Gary Kubiak is done as the Houston Texans coach.
The morning after a nationally televised debacle in Jacksonville — one that saw Kubiak jerking around young quarterback Case Keenum again — Texans owner Bob McNair stepped up and did the right thing for his franchise. He informed Kubiak he was being let go in a Friday meeting and then met the press in a surreal press conference scene at Reliant Stadium. McNair says he made the decision flying back from Jacksonville in the team plane last night.
McNair brought up Keenum and the need to see if the former University of Houston quarterback can become an NFL starting quarterback.
"We're going to give him a chance," McNair says of Keenum.
"We have a young quarterback Case Keenum and we need to find out if he's capable of being a starter or a backup," McNair says. "The way you find out is by playing him."
Kubiak, of course, suddenly benched Keenum for Matt Schaub for the second time in four weeks in the third quarter of the Jacksonville game, bringing back his favorite Matt Schaub. Again. CultureMap immediately wrote at the time that Kubiak's quarterback decision was a fireable offense.
McNair made it clear that Keenum will now play the last three games of the season.
"We're going to give him a chance," McNair says.
Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips takes over as interim coach while the Texans begin a new head coaching search. The 2-11 Texans have gone from Super Bowl dreams to the worst team in all of football. They now hold the inside track for the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, a pick that Texans general manager Rick Smith — who is rightly staying — will make.
"We're about winning and accountability," McNair says.
The owner also cited the franchise record 177 penalty yards the Texans racked up in the loss to the Jaguars. The Texans appeared completely undisciplined and uncoached on the Thursday night stage.
Kubiak's clearly lost this team. And his eight-year reign at Reliant will be remembered as much for inexplicably lost seasons like this one (and the 6-10 2010) as the first two playoff seasons in franchise history.
"We felt a change was needed in the head coaching position," McNair says.
The owner is hardly the only one who felt that. In many ways, Kubiak became his own worst enemy with his obsession with giving Schaub more chances baffling almost everyone in the organization. If Kubiak simply sticks with Keenum and gives him a real chance, he likely lasts till the end of the year.
Instead, he's gone on a cold, windy Friday in Houston.
You have to give McNair credit for stepping up and doing the right thing. McNair is no Jerry Jones. He's not an owner who is out for blood. You can be sure this move gives him no pleasure.
But it's a firing that needed to happen. For Keenum. For the future. For the fans. For the franchise.