In life, your biggest strengths can oftentimes be your biggest weaknesses. It’s a cliche, but one I believe that is true. Despite the valid consternation about the state of the 2013 Houston Texans, I present the current reverse situation: Bob McNair’s loyalty can be extremely beneficial this off-season.
At this point, I believe that Gary Kubiak and his entire coaching staff, save maybe Wade Phillips, will be gone the day after the season ends. 8 years as a head coach and a 9 game losing streak makes it untenable for Kubiak to return next season. Plus, his contract runs only through 2014, and very few NFL head coaches go through a lame-duck season. Some teams opt to give an embattled coach a one-year extension, but that is not politically palatable at this juncture.
Will McNair opt to clean house entirely and broom GM Rick Smith? I’m 50-50 on this one. You could argue that Smith has put together a talented roster that has underachieved due to coaching. On the other hand, he was part of the decision to give a contract extension to Matt Schaub. Smith is also the top guy in a front office that is somewhat responsible for a variety of disappointing draft picks: Sam Montgomery, Brooks Reed, Brandon Harris, Keshawn Martin, Roc Carmichael, etc.
Either way, I firmly believe the Texans will have a coaching search for 2013. This is where McNair’s loyalty will be a big asset moving forward. If you are a prospective NFL head coach, the Texans have to be one of the 5-7 best jobs in the NFL. Why? Job security.
It may drive fans crazy that it took so long to fire Dom Capers and (ultimately) Kubiak, but it has created a fairly big upside with the organization. Now, someone thinking about the Texans’ job will know that McNair gives his head coaches enough time to truly build a program.
Almost any NFL assistant coach would leap at the chance to be the head coach of a team, but I believe that the McNair loyalty factor can play a bigger role for a college coach. Imagine if you’re Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M or Bill O’Brien at Penn State. Both men have job security, but also have NFL ties or aspirations. To leave College Station or State College, they would need some stability in the NFL ranks. The Houston Texans are the kind of organization that would appeal to Sumlin or O’Brien.
I realize that fans are extremely upset and disappointed, but realize this: when Bob McNair calls, any prospective head coach will have to pick up and listen.
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