After his third year as a head coach in the NFL, the Texans’ Gary Kubiak is really finding his stride when dealing with the media. A week ago, Kubiak made a great unscripted speech at the University of St. Thomas regarding his playing career and the challenges of life. While the speech has very little to do with the current state of the Texans, I highly recommend watching the fifteen minute clip because it is telling of the confidence and excitement that Kubiak now possesses.
Today after day two of the OTAs, Kubiak spoke with the media and didn’t mince words. It seems as if he is coming into his own as a head coach. I’ve never been a fan of coaches that constantly call out players in the media, but occasionally I feel it’s necessary and if you don’t, there will be a lack of accountability on your team. Finding that balance between the two can be difficult, but it appears that Kubiak knows exactly how much honesty he likes to give the media as evidenced by three unanticipated quotes.
On Travis Johnson’s inability to perform during the OTAs: “It’s not good,” Kubiak said. “He needs to be out there. He needs to be out there helping the football team and he’s got a long, long way to go as a player. But he’s got issues, so we’ll get the issues solved and then we’ll let him get out there and compete.”
I think we could finally be seeing the beginning of the end of the Travis Johnson Era in Houston. Kubiak seemed to imply that Johnson’s inability to play today was due to being out of shape and he didn’t try to hide his impatience and disappointment with Johnson’s lack of preparation in the offseason. In my mind, that was pretty much the worst thing that an underachieving former first round draft pick could do to start out the last year on his contract. Also, don’t forget that Johnson was drafted in 2005 and therefore is not one of “Kubiak’s guys."
On the comment that Amobi Okoye made to the media that his knee still feels a little funny: “He’s been fine,” Kubiak said. “He was good yesterday. He has a quad problem actually that has given his knee some soreness, and we feel like we’re on top of that. He’s had a good offseason, so unless he’s telling you something he doesn’t tell me, I think he’s OK.”
I defended Amobi a month ago when he stated publicly that his knee was sore, but now he’s starting to annoy me with this and I’m not alone; Kubiak looked extremely perturbed when asked this question. I would not be shocked if Amobi is getting a speech right now on what should and should not be said to the media. I can’t think of why he would insist on telling the media anyway because I can’t think of what would be gained by doing so. In the end, I have to remind myself that we’re talking about a 21 year old guy that still has some maturing to do.
“Fred’s (Bennett) a starter right now. This league is about opportunity, and through Dunta’s situation, Fred’s a starting corner on this team right now. We’ll see how he does with it. He’s really taken to David’s (Gibbs) attention and he’s worked very, very hard."
Yeah, that just happened. That’s the first time that I’ve seen Kubiak call out Dunta like that since this whole mess started, and I personally like it. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dunta gets butt hurt about it and replies somehow, but why wouldn’t a head coach make contingency plans for a player who has chosen to hold out and do it so publicly? If David Gibbs got Fred Bennett to play like he did his rookie year and Dunta stayed at the same level where he was last season (which is more possible the longer he holds out of team activities), Bennett would deserve to start--Dunta or no Dunta. In my opinion, this was a not-so-subtle message to Dunta that he is replaceable and should act accordingly. Remember what I said about Johnson not being one of Kubiak's guys... when was Dunta drafted?
I suggest watching the video because with each of the quotes the way that Kubiak said them is almost as important as what was said.