Houston Texans: In Year 8, Is Gary Kubiak Finally Adapting?

Troy Taormina – USA TODAY Sports

I’ve been one of Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak‘s most ardent critics. The honeymoon period for a new coach lasts two seasons max for me. Yes, he inherited quite a mess, as did Sean Payton, who took over his team at the same time — and we all know how that went.

Houston fans don’t like that comparison, but that’s the measuring stick in my opinion.

While I agree that it could be much worse here than Kubiak (remember the Dom Capers era?), my opinion of him really isn’t changing. He does a lot of things well, but he still makes too many mistakes that a coach entering his eighth season under the headset shouldn’t make.

The end of last season was more frustrating than ever when he showed his stubborn ways by refusing to make in-game adjustments against opponents, who were having their way with the Texans en route to blowouts in games that were over by the first few minutes of the third quarter.

Every year, I see and hear things about camp that make me think he is finally going to come off his unshakable ways, but by the end of the preseason, it’s all back to the norm. But something I heard coming out of training camp today really caught my attention more than usual:

For a guy that has been pretty set in his ways, this is a stunning revelation if it holds true for more than just in practice.

For those who don’t understand the X’s and O’s of the pistol formation, it puts the quarterback closer to the line of scrimmage than a traditional shotgun formation. It allows him to see over the line easily and gives him better reads on the defense. It also allows the ball to be snapped to him faster, causing timing issues for a challenging defense. How does this help Matt Schaub, you ask?

If the running game stays where it did in 2012, which was a step behind 2011, then it allows the passing game to play a bigger factor by giving Schaub more three and five-step drops, providing him the opportunity for quick passes. With an offense that completely stagnated at the tail end of 2012 after the running game became non-existent, this sounds like a much-needed change.

However, before I start getting too excited about this, I have to wonder why Kubiak would be unveiling a new offense in open practices. It doesn’t add up, and no matter how much sense it makes, I’m going to treat it like him calling for a fade pass in the red zone: I’ll believe it when I see it.

Fans have asked me what Kubiak has to do to earn my approval. Well, that’s unlikely to happen, if you want me to be honest. I can’t get behind a coach who allows his team to make so many mental mistakes and just doesn’t understand clock management at all. But if he at least shows a willingness to adapt to an ever-changing game, then it will be a step in the correct direction.

The game is changing and Kubiak needs to get out of thinking that it is 1998 and he’s still the offensive coordinator up in Denver. If adding some wrinkles to the offense happens in 2013, he’s finally getting this through his head.

Mike Kerns is a Houston Texans writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” his page on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also subscribe to his Texans podcast on iTunes.


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