Things have a way of turning around for Gary Kubiak.
On Wednesday, the head coach was disappointed and frustrated with his rookies and newcomers after the second day of mini-camp. What a difference 24 hours makes.
Both Kubiak and Smith’s contracts were set to expire after the 2012 season, but after the franchise’s first trip to the postseason last year it was widely thought Texans chairman and CEO Bob McNair would extend their deals. Smith’s extension is for four years, keeping him in Houston through 2016, while Kubiak was given a three-year deal (re-doing the final year of his current agreement) which keeps him under contract through 2014.
Kubiak has gone 47-49 in six seasons, and was on the hot seat after a 6-10 record in 2010. With a fifth round third-string rookie QB, TJ Yates, the Texans won the AFC South and made it to the second round of the 2011 playoffs, a 20-13 road loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
McNair was criticized after letting DE/OLB Mario Williams leave in free agency. Houston’s number one overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft signed a six-year deal worth potentially $100 million with the Buffalo Bills in March. Texans fans were torn with the decision to not re-sign one of the league’s top pass rushers. Williams was limited the last two seasons with injuries. First, the two-time pro-bowler missed three games in 2010 after surgery to repair a sports hernia, and played in only five games last year after suffering a torn chest muscle. Despite the missed time, he posted a franchise-best 53 sacks in six seasons in Houston.
One of the reasons Williams entered free agency was due to Arian Foster’s five-year $43.5 million extension signed 10 days prior. Foster was sidelined three games with a hamstring injury last season, but still managed to amass 1,224 yards and 10 touchdowns – fifth-best in the NFL. With the ground attack aided by back-up Ben Tate, the Texans were second in rushing in the league, behind only the Denver Broncos. Without Williams, Houston was the fourth-ranked defense in the league, allowing 17 points per game and an average of 285 yards of offense.
The NFL is a business, and more so, a “what have you done for me lately” league.
Unlike players, coaches and team personnel do not count against the salary cap. However, they do count against the team’s wallet. McNair must feel what Kubiak and Smith have done for them lately is worth digging into their pockets.
For more from Dory, follow her on twitter @DoryLeBlanc1