I’m in Charge Here

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December 21, 2005
I’m in Charge Here

by Bob Hulsey

Get ready for a major shakeup in Texanland. Jimmy Johnson had been offered/not offered a position. Dan Reeves has been brought on board as a "consultant". Charley Casserly’s house is on the market. Dom Capers appears to have two games left in his coaching tenure.

So who’s running this team anyway? Heck, I’ll step into the vacuum. I’m pulling an Alexander Haig here. I’m taking over.

I’ve got the makings of a staff right here. I’ve got aj_ and Keith around as capologists. Roy Pickett is here as my top draft scout. Vinny can be my advance scout as well as quarterbacks coach. Warren has many talents that can be put to use.

So, first of all, we need to clear out the deadwood. Capers was a nice choice to start a franchise but apparently not a good one to sustain a franchise. Casserly could probably see the handwriting on the wall when owner Bob McNair started asking questions about why he traded two high draft picks for Phillip Buchanon. Both are gone under my new regime.

As for Reeves, he can stay around as a consultant for McNair. I don’t feel threatened by that. He’s been around a long time and his input should be valuable. But he shouldn’t think about becoming head coach. Seriously, does anyone think it is smart for somebody with a heart condition to be coaching this team after the way they bungled three straight games in the closing seconds? Coach Zocor should be writing his acceptance speech to Canton instead. After all, they put in Marv Levy, didn’t they? So the Hall is open now for four-time Super Bowl losers.

My choice for head coach is Reeves’ old draft choice – Gary Kubiak, the offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos. He was a hot commodity after the Broncos won two Super Bowls but chose to stay under Mike Shanahan. He has shown interest in head coaching before but only for the right opportunity. I think this is that opportunity. If he still has the desire to be the top man, this is the right environment. There’s no coaching legend to be compared to here.

Kubiak has had long exposure to the zone blocking scheme that makes the Broncos one of the top rushing acts in the league. His rollout passing game should bring out the talents of many an athletic college quarterback. If anyone can take our offensive parts and make them click, I think he has the best chance.

But the former Aggie quarterback has never had to work with the defensive side of the ball. My choice for defensive coordinator is present University of Texas defensive coordinator Gene Chizik. While others have more coaching experience, this fast riser has coached undefeated seasons at Auburn (2004) and Texas (2005) with top defensive rankings. He hasn’t lost a game since Novermber 2003. This won’t be the first time the NFL has come calling either. Chizik interviewed with the Jaguars last year before taking the Texas job.

Both coaches are young and aggressive and could make their mark in Houston for a long time.

There are some other major on-the-field personnel issues coming up quickly for the Texans and, in charge, here’s what I’d do:

  • I would not pick up the option on QB David Carr but I would leave the door open for him to return under a new contract. If he leaves, though, I’m going to give Dave Ragone a chance to lead the club with a veteran like Tony Banks or Kelly Holcomb in reserve. We need to find out if Ragone can handle the job. Winning the league MVP of NFL Europe should indicate he has some potential but it will never be realized on the inactive list. Drafting a new quarterback for the Texans won’t happen until 2007 at the earliest.
  • I would release or not re-sign Corey Bradford, Tony Hollings, Steve McKinney, Zach Weigert, Seth Wand, Mark Bruenner, Bennie Joppru, Marcus Coleman and Phillip Buchanon. A few more would leave if it weren’t for the cap hit. Still, we’ll bite the bullet in 2006 just to be rid of some bad contracts or bad apples.
  • If I had a pick in the top two of the draft, I would trade down to get additional choices. I would target the offensive line and tight end but keep an eye open for defensive players who can help.
  • I’ll also find help in free agency to fill holes but probably not star players. These would be role players.

Folks, we will suck in 2006. The road back is going to need some time. We found out what happens when you buy the Ferrari before building the garage. Until the front sevens on both side of the ball are solid, it is pointless to add more skill players for the backfields. What we have now is good enough until the blocking and tackling get better.

With better blocking and a good tight end, Domanick Davis, Vernand Morency, Andre Johnson and Jerome Mathis will perform just fine. The defense is a dicier question. Positions need to be upgraded but it isn’t clear where until we see how the defense is designed. Dunta Robinson is the only person on that side of the ball I would consider ‘safe’. Chizik has worked mostly with a 4-3 base but most of the Texans have played in a 4-3 in the pros other than the ones we drafted from the college ranks.

2006 and 2007 will be the time for putting the ship right and resuming the trek towards the playoffs. Nobody can fill in all the blanks now but that’s the direction we will head. Dynasties are not built overnight and neither will the Texans.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to huddle with my staff before our press conference begins.

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