The Houston Texans have been pathetically complacent this season.
No scratch that, they have been more pathetic than when they had David Carr and no defense. What has been so discouraging about this season is that Houston has done so poorly with good players. They have an above average roster. Pro Bowlers Arian Foster, JJ Watt, Andre Johnson, Duane Brown, Chris Myers, and Jonathan Joseph have not really been out played per say, but have been exposed. Houston has lost ten straight games that can be chalked up to five main reasons.
1.) Poor Offensive Line Play
Houston’s offense lives and dies off of their offensive line. It’s hard to believe but when Houston can’t run to set up the pass they can’t play offense. Houston’s right side of the offensive line is arguably one of the worst in the league, and forces them to be a one way running team. Houston running backs ( Arian or Ben ) have no holes to run through in a scheme that is built off of zone blocking and developing open holes and cut back lanes for the runners. With no way to run Houston can no longer run their trademark play action passes. Whoever is at quarterback has been getting pressured all day and running backs have been stuffed behind the line of scrimmage.
Houston needs to solidify the right side of the line before they can think about making a playoff run next year. Sorry Derek Newton but you just aren’t cutting it.
2.) Poor Coaching
Gary Kubiak is an average coach who feeds off of a simplistic scheme. Run to set up the play action and throw low risk passes. Nothing more, nothing less. When it doesn’t work does he change his scheme like a coach should? No. Kubiak has had years to adjust and to perfect his craft… Nothing in the NFL lasts forever and everyone is out to figure you out. They finally figured Kubiak out and he has no clue what to do. Kubiak is helpless game in and game out.
To survive in the NFL and be a Super Bowl coach ( like many fans believed he could be ) you have to be able to make adjustments and have diversity. Kubiak does neither. Matt Schaub was one of the key victims of this scheme. His interceptions were due largely in part to defenses knowing what was coming at them. Defenses sat on the short timing routes and jumped them. It was beyond easy, almost as if Schaub was the coach in a practice drill for defensive backs.
Kubiak does not play the best players and he is a bad, bad, bad judge of a player ( see Trindon Holliday, Chris Jones ). Unlike some of the NFL’s top head coaches ( Sean Payton, Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll ),
( ngngsports.com ) You tell me if you would work harder if you saw this look from your coach when you messed up compared to this one…
” we uh we have some work you know…but we know what to do to get better. I mean, we are just trying to stay balanced here..”
Congrats Gary. Bravo.
Kubiak does not take risks, he is the most conservative coach in the history of the NFL. Third and twenty? Draw play.Kubiak is not only overly conservative but he is also very timid about admitting a mistake and rarely plays an unknown player over a known one. Pete Carroll started Russell Wilson over the new free agent Matt Flynn at the time and shocked the world. He played the third round rookie because he played better and proved himself. Kubiak will not admit that a player is underperforming and because of that the whole team suffers. Houston wants a face to blame, blame the complacent, and extremely average head coach steering this ship no where.
3.) Special Teams Blunders
It’s no shock that Houston is doing something wrong on the special teams as the last few special teamers they have released ( Holliday, Jacoby Jones, Demps ) have all gone on to do good and some pro bowl caliber in new environments. It’s so sad watching these talented players succeed elsewhere. Why Houston hasn’t fired Joe Marciano is beyond me. Houston has had a bottom five special teams for the past three years and Joe has not been fixing it. This is all the lack of GM Rick Smith admitting his fault and cutting his losses.
For the record I know all about how disgustingly poor Randy Bullock has been kicking, but commenting on that is not even worth my time. He’s scared and needs to be guided. Houston can still save him, but first they must admit their mistake.
JJ Watt is one of the hardest working individuals in the NFL. Unfortunately, he isn’t tested. He is treated like royalty by the Houston coaches along with the other marquee players ( Andre Johnson, Arian Foster ). Coaches in Houston don’t hold everyone equally accountable. This past weekend, Patriots healthy and number one running back was inactive for the game because of a fumbling problem he had. Coach Belichick also made Ridley hold a football the entire game.
THATS accountability Kubiak, THATS how you coach a team and demand respect. The best teams don’t make mistakes, they learn from them.
Bruce Arians of the Cardinals starts every Monday team meeting by calling out EVERY player ( Fitzgerald included ) on EVERY mistake they made in the game. ANY mistake made gets shown up to the whole team. That right there is accountability.
John Gruden with the Buccaneers was extremely accountable. When he went to the team they had a top five defense and he called every player out and told future hall of famers ( Warren Sapp ) that they were fat, slow, and average. He pissed them off and ultimately got them to play better. He created competition and took away job security from them by having position battles. Whoever won, no matter their past, became the starter. When you challenge a player, you bring the best out of them.
5.) Second Half Team Play
The Texans have only scored four touchdowns in the second half of games these last 10 games…. Four. There have been 7 players this year who have done that on their own this season in one game alone. Against the Patriots last week Houston was out scored 10-27, in the wise words of Jim Mora ” You ain’t gone best nobody playing like that”. Houston has lost 8 games with less than a six point differential. 8 games losing by less than a touchdown…
That’s a hard pill to swallow but it’s a medicine they are going to have to overcome next year to succeed.