Kubiak has tough decisions after preseason finale
Houston coach Gary Kubiak worried that he’d be cut before the
1983 regular season, when he was a rookie quarterback for the
The eighth-round draft pick remembers throwing two passes in the
preseason – one of them intercepted – and dreading the day when the
team had to trim its roster. At the time a player is about to be
cut, a team assistant will usually summon him to meet with the
coach and general manager.
”He sat in the lunchroom, and when you came by, he would say,
‘Take your playbook up to the office,”’ Kubiak recalls. ”He was
sitting there, and I walked by and he didn’t say anything, so I
kept eating and kept going to meetings. I was lucky. I got a chance
to play. The game’s about opportunities, and I got fortunate with
Now Kubiak has the final say on who stays and goes, and he’s got
several tough decisions to make by Saturday, when teams must reduce
their rosters to 53 players.
The Texans wrap up their preseason against Tampa Bay on Thursday
Kubiak says his hardest decision will be choosing between
kickers Kris Brown and Neil Rackers. Brown is the last original
Texan, but struggled last season, prompting Houston to bring in the
free agent Rackers to challenge for the job.
Neither has missed a field-goal try in the preseason, so the
final call may come down to Kubiak’s gut.
”I make it because I have to make it,” Kubiak said. ”I’ll
weigh every factor. I’m no kicking guru, but I’ve been watching the
kickers and what they do, I’m watching every kickoff in practice.
We’re trying to think of what fits best with our team, and that’s
who we’re going to go with.
”It’s no fun making that decision,” he said, ”but I’ve got to
Brown acknowledged early in training camp that he initially
resented Rackers. But the two have become close friends, and Brown
said their competition has made a positive impact on both
”I’ve enjoyed this experience more so than any camp that I was
a part of throughout my career,” Brown said. ”I’ve learned a lot
about myself as a player and a person. It’s been fun coming to work
Kubiak will also closely watch running backs Chris Henry and
Jeremiah Johnson in Thursday’s game. The two are jockeying for
position on the depth chart after rookie Ben Tate was lost for the
season with a broken ankle.
Kubiak said Henry and Johnson both need to play well Thursday
night to ensure spots on the final roster. Henry, a second-round
draft pick by Tennessee in 2007, signed with the Texans in the
middle of last season. Johnson, an undrafted free agent, sat out
last season with a shoulder injury.
The Texans’ starting offensive line is set, except at right
guard, where Mike Brisiel and Antoine Caldwell will finish their
fight for the job in Thursday’s game. Brisiel missed most of last
season with a foot injury, and Caldwell played in 10 games with
three starts as a rookie in 2009.
”I see it as good competition,” Caldwell said. ”When we came
into this preseason, I knew what it was going to be. We were going
to be battling for a job. We have one more game left and it’s been
good so far. We’re just looking forward to it.”
Kubiak said he’ll rest most of his starters Thursday night. He
said tight end Owen Daniels, just back practicing after a long
recovery from knee surgery, will definitely not play against Tampa
Backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky will take most of the snaps,
Kubiak said, and former Southern Cal star John David Booty will
likely see action.
Kubiak said he’ll make the final cuts on Friday morning.
”It’s a miserable day,” Kubiak said. ”You watched guys work
their tails for you, and then you’ve got to tell them, ‘No.’ It’s
part of the game, you just try to treat them with respect and try
to help them in any way you can, ’cause there’s a good chance you
may see some of them again the next year. They could be right back
in your camp, or you could be calling them again. It’s part of the