Texans coach Gary Kubiak, taking the stage after an ugly 38-20 loss, backed his his players while distancing himself from saying they played well.
“It wasn’t good. We got pushed around. You give up 300 yards in a half in a football game they control the ball for 40 minutes in the game and you only have it 20 (minutes). Some of the things that went on in that game, it wasn’t good,” Kubiak said in his day-after presser.
However, he was defiant on some things that just weren’t true on tape, like the Saints offense not being a key part of the demolition (“I don’t think it was anything they were doing. I just don’t thing we were doing what we do very good.”) and the play of free agent signee G Wade Smith, who was pushed back all night (“We continued to look for the consistency from him. He didn’t disappoint us at all. I think he continues to get better each week. He’s got a lot of physical ability.”), of course, what else is the coach going to say? You can’t single out anybody in the media, even if the defensive game plan and the offensive line play both deserved more discredit than he gave them.
Kubiak was also big on Earl Mitchell when Lance Zierlein fed him a question on the rookie tackle:
He’s playing at a speed, at a level, at an intensity, everything, that deserves more time on the football field. He has been given some of that time with the ones and we’ll just see how he continues to progress. He’s obviously earned more repetitions with the team.
Not that any of the Texans defensive tackles were particularly good last night, but Mitchell didn’t stand out on tape to me. I think this is more about how low in esteem the coaching staff holds the other tackles than about how well Earl is playing, because between the last two preseason games, he’s been pretty invisible on tape.
The silver lining is that the Texans seem to have escaped New Orleans without any serious injuries. LB Danny Clark, who had an interception, sprained his knee and Kubiak thinks he is questionable for next Saturday against the Cowboys. This will continue to put the open linebacker spot during Cushing’s suspension under the spotlight for the next week or so, especially since LB Xavier Adibi continues to be out as well. The only two healthy LB’s competing for the spot at this point are special teams ace Kevin Bentley and rookie Darryl Sharpton. Neither of them were particularly impressive last night, but after Sharpton’s first game, you’d have to think he’d have the edge in the locker room, perhaps with Zac Diles moving to the strong-side while he steps in on the weak-side. Next week will be a big decider for that competition, as most teams basically ignore the fourth preseason game.
Coach Kubiak also doled out some praise for first rounder Kareem Jackson:
I thought that (CB) Kareem (Jackson), for his first time out, was solid and did some good things; didn’t have a lot of balls come his way. I was impressed about the way he came his first time out. After that, it was a long day for a lot of folks."
I agree with Kubiak on this one. Jackson was one of the few bright spots in a chug-the-bleach first half. I still worry about his play when he gets turned inside on slants, but he looks like he can keep up with players deep, and the fact that the Saints didn’t throw at him much looks like a great sign to me.
Kubiak insinuated that the starters will go three quarters against Dallas next week. Both Texas teams will be looking to move past sluggish preseason starts, although I’m not sure I’d want to give the Cowboys that much film on the 1’s since the Texans play them in Week 3 of the regular season as well.
After last night though, any sign of life would be welcomed. Anything to make the fans forget this embarrassment.