Firing Gary Kubiak Isn't As Easy As You Think

With all the struggles of the Houston Texans comes cries from fans to fire the coaching staff. This always includes defensive coordinator of disaster Frank Bush. Head coach Gary Kubiak? It's not quite as unanimous, but the cries grow louder with each loss. What makes the situation even more difficult? The potential 2011 NFL Labor Lockout and the fact that owners want some sort of continuity.

SI.com's Peter King addressed this issue in his latest "Monday Morning Quarterback."

1. There's a very good chance the new coach won't have access to the players beginning in March, when a potential lockout would happen. He may not have access to the players until a new labor deal is signed, which seems more and more like it won't happen until at least the summer. And that's being optimistic.

2. The new coach won't be able to work with his new staff very much either, because most teams will put assistant coaches on varying part-time contracts. The new coaches won't be in the building much, if at all, during a work stoppage.

3. The big-name coaches -- Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden -- will be in play. But will you want to lock them in at a big number for 2011 if you're not sure when or if you'll be playing football?

"What all that means,'' one head coach not on the hot seat told me Friday, "is an advantage for the in-house candidate unlike there's ever been. Financially and functionally, the top coordinator makes sense more than it ever has.''

Long story short, a new coach brings a lot more questions than answers.

Furthering the bad news for "Fire Kubiak," King went on to name teams that could be affected by this 2011 hesitancy with coaches - Minnesota (who fired Brad Childress as I typed), Dallas, Cincinnati, and Carolina. There is no mention of Houston nor has there been any mention of Houston firing Gary Kubiak in the media. Why?

For starters, the "playoffs or bust" mandate never publicly came from owner Bob McNair's mouth - it came from the fans. Furthermore, 2011's labor issues make it a confusing situation. Houston players still believe in Kubiak while McNair may not want to ruin the perennial top-ten offense - especially when anxious owners are putting their faith in continuity since a coaching change may not equal the instant results of Atlanta, Baltimore, and Miami from a few years ago. Lastly, promoting from within, as King suggests, means hiring Kubiak's close friend, who may decline the job out of loyalty, or Frank Bush. Do these seem like positive changes?

However, the anxiousness on changing a head coach doesn't apply to changing the mastermind behind one of the worst defense's in league history. There's nowhere to go for up for that unit. Given all of this, and Kubiak's contract extension in the off-season, I'd put the odds on Bush being fired, a proven defensive coordinator (Marvin Lewis?) being brought in, and Kubiak getting his last chance in 2011.

Of course, a loss to an imploding Tennessee team, without former starting quarterback Vince Young, at Reliant Stadium would change everything.

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