Houston’s horrid season gives Texans No. 1 pick
The Houston Texans thought they would be preparing for a deep
run in the playoffs.
Instead as the new year approaches, they’re looking for a new
coach and have the No. 1 pick in the draft after a stunning
collapse cost coach Gary Kubiak his job and left them with the
NFL’s worst record.
Their 2-14 mark ties the 2005 team for the poorest mark in team
history. But this one seems much worse because of the expectations
entering this season.
Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips took over as interim coach
when Kubiak was fired. Houston ended the season on a 14-game skid.
Phillips, who dealt with the death of his father, Bum, during the
season, was ready to put this rough year behind him.
He walked into his last news conference Monday with a plaintive
plea of: ”Let’s wrap up the season – please.”
Kubiak, who was in his eighth season in Houston, had a
mini-stroke at halftime of the Texans game against Indianapolis on
Nov. 3, but returned to work just 10 days later. Phillips also
filled in for Kubiak in the one game he missed because of his
Phillips is one of three candidates, along with Penn State’s
Bill O’Brien and former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith, who have
reportedly interviewed to be Houston’s next coach. Phillips, last a
head coach in Dallas, said he would like to be a head coach
”In certain circumstances, like here,” he said. ”Tampa Bay
wanted to talk to me two years ago and I declined that. It would
have to be the right situation. There aren’t many right
Houston safety Danieal Manning, who played for Smith in Chicago,
said he’s talked to him about his interest in returning to
coaching, but not specifically about this job.
”I’d love to play for Lovie again,” Manning said.
The Texans were coming off back-to-back AFC South titles and
were favorites to contend for a Super Bowl in 2013. Things looked
good early, with Houston starting 2-0 before the trouble began.
But even in the wins cracks began show in the play of
quarterback Matt Schaub, a Pro Bowler a year ago. He threw three
interceptions in the first two games combined, but Houston was able
to overcome his miscues for victories.
He struggled in the next two games, both losses, before things
got really ugly in the n against San Francisco. He tossed three
interceptions, including one on the third play of the game which
was returned for a score in the 34-3 loss. Schaub started one more
game before he was injured and replaced by Case Keenum. Schaub was
healthy a week later, but the Texans chose to stick with Keenum, an
undrafted free agent.
It was quickly apparent the record-setting University of Houston
quarterback wasn’t the answer as the losses piled up. Schaub got
spot work in two games after his benching before starting the final
two games after Keenum was injured.
It seemed fitting in this dreadful season that he threw an
interception on Houston’s last offensive play Sunday to seal the
The quarterback woes have many predicting Houston will use the
top pick on a QB. Top quarterbacks likely to be available are
Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny
Manziel of Texas A&M, and Fresno State’s Derek Carr, younger
brother of Houston’s first-ever draft pick, David Carr.
But Schaub’s rough season was far from Houston’s only problem
this year. It dealt with several season-ending injuries to key
The first came when tight end Owen Daniels broke a bone in his
leg on Oct. 7, and Manning went down a week later with a knee
injury. Star linebacker Brian Cushing was lost the next week when
he sustained a second straight season-ending injury to his left
Running back Arian Foster played eight games before being placed
on injured reserve and undergoing back surgery. He finished with
542 yards rushing to end a streak of three straight seasons with at
least 1,200 yards on the ground. Backup Ben Tate broke four ribs
just before Foster’s season ended, but continued to play until
another injury to his ribs sidelined him with two games left.
Along with the injuries on defense, the unit was also hurt by
the ineffective play of veteran safety Ed Reed. The Texans signed
him to a three-year, $15 million contract in the offseason thinking
he could be the piece to help Houston reach the next level. But he
missed the first two games after hip surgery and made just 16
tackles with no interceptions before he was released Nov. 12.
About the only bright spots for the Texans in this dismal year
were defensive end J.J. Watt and receiver Andre Johnson. Both
players made the Pro Bowl after Watt had 10 1/2 sacks and Johnson
finished with 1,407 yards receiving for his seventh career
”The team didn’t do well, but they did well and did some
amazing things,” Phillips said.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org