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Tag:Gary Kubiak
Posted on: November 16, 2010 4:45 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2010 4:55 pm
 

Top Ten With a Twist: Potential head coaches



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

With Wade Phillips getting the pink slip last week and with much discussion about the job security of Minnesota’s Brad Childress, it’s become obvious that it’s that time of the year when fans debate the merits of firing the coach of their favorite teams. That obviously equals bad times for coaches like Marvin Lewis, John Fox, Gary Kubiak, Norv Turner, Josh McDaniels and Mike Singletary.

Since Phillips is gone and Childress might as well be gone, let’s dive into the intriguing possibilities of who will be available – some long-time assistants who hunger for their first shot at a head coaching job, some former head coaches who wouldn’t mind getting back into the business and maybe a college coach or two who want to test himself at the pro level.

Many of the following likely will get interviews after the season when the current coaches who can’t work themselves off the hot seat clean out their offices. Until then, let’s speculate on who might be available.

10. Dick LeBeau: I know, I know. He’s probably not going anywhere, and his three-season stint as the Bengals coach wasn’t so good (12-33). But LeBeau has been such an innovator on defense, I’d like to see the Steelers defensive coordinator get another shot at running a team. It’s not going to happen, because he’s 73 years old, but there would be a ton of smiling faces around the league if he got another chance.

9. Rob Ryan: We need – I mean, we NEED – another Ryan brother as a head coach in the NFL. Aside from being the most entertaining coach out there today – publically, at least – Rex Ryan has done a wonderful job turning the Jets into Super Bowl contenders. Now, Rob Ryan, the Browns defensive coordinator, needs to get his chance. With the marked improvement in Cleveland, does Ryan deserve the shot? Probably not at this point. But how awesome would it be if somebody gave him a job?

8. Mike Zimmer:
He arguably performed his best coaching job of his career last year when, despite the death of his wife and of Bengals WR Chris Henry, the defensive coordinator led Cincinnati’s defense to the No. 4 ranking in the NFL. For as long as the Bengals have tried to improve their defense, Zimmer finally was the one to make it happen. Cincinnati’s defense ranks 15th this season, but his players respect him and his coaching style. At some point, you’d think a team will take a chance on him.

7. Jon Gruden/Bill Cowher: Yes, they’ve both got lucrative analyst deals with ESPN and CBS, respectively, and both seem to do a pretty nice job (although Gruden spends a little too much time being a little too positive on his Monday Night Football gig). It’s hard to tell if Cowher is serious about getting back into coaching, but it wouldn’t be hard to believe Gruden wanting to jump at the chance (those are the whispers you hear, at least). He just seems hard-wired for the long hours, and it wouldn’t be surprising at all if he were to return. For Cowher, it’d probably have to be the perfect job. And I’m not sure that kind of job will appear in the offseason.

6. Marty Mornhinweg: The 5-27 mark he recorded while coaching the Lions is pretty difficult to swallow. But one of the biggest achievements this season made by Mornhinweg – the Eagles offensive coordinator – has been the transformation of QB Michael Vick from a playmaker with brilliant talents to a complete quarterback that’s nearly unstoppable with his legs and his arm. The Eagles rank second in points scored and third in yards per game, and much of that is a credit to Mornhinweg.

5. Cam Cameron: It’s a testament to Cameron that the Ravens, previously known as a strong defense that couldn’t score points, are now known as a high-powered offense that has a more difficult time stopping opponents. Cameron has weapons (QB Joe Flacco, RB Ray Rice, a plethora of receivers), and he knows how to use them. It might not happen for a few more years, but Cameron deserves another chance (if a prospective owner can overlook the 1-15 season he had while running the Dolphins).

4. Perry Fewell: He had a taste of head coaching last season after the Bills fired Dick Jauron and made Fewell the interim. He led Buffalo to a 3-4 record – looking back on it, it was almost miraculous – but he and the rest of the coaching staff were fired anyway. Now, he’s the Giants defensive coordinator , and not surprisingly, they’re the No. 1 defense in the NFL in yards allowed.

3. John Fox:
He doesn’t have much longer in his current role, as the head coach in Carolina, and despite the team’s putridicity (?) this season, he remains a well-respected figure in the league. Why, you ask? Well, he led the Panthers to Super Bowl XXXVIII, two seasons after a George Seifert-led Panthers squad went 1-15. Overall, he’s 72-65 as the coach in Carolina, and you can be sure Fox will have a job somewhere in the NFL. And quite possibly as a head coach.

2. Jim Harbaugh: If the Stanford head coach still wants an NFL job, he will have an excellent shot to get one. The brother of Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, Jim – a 14-year NFL QB who made the Pro Bowl in 1995 – has done wonders in Palo Alto. The previous two coaches before Harbaugh went a combined 16-40, and in the past two seasons, the Cardinal has gone a combined 17-6. He already interviewed for the Jets job that Rex Ryan eventually won two years ago, and it seems like it’s only a matter of time before he beats out somebody else for a head coaching position.

1. Leslie Frazier: How long will it take before Frazier – perhaps the most respected assistant coach in the league - finally lands the head coaching position he so obviously wants? Well, considering his office is just down the hallway from Childress’, it would make sense for Minnesota to hire its current defensive coordinator when it fires Childress. For a defense that hadn’t been good in more than a decade before Frazier took over, he’s transformed the unit and made himself indispensible. No doubt about it, he should be a head coach.

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Posted on: November 9, 2010 4:43 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2010 4:44 pm
 

Top Ten With a Twist: Delightfully average

Miami, despite what the sign says, has been delightfully average this season (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

We’re halfway through the season, which means we get plenty of first-half best-of lists from every corner of the Internet. Which, don’t get me wrong, is totally cool. In fact, here are two well-done lists – one from our own Pete Prisco and one from our own Clark Judge .

Or you can go snarky and talk about the worst of the worst through the first nine weeks of the season (Cowboys, Bills, Panthers, etc.) That’s fine too. I certainly don’t mind a worst-of list every now and again. As long as I’m not on it.

But I’ve decided to play to the middle: how about an award for the Most Delightfully Average (fill-in-the-blank)? I think this needs to happen, because, really, most of us in life are pretty average (present company excluded, of course. I’m talking about those other people that aren’t reading this article – which, by the way, is far above delightfully average).

There are a handful of us that are really, really good at what we do, and there are some of them who are absolutely terrible at their jobs. Yet, most of us fit somewhere in the middle. That said, here are the most delightfully average awards from the first half of the season.

10. Average offense – Bengals: They rank 15th in yards per game (345.0) and 17th in points per game (20.9), and despite the terrific addition of WR Terrell Owens (who would have guessed we’d be saying that a few months back?), the offense seems stuck in mud. Much of it rests on QB Carson Palmer’s arm, because he has plenty of weapons around him. He just hasn’t been very good.

9. Average defense – Colts: For a potential Super Bowl contender, this defense sure is mediocre. In order to go far in the playoffs, the Colts will have to improve on their 344.6 yards allowed average (20th in the NFL), their 21 points allowed (tied for 14th), and, in particular, the 140.9 rushing yards allowed (29th). Not having S Bob Sanders or his replacement, Melvin Bullitt, because of injury hurts the secondary, but the defensive line, even with Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney, has just 17 sacks. Which ranks, you guessed it, 16th in the 32-team league.

8. Average quarterback – Jay Cutler, Bears: When you think of Cutler, you might rank him somewhere near the bottom of the quarterbacks list. Perhaps that’s because, whenever the Bears are playing on national TV, he always seems to be throwing four interceptions per game or taking a big-time pounding from the opposing linebackers. Plus, he has that sour look on his face that probably just makes you sad. But no, Cutler ranks 16th in passer rating, 18th in passing yards, 19th in touchdown passes, 12th in interceptions and 19th in completion percentage. So, he’s simply stuck in the middle.

7. Average running back – Brandon Jackson, Packers: After Ryan Grant was placed on the IR list following an ankle injury, it was left to Jackson and John Kuhn, the only two running backs remaining on the roster, to try to replace his production. Jackson has been fine, though unspectacular. He rushed for 115 yards in Week 5, but he averages 4.3 yards per carry for a Green Bay rushing game that ranks 20th in the league. QB Aaron Rodgers probably wouldn’t mind a little more assistance.

6. Average wide receiver – Michael Crabtree, 49ers: I’m sure this is what San Francisco expected when it took him with the 10th overall pick in 2009 and then waited as he embarked upon an extended hold-out. On the season, he ranks 32nd in the NFL with 31 catches, and he averages 12.4 yards per reception (just kind of meh). One silver lining to Crabtree’s game, though: 80 percent of his catches go for first downs.

5. Average fans – Bengals: There wasn’t much analysis with this one. I just went down the list of total attendance by percentage of seats sold, and at 98.0 percent, Cincinnati was No. 16 (No. 1 is Dallas at 108 percent?!? (Wade Phillips must have been REALLY popular in the Big D); No. 32 is Oakland at 71.6 percent).

4. Average saliva-tosser – Le’Ron McClain, Ravens: If you’re going to spit into somebody’s face, you either have to be discreet or you have to go all-out (think Roberto Alomar spitting into John Hirschbeck’s face (I can’t believe that I didn’t have to look up the umpire’s name to make that analogy)). McClain did neither. He wasn’t discreet, you see his face move forward forcefully toward Miami’s Channing Crowder in the video, and he didn’t just hawk the loogie like Alomar did. Really, just an average performance.



3. Average division – AFC South: If the NFC South (with three teams at 5-3 or better) is the best division in the NFL and if the NFC West (nobody better than .500) is the worst, the AFC South has to be the most average. The Colts and Texans are tied for first place at 5-3, while the Jaguars and Texans are tied for last with 4-4 records. All of these teams have shown major flaws during their quest to compete for a division crown. I don’t think the Jaguars have much of a chance, but of the other three, I really don’t have any idea who will make the postseason.

2. Average coach – Gary Kubiak, Texans: Three weeks ago, there’s no way Kubiak would have “won” this award. Behind Kubiak, the Texans surprised the Colts in the opener with a big victory, and despite losing to Dallas (who in the hell loses to the Cowboys, anyway?), Houston was 4-2. But the Texans have lost their last two, and for some reason, Kubiak forgets about RB Arian Foster at times while his defense plays horribly. Once again, the Texans might not make the playoffs, meaning Kubiak might be gone at the end of this season.

1. Average team – Dolphins: Miami has been a rather tough team to pin down this season. Sometimes, the Dolphins look very good, using a tough defense to beat the Vikings and Bengals, or being resilient enough to upend the Packers. Other teams, they look absolutely horrid (last week’s 26-10 loss to the Ravens, and the 41-14 debacle to the Patriots). It feels like Miami should be better, but in the end, the Dolphins are humbly – and delightfully – average.

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Posted on: November 2, 2010 6:38 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2010 7:36 pm
 

Andre Johnson 'tweaked' ankle twice Monday

Posted by Will Brinson

Texans fans and Andre Johnson's fantasy owners were pretty thrilled to see him score a touchdown on Monday night (even if the Texans lost in Indy). Not so much, though, on watching him limp gingerly around on the field, going to the sidelines and then returning to the game.

Turns out that the injury wasn't "significant" and that it was only a lot of tweaking, perhaps caused by the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium.

“Same ankle, just sore," Gary Kubiak said Tuesday. "He tweaked a little bit on the touchdown, but he came back, came to the sideline, said he was okay and went back in and did it again late in the game. I think playing on turf, that’s something we’re going to deal with probably. Hopefully, we can get through a few weeks with him being fine and not continuing to tweak it. But we don’t feel like there is anything worse being done to it."

That prospect's pretty terrifying if you're either of the folks mentioned above, considering that if you tweak something too much, eventually something (usually) bad happens.

Obviously the Texans need Johnson if they want to make the playoffs, but considering Kubiak's comments about turf (and, you know, the long-term extension they recently gave him), there's certainly a possibility that he sees some rest down the stretch if it's an option at all. You can all but guarantee that he's listed as questionable this week for practice, too, but given the Texans play the Chargers (a potential wild card foe), seeing him sit would be a shock.

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Posted on: November 2, 2010 12:28 am
 

Colts still the best in the AFC South

M. Hart was a big reason for Indianapolis' success against Houston (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Remember when the Colts lost to the Texans in the season opener and, then, to the Jaguars in Week 4? Remember when we thought that, especially after losing to a couple AFC South rivals, Indianapolis was in danger of not defending its title crown.

The Colts were 2-2 and in trouble. The Texans were finally ready to take over this division.

The way Indianapolis performed tonight in its rematch with Houston, though, those thoughts have quickly been put to rest. The Colts still are the favorites in the AFC South. The Texans still have plenty of work to do in order to make the postseason for the first time, and they’ll have to wait yet another season before they can hope to score their first win in the state of Indiana.

Indianapolis, with its 30-17 win against the Texans tonight, improved to 5-2 and took up residence in first place in the AFC South.

And how did the Colts do it? Like normal. With Peyton Manning, even with a number of starters hurting, making the offense run smoothly and with the defensive ends, particularly Dwight Freeney, eating alive the opposing quarterback.

Manning was 26 of 45 for 268 yards and two touchdowns, and he had some help from RB Mike Hart, replacing the injured Joseph Addai and starting over backup Donald Brown. Hart had 12 carries for 84 yards, and, oftentimes, looked electric. And despite missing TE Dallas Clark, placed on Injured Reserve last week, Manning showed good chemistry with TE Jacob Tamme, who caught six passes for 64 yards and a score.

"Whoever steps on the field with him, he finds a way to get them the football,” Houston coach Gary Kubiak said in the postgame news conference.

Meanwhile, Freeney had two sacks, and LB Clint Session was dominant in the middle of the field. And with the Texans driving late in the fourth quarter to try to make it a one-score game, Freeney, once again, beat Houston LT Duane Brown and strip-sacked Matt Schaub, forcing the fumble as the Colts recovered.

Sure, the Texans would have liked to run the ball more. Arian Foster was an absolute monster the last time these teams play, but Houston fell behind 14-0 early and needed to try to catch up immediately. Still, he finished with 102 yards on 15 carries (and caught nine passes for 65 yards).

Still, it clearly wasn’t enough. Still, the Colts clearly are the class of this division. Still, nothing has changed.

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Posted on: October 5, 2010 4:10 pm
 

Texans' WRs Johnson, Jones game-time decisions?

Posted by Will Brinson

Andre Johnson sat last week and the Texans still won -- thank you very much, Arian Foster. And NFL schedulemakers. And the Oakland Raiders.

But it seems like having to play without both Johnson and Jacoby Jones, who was banged up against Oakland, versus the Giants could be a slightly bigger nightmare -- however, that's a distinct possibility, as according to the Houston Chronicle , both could be "game-time decisions."

"Andre didn't take any steps backward," Kubiak said about Johnson on Monday. "He's feeling a little better today. We'll continue to take him through the same routine we did last week. It will probably be Thursday before he works.

"Jacoby's got a pretty good calf issue. We'll probably know more about him on Wednesday."

The Texans still have Kevin Walter, David Anderson and Owen Daniels, though, so not all is lost. And, no, that trio is not mind-blowingly elite, but considering they're who's left after the top two receiving options are removed, that's a pretty solid set of players.

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Posted on: October 3, 2010 4:51 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2010 5:12 pm
 

Arian Foster on sidelines

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Texans RB Arian Foster isn’t hurt. He’s not inactive. He’s just not playing, according to CBSSports.com’s Dave Richard.

Due to a coach’s decision, Foster, the league’s leading rusher, is active and on the sideline, but he didn’t play at all in the first quarter.

Instead, Derrick Ward gained 49 yards on four carries, and Steve Slaton recorded 35 yards on four carries as Houston built a 14-7 lead against the Raiders.

Either Foster is in coach Gary Kubiak’s doghouse and had a penalty to pay for some kind of team violation, or Kubiak is so confident in beating the Raiders, he’s treating this game like the Colts traditionally treat the final regular-season contest of the season. 

I’m guessing it’s the former.

UPDATE (5:10 p.m.): On the Texans first possesion in the second quarter, Foster was inserted into the game. So, I'm guessing it was a team violation and he was being penalized.

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Posted on: September 24, 2010 9:39 am
Edited on: October 1, 2010 2:35 pm
 

Five Questions (or more) with Kevin Walter

K. Walter has made a big impact on the Houston receiving corps (AP). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Kevin Walter might be one of the more underrated receivers in the NFL. Perhaps it’s because he was an afterthought in the 2003 Draft when the Giants took him in the seventh round and promptly released him. Perhaps it’s because, though he was solid in special teams with the Bengals, he never caught more than 19 passes a season during his three years in Cincinnati.

But after he left for Houston, Walter has showcased his potential. In the past three full seasons, he’s combined for 178 catches, and he showed how important he is last Sunday in the Texans overtime come-from-behind victory vs. the Redskins when QB Matt Schaub turned to him when Andre Johnson went out temporarily with an injury. He finished with 11 catches for 144 yards and a TD and was a big reason the Texans beat Washington.

We talked to him this week about his career and about how much his older brother beating him up affected his football career.

Previous Five Questions (or more) With …:

Sept. 17: John Thornton

Sept. 11: Leon Washington

1. CBSSports.com: Going into the season, there had been so much talk about Houston’s 1-15 record against the Colts. How big a game was that for you guys, and how do you not let one game overshadow the rest of the season when you’re actually preparing for the season?

Kevin Walter: No matter who it was against, it was going to be a big game, because it was the opening game and it was at our place. It was a huge game against Indy because they had owned the division the past few years. During our offseason, we talked about why can’t it be us, instead of the Colts or Tennessee or Jacksonville? Why can’t it be us? We knew it started with us executing and getting the job done.

CBS: Now that you’ve actually won, did that dispel some of the doubts that maybe you had? Or the doubts that other people had about whether you could pull that off?

Walter: People are going to doubt us all year. We haven’t been to the playoffs the whole time we’ve been here.  People will still doubt us. People will think these first two wins were flukes. That’s OK. We don’t care what people think. We care what people in this organization think. We’re doing a heck of a job.

2. CBS: So, what about Washington? You guys fell behind 27-10, and in the past, that seems like a game where you don’t come back and you just lose. I think people would have doubted you again if you had lost that game. But you guys did come back and you actually won the game.

Walter:
In previous years, we would have found a way to lose the game. This year, we’re finding ways to win that game. This is a new year. We stress that. We’re out there for 60 minutes, and we never give up. We were down 17 points, and we were fighting back all game. No one probably believed we were going to win that game, but we weren’t bummed out. We knew the offense was getting the ball in the second half.

CBS: How much does Gary Kubiak play in it? Every year he’s on the hot seat, because every year, you guys don’t make the playoffs. How much would it mean to you guys to get him to the playoffs?

Walter:
You want to play for Coach. We told Coach we were there to play for this organization, but he’s the type of coach you want to go out and bust your tail for. He takes care of us. He’s been in the Super Bowl. He’s been in the league for a long time. We’re out there playing for him.

Walter 3. CBS:
Speaking of never giving up, the same could be applied to you. I was working for the Cincinnati Post when you were with the Bengals, and you didn’t play a significant role on offense. But now you’re a 60-catch-a-year guy. Why did it take five years into your career for that ability to show up?

Walter: When I got the in league, I was a seventh-round pick by the Giants. I was cut, and I got to Cincinnati and I was on the practice squad for five weeks and then I played 11 games my rookie year. We had some great receivers in Cincinnati. Peter Warrick was there at the time, and Chad (Ochocinco) was there, and (T.J.) Houshmandzadeh was there. We had some guys. My niche was doing whatever role they wanted me to do. I played all four phases on special teams. But it was also about working on your craft. I was OK with that. I knew my role, but it was about getting better for each of the roles you had.

CBS:
But you must have thought that on another team, you could have a different role. Did you think you would ever showcase the potential you must have known that you had?

Walter:
When you’re in the league, you want to play. If you’re a receiver, you want to start. You go make plays and do the things you know you can do. But since I was a late-round pick, that shows you that you have to get your foot in the door. You have to know your role. I knew I wasn’t going to catch 60 balls my first three years. But when you’re the fourth receiver and then you get the opportunity to start, you better take advantage of it.

CBS: Andre Johnson overshadows every other WR in the league, not just on his team. But last week, after he went out with an injury, the coaches turned to you. How great was that for you to show that you could carry the load when the top receiver isn’t in there?

Walter:
I’m ready for as many opportunities as they want to give to me. Whether it’s one catch a game or 11 catches, like it was last week. They know I’m ready to help out. When ‘Dre went down, we all needed to pick it up. He leaves a big void out there if he’s not there. We need him out there. But everyone made plays. We all made mistakes, but you know what? Everyone that made mistakes also made plays. That’s all that counts.

4. CBS: I read somewhere that when Ochocinco did his stunt after one of his touchdown catches a few years ago – the one where he putted the ball with the end zone pylon – that was your idea. That true?

Walter:
Yeah, I told Chad about that. We were sitting in the receiver's room, and I had mentioned that. We’d always sit in that room and talk about what he could do for celebrations. That was one of the ideas. And he did that the next week, I think.

CBS: What was your reaction?

Walter: I laughed. It was a lot of fun to see that. People might think he’s a showboat, but he backs everything up and he works so hard in practice.

5. CBS:
OK, I know you have an older brother. How much did that influence your athletic career because I assume you were constantly getting picked on and because, compared to him, you were a runt? Did that impact your career?

Walter: It challenged me a lot. He’s six years older than me, and him and his buddies always picked on me when I was younger. We played football in the snow in Chicago. He was bigger than I was, and he took it to me pretty good.

CBS: Do you beat him in things now?

Walter:
Oh yeah. He was a golf pro for many years in Chicago and Jacksonville, I play golf all the time in the offseason. He was a real good golfer, but I beat him in golf all the time now. And he hates that. Hey, if he wants to challenge me to a fight … well, he doesn’t want to do that anymore.

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Posted on: September 20, 2010 4:29 pm
 

F&R NFL Approval Matrix: Week 2

Posted by Will Brinson

Our affinity for graphs and charts and purty pictures knows no bounds, so (with a nod to the smartypants at NY Mag ), we present our first-ever NFL approval matrix. Suggestions, complaints and intellecutual property lawsuits may be directed to us on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).

Click to make larger /embiggen .


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