It seems that the popular thing for casual fans (i.e., not us miserable bloggers) of the Texans is to have blindingly loyal support for the team to hire Bill Cowher to be the new coach should Gary Kubiak finally get his pink slip at season's end.
On the other side (again, us despairing and despondent bloggers) of the fence, the popular thing seems to be an "anybody but Cowher" approach. Both have compelling reasons for and against "The Chin" as the possible next leader of the Texans.
So, with that in mind, I figured I'd take this opportunity to further the debate that was started in this thread by BoneCollector27 to expand on the debate and tackle many of the reasons people are against his hire. Hit the jump and hold your breath.
Before I begin and Rip Jersey proclaims me to be in "Camp Cowher," let me state that I am not necessarily all in for Cowher. I'm certainly not against him here, because I would like to see it. But I'm not ready to throw all my chips into that pile exclusively. The point of this article is to bring up many of the points that people have against him and try to debunk if they're true or if those guys are just repeating what they've heard from others. Let us begin.
"Cowher was only successful in Pittsburgh because of Dick LeBeau."
This is probably the number one reason I've read/heard from the blogging community about a reason not to hire Cowher. It may be true, it may not. In many ways, it makes sense. Pittsburgh had a reputation for being an incredibly tough defensive team while Cowher was teamed with LeBeau. And now that Mike Tomlin has taken over, still paired with LeBeau, they're still known as a great defensive team. So there we have a pretty big argument that this is proper logic.
However, there are many like myself that feel like this is a complete cop-out argument that they heard someone else say and believe that it just must be the truth. See, the same argument can be made that LeBeau had no real positive track record anywhere else he coached. LoneSpot pointed it out pretty well in the aforementioned thread:
Re: Dick LeBeau
From ‘97-2002, the Steelers had two losing seasons but also went to two AFC Championship Games (’97 to Denver, and ’01 to New England). All without LeBeau.
Meanwhile in Cinci, the Bengals D never ranked higher than 17th and endured some horrible seasons with LeBeau as DC (‘97-’99) and HC (‘00-’02).
That begs the question, why is LeBeau so highly coveted without ever having success outside of Pittsburgh?
Pretty good points, if you ask me.
I hear all the time that Cowher was only successful because of the people that he was surrounded with. To me, assuming that he wouldn't be able to surround himself with good people here is just that--an assumption. Even Aaron, an anti-Cowher guy, brought up a good point in the last Luv Ya Steel Blue podcast. He said the mark of a true leader on the football field is a guy who recognizes his weaknesses and surrounds himself with people who excel in those places. We don't know that Cowher wouldn't do that here. We do know that he likely wouldn't just hire his buddies for key spots like the current head coach has done here.
"Cowher is going to want complete control, including personnel moves."
This has been the rumor for a long time, but do we have any hard evidence that this is the truth? We don't even know for sure that he will be heading back into coaching this year yet. This is all based off of a report by Mort at ESPN quoting a "source close to Bill Cowher." It could be complete bunk, just like the one last year. So to assume that he is going to try demand complete control over everything up to and including personnel moves, again, is an assumption.
"Bringing in Cowher would require switching to a 3-4 and I don't want us to rebuild."
To me, fear of switching to a 3-4 shouldn't be anyone's primary reason against hiring Cowher. Seriously, it isn't like there is a quick fix to the defense Houston currently has installed. No matter how "close" Bob thinks they are, it's true. A new regime would turnover, at a minimum, a quarter of these guys. Switching to a 3-4 would be fine by me because we would finally go out and get a fat ass nose tackle to push the line instead of using the "light, quick guys" to shoot the gaps. This is something that would go over pretty well with most of the BRB staff, I believe.
The main reason to be against this move would be that Mario Williams isn't considered a 3-4 guy. That is a real concern that I don't have a defense for. I'm still not sold that he couldn't become a DeMarcus Ware type in a 3-4, but I'm not the "Xs and Os" type a lot of the other guys here are and perhaps they could touch more on this one in the comments below.
As far as using the word "rebuilding," I think it's a bit of a stretch. This isn't a 2 win team like when Gary took them over. Rebuilding isn't required. On the other hand, the team hasn't won jack shit yet. How can they "rebuild" if they've never won anything? Every year there are teams that look like they're going to rebuild and yet they have an incredible turnaround (Kansas City and Tampa Bay come to mind this year) and make the playoffs. People need to stop thinking it takes 4 or 5 seasons to make a competitive or playoff bound football team. That's not how other franchises in the NFL work.
"Cowher would choose Miami or New York over Houston."
While we were mentioned with the Giants and Dolphins as his preferred destinations, the rumor is that we are third on that list. All three of those teams still have coaches. Even after the meltdown that New York had against the Eagles the other day, the co-owner of the team denied the Cowher rumors and gave full support to Tom Coughlin. Bottom line is that one more win and they're in the playoffs. They just won a Super Bowl three years ago, and there is no real reason to believe Coughlin would be canned unless the owner just had a huge hard-on for Cowher. Coughlin would be unemployed for all of five minutes.
Tony Sparano's job in Miami may be more in question. He did take them to the playoffs his first year in Miami, but they've underachieved in the past two years. However, he has the excuse of not having a legitimate NFL quarterback this year to blame for the .500 record. Also, the team is said to be suffering monetarily. This would conflict with giving Cowher the money that he is said to be looking for. I believe Sparano has at least one more year under the headset in Miami.
Then you got Houston. No one can get a real grasp on what Bob is thinking. He comes out in support of Gary Kubiak AGAIN and then Gary absolutely embarrasses the owner with the team's performance a few days later in Tennessee. Not a peep from Bob since, and I have no reason to believe we'll hear from him again until a day or two after the season is over, likely when Frank Bush is fired. Will that also be the decision has been made to let Gary Kubiak go? Maybe, but not likely. Still, a lot can happen in two weeks, especially with this club.
One thing that I find interesting though is that last season Cowher was said to have listed a couple teams he wanted to coach if possible. If I recall correctly, it was the Bears and the Texans. So at least in that, Houston has been consistent. I know he's a tool, but Peter King had an interesting quote in his Monday Morning Quarterback column this week.
My guess is unless there's an opening in Houston, Cowher's going to stay in TV for one more year, at least.
Houston is an attractive job, regardless of how messed up the team is in our opinions. There are great facilities and (arguably) good ownership. They have an explosive offense and a franchise trio in QB Matt Schaub, RB Arian Foster and WR Andre Johnson. They have multiple pieces on defense that could play on a winning team and their fan support is surprisingly loyal. I say "surprisingly" because if the Rockets or Astros were this bad to mediocre for this amount of time, those stadiums would be empty and selling out season tickets would be a joke. It's an attractive destination that I think more coaches than just Bill Cowher will be attracted to should it open.
In conclusion, if you want to put me in "Camp Cowher," go ahead. I'd love to have him here, I won't lie. But I don't believe that he is going to be the one-year miracle worker everyone believes he would be. I also believe that any fanbase of a team that has had nine seasons of shame and mediocrity shouldn't be quite so picky to turn down a Super Bowl winning coach.