordinator under Gary Kubiak. Phillips will work in the town where his father, Bum Phillips, made his name.

It will be interesting to see what Phillips’ hire means for Houston’s defensive scheme. Since Dom Capers left, the Texans have essentially been a 4-3 team. They’ve invested heavily in classic 4-3 players like defensive end Mario Williams, one-gap defensive Amobi Okoye and mid-sized linebackers DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing. Phillips, however, runs a 3-4.

Given the terrible results Houston has had with their various 4-3’s in recent years, it would not be surprising to see a schematic overhaul. After all, no one would object if the “nothing to lose – things can’t get much worse” card was played here.

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Posted on: January 4, 2011 6:03 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2011 6:09 pm

Wade Phillips lands safely in Houston (maybe)

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Wade Phillips has a new job, and he won’t even have to move out of state for it.

KTRK-TV in Houston
is reporting that the former Cowboys head coach is the new Texans defensive coordinator under Gary Kubiak.

In case you didn’t realize, Phillips’ father, legendary coach Bum Phillips, coached the old Houston Oilers franchise from 1975-80, so on a few different levels, this is a homecoming for Wade Phillips (he also played at the University of Houston).

UPDATED (6:07 p.m.):
According to the Houston Chronicle's John McClain, Phillips denies he's taken the job. Mostly, because he hasn't even interviewed for it yet.

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Posted on: January 3, 2011 4:41 pm
Edited on: January 3, 2011 4:58 pm

Texans keeping Kubiak, replacing defensive staff

Posted by Andy Benoit

To the chagrin of many Houston fans, owner Bob McNair has announced that head coach Gary Kubiak will return for a sixth season. The Texans just turned in a disappointing 7-9 season in which it set new lows for defensive ineptitude (267.5 passing yards allowed per game, 32nd in the NFL).

"I appreciate Bob's confidence in me," Kubiak said in a statement released by the team. "We visited today and decided on a new direction. I am very lucky. I work for a great man that believes in me. That means a lot to me. I have a lot of work to do to make him proud."


One could make the argument that Kubiak is not deserving of the blame, though. Mike Shanahan’s long-time assistant in Denver was hired for his offensive pedigree. The Texans have ranked in the top four in offensive yardage each of the last three seasons. The problems have been on defense.

Consequently, Kubiak fired defensive coordinator Frank Bush, defensive backs coach David Gibbs, linebackers coach Johnny Holland and assistant linebackers coach Robert Saleh Monday. He is looking to bring in a defensive czar to right the ship, and he says it doesn’t matter if that individual has a 4-3 or 3-4 background, but has said that Wade Phillips -- previously rumored as a DC candidate -- will be interviewed.

A 4-3 background does matter, though. GM Rick Smith has invested very high draft picks in a slew of 4-3 front seven players (Mario Williams, Amobi Okoye, DeMeco Ryans, Brian Cushing). The 4-3 system has not panned out the last several years, but that’s been a player performance issue more than anything. This season, besides Ryans’ Achilles injury and Williams’ nagging hernia, the Texans were done-in by callow cornerbacks and safeties who are hard-hitting but inept in coverage.

Kubiak is not responsible for the defensive personnel, and he’s not responsible for players having basic fundamentals. That issue pertains more to the assistant coaches. Hence, McNair felt sweeping changes on that side of the staff would suffice for 2011.

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Posted on: January 2, 2011 6:33 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2011 7:21 pm

NFL Coaching Hot Seat Tracker: Black Monday

Black Monday is upon us, and that means plenty of coaching changes. We've organized all the NFL teams into a semi-draft order (yes, we know the Raiders don't have that pick and yes, this could change, but it puts the bad teams up top!) to give you an idea of who's been fired, who might be fired, how much job security they have, and potential candidates in different cities. See someone you think SHOULD be on the hot seat or a candidate for a certain job we missed? Let us know in the comments.  


Team Coach Job Security Candidates

Ron Rivera

Rivera lands a 4-year, $11.2 million deal reportedly
The Panthers announced on Tuesday that Ron Rivera will be the organization's fourth head coach .

John Fox

It seemed like the Broncos might go with someone that was familiar with their organization, but ultimately, they opted for experience and Fox , who they believe can help the defense and the team turnaround quickly.

Chan Gailey

The Bills were terrible in 2010, but they never gave up and routinely came close to upsetting better teams. Also, no one else wants the gig.

Marvin Lewis

Lewis called himself "unemployed" and he seems as good as gone but then there was a report that he'll return with Cincy in 2011 . Then there was a report he wouldn't. Now he's back, officially .

Ken Wisenhunt

Safe ... for now
Hard to imagine the Cards would dump Whiz until they give him a shot with another real quarterback. Cowher thinks Kevin Kolb lands here.

Jim Harbaugh

After much speculation as to where Jim Harbaugh would land, he finally ended up signing a $25 million, 5-year deal with the Niners .

Jason Garrett

Garrett was named the full-time Dallas head coach on Thursday at a lengthy press conference in Cowboys Stadium.

Gary Kubiak

Kubiak is safe but the entire defensive staff has been canned , and now the Wade Phillips for DC speculation begins.

Pat Shurmur

Pat Shurmur HIRED!
Shurmur bolted St. Louis for Cleveland and it appears Mike Holmgren really wanted someone familiar with his West Coast offense.

Jim Schwartz

Lions won four straight to close the season; Schwartz has to be a hero in Detroit at this point.

Pete Carroll

NFC West title locked Carroll in and even with the Seahawks ugly loss to the Bears, it's hard to question what he did in his first season.

Jeff Fisher

In a surprising move, Fisher and Tennessee are parting ways. Now, the Titans will have to replace their head coach and their starting QB.

Mike Shanahan

Needing a QB
Dan Snyder letting Shanny run the team so him getting booted is a long shot. QB situation is a bit of a nightmare though.

Leslie Frazier

The Vikings didn't wait long -- they announced on Monday that Frazier's "interim" tag would be lifted and he'll be their head coach.

Hue Jackson

Jackson was hired Monday
Cable got the boot and now it looks like Hue Jackson's the favorite to land the coaching gig. Al Davis is involved though, so anything could happen.

Steve Spagnuolo

Such a cold seat
Even without a division title, the turnaround in St. Louis is pretty clear and Spags is safe.

Tony Sparano

After the Fins chased Harbaugh  and embarrassed Sparano publicly, they apologized financially by giving him a 2-year extension. How swell.

Jack Del Rio

Del Rio's got one more year, but it's "playoffs or bust" for JDR, according to owner Wayne Weaver.

Norv Turner

Safe for 2011
Front office says Norv's their guy for at least next year. Another disappointing season like 2010 and he could finally get the boot.

Tom Coughlin

Coughlin is confirmed as returning by Giants owner John Mara
Coughlin's in the middle of a playoff fight (thanks to the Bears) and Casserly says he'll be back with a one-year extension .

Raheem Morris

Losses in late games by the Packers and Giants would get Morris in the playoffs and a pretty good shot at Coach of the Year if he doesn't win anyway.

Jim Caldwell

As long as Peyton Manning's playing for the Colts, it's hard to see them dumping Caldwell.

Mike McCarthy

The Packers look like the latest team to go from  "talented team to nearly miss the playoffs" to "white-hot wild card that wins the Super Bowl," so there's no reason to question McCarthy.

Todd Haley

Division champion
Haley's pretty golden in KC, no matter what some people want to say about his ego.

Rex Ryan

In like foot. Er, flint
Back-to-back playoff berths for Ryan mean he's plenty fine.

Andy Reid

The only question is whether or not Reid will trade Kevin Kolb in the offseason and how long they can keep Vick.

Sean Payton

Safe, duh
He won a Super Bowl two years ago.

Lovie Smith

Surprisingly safe
Did anyone think Lovie was safe heading into 2011? Yet he won the division and the Bears are white-hot. Very impressive year. 

John Harbaugh

Only thing he has to worry about is whether he has to face his bro once a year or not.

Mike Tomlin

Clearly, Tomlin's doing alright. 

Mike Smith

Weird thing is, Smith's not getting nearly enough love as a potential coach of the year candidate.

Bill Belichick

Retirement is the only way he'll ever get removed from New England. Arguably his greatest coaching job ever. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com