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The Gary Kubiak All-Stars

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Football Outsiders is running a series based on coaches called "The (Insert coaches name) All-Stars," which basically is a team of all the best players (and their best years) that a certain coach has had. Obviously, Gary Kubiak doesn't have the prestige (or the players, or the longevity) that some of the coaches in this series have had, but lets put together a team of our own just to see if we can find any trends.

Skill Positions

QB: Matt Schaub, 2009
RB: Steve Slaton, 2008
FB: Vonta Leach, 2007
WR: Andre Johnson, 2008
WR: Kevin Walter, 2008
TE: Owen Daniels, 2009

The skill position players are really just the best players the Texans have had in the last two years, when their offense turned from average to good, asides from Vonta Leach. Leach was a much better blocker in 2007 and has been on the downslide ever since. I don't really think there should be any arguments with the seasons here; I picked Johnson's 2008 because he had a better catch percentage, and Daniels was en route to his best season in 2009 before tearing his ACL again. It's comforting to know that all of the best offensive weapons the Texans have employed are also currently on the team.

Offensive Line

LT: Ephraim Salaam, 2006
LG: Chester Pitts, 2007
C: Chris Myers, 2009
RG: Mike Brisiel, 2008
RT: Eric Winston, 2009

This one was a bit more troubling. Winston was easily the best player on the line, and one of Chester Pitts' good years was an easy cinch for left guard. Chris Myers was slightly better last season than he was in his first as the starter, and he's also Mike Flanagan, so he gets the nod. Brisiel was a great run mauler in 2008, but not much of a pass blocker. Still, his competition is Fred Weary and Steve McKinney. The Texans haven't had a great left tackle in four years. I gave the nod to Salaam, even if Kubiak did scale the 2006 offense back completely, because he managed to actually keep David Carr upright. Perhaps Duane Brown will take that spot next year, but his first two years have shown that he can't keep anyone away from his quarterback, sacks or no sacks.

Front Seven

DE: Mario Williams, 2007
DT: Amobi Okoye, 2007
DT: *sigh* Shaun Cody, 2009
DE: Antonio Smith, 2009
LB: Brian Cushing, 2009
LB: DeMeco Ryans, 2006
LB: Zac Diles, 2009

It's really depressing that the best "nose" tackle on this list is Shaun Cody, but the truth can be sad sometimes. It certainly wasn't Anthony Maddox or Travis Johnson. I was almost tempted to go with DelJuan Robinson, which is a telling statement in it's own right. The Texans other ends precluded the selection of Smith as well, as I would never put Anthony Weaver on this list. The good Amobi and best Mario seasons were easy picks. I went with Ryans' 2006 season mainly because he had more tackles in it than the other three. Diles was an easy, if sobering, pick at OLB compared to Morlon Greenwood.

Secondary

CB: Dunta Robinson, 2006
CB: Fred Bennett, 2007
FS: Will Demps, 2007
SS: Bernard Pollard, 2009

Two guys who aren't with the team anymore, one who probably won't be when training camp ends, and Pollard. Yes, this is what happens when you make a safety core out of paper-mache and hope. Bennett's out of his head year and subsequent fall to earth is one of the many coulda-shoulda tales that probably should be explored further at some point. If Bennett had played to his rookie year level the last two years, the Texans very well have made the playoffs. Dunta was a solid, if perhaps slightly overrated, corner before his injury. 

Special Teams

KR: Andre Davis, 2007
PR: Jacoby Jones, 2008
K: Kris Brown, 2008
P: Matt Turk, 2009

The Texans, with Jones, Davis, and also Jerome Mathis, have a history of solid return men. Brown was a solid kicker for most of his Houston tenure, but was definitely at his best in 2008. Matt Turk wins the "I'm not Chad Stanley" award for achievement in the field of excellence.

So, what have we learned? Someone needs to go more in-depth with Fred Bennett. Oh, and nose tackle and safety are problems and always have been. But we already knew that, I hope.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.