If you didn't have the opportunity to watch and listen to what Bob McNair had to say about relieving Gary Kubiak of his duties as the Texans' head coach a couple of hours ago, you can download a copy of the press conference transcript here. Below are a few quotes I've pulled so you can leave your immediate reaction in the Comments.
Bob McNair (opening statement) "Good morning. This has been a very disappointing year for the Texans organization. We started out with such high hopes. We felt like that we had the best roster that we’ve ever started the year with and we really, really anticipated a very favorable outcome. To have this string of losses that we sustained is just totally unacceptable and it’s not what this organization is about. We’re about winning and accountability. Even though we normally would wait until the end of the year to evaluate our coaching staff and our players, under these extreme circumstances, we decided it was in the best interest of the organization to go ahead and start that evaluation process now. As a result of that, we felt that a change was needed in the head coach position. So Gary Kubiak is no longer the head coach and Wade Phillips will serve as the interim head coach. We’ll evaluate the rest of the coaching staff. We will also be evaluating the players. We decided that one of the advantages of going ahead and taking action now rather than waiting is it allows us to start the process of finding a new head coach. And that process is under way and those prospects that are not under contract in the NFL are people that we can visit with. So we’ll start this process immediately. Some of the people that we’ll visit with are going to be in coaching positions now and it would be detrimental to their situation if those discussions with them were made public. So therefore, all of this will be held on a confidential basis and we will not be having public sessions with the prospects. We will have to wait until after the season is over and when the window is open for those prospects who are under contract in the NFL, and we’ll certainly abide by those rules. We are so disappointed, I guess shocked by what has happened. I know that our fans are just terribly disappointed and they’re no more disappointed than we are. I want to thank Gary Kubiak. Gary, he has brought this team to a new level. We’ve had two division championships. We’ve had some outstanding performance. It’s been a job that he has totally committed and he’s put everything, his whole being into it. We couldn’t ask for more out of anyone and it’s very disappointing that he’s not going to be with us in the future. I truly felt that he would be with us until it was time for him to retire. And so I’m disappointed for him and for his family that it didn’t work out this way. But we have to do what’s best for the organization and we will always do that. We’re here to have a winning culture and this year does not contribute to that. We’ve got to turn this around. Wade Phillips will serve as the interim coach and our goal is we’ve got three more games. Our goal is to go out and win three games. Some people say that’s not going to be our interest. Well, believe me, it is our interest. We’re going to go out and fight hard and do everything we can to win. We want a winning culture. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first game or the last game. That’s what we expect of everybody in the organization. So with that, I believe we will be ready for any questions."
(on what kind of coach he’ll be looking for as far as personality, character, etc.) "Well, if you look at the record, defensive coordinators have been more successful than offensive coordinators, but not by a large percentage. It’s going to be based more on the individual. We’re looking for a coach that is bright, ethical, who’s culture fits in with the culture of our organization, innovative, flexible, able to make adjustments, works with great energy and enthusiasm and very positive in his approach. Surely that person is out there and we’ll find that person."
(on his thought process of coming to this decision) "We’ve been evaluating it every game and asking the question, ‘What’s in the best interest of the organization?’ We have a young quarterback, Case Keenum, and we need to find out whether Case is capable of being a starter or whether he’s capable of being a backup and the way you find that out is by playing him. We have waited to see how that was developing and to see how much progress we could make in the development of him as a player. We’re at the point now where we needed to go ahead and make some changes because losing like this is just unacceptable and something that we just can’t tolerate."
(on what was the final straw to make him make the decision to make a change) "I think the last straw was losing. We’ve got a lot better talent than Jacksonville and to have them beat us twice, that’s to their credit. They played harder. They played smarter. That’s not acceptable to us, to have some team beat us on that basis. If they’re better than we are, if they have better ability than we do, then fine. We expect to go out and play hard and play smart and we didn’t play smart."
(on if a college coach is a possibility or if he prefers to stick with someone who is currently in the NFL) "We would like someone who has had head coaching experience, but has also had NFL experience. It’s a combination of those two things would be the ideal situation and there are people who meet those conditions."
(on if he thought about making a coaching change following the first loss to Jacksonville this season) "Well, I’ve thought about it continually in terms of, ‘Are we making progress?’ If we’re making progress, then fine. Let’s continue along the line that we’re going. We’ve sort of had our ups and downs and the game against New England, we were in a very good position to win that game. Case (Keenum) was matching (Tom) Brady, in terms of possessions, going up and down the field scoring. That was very encouraging. It’s just the inconsistency and the mental errors and the lack of discipline from time-to-time. Just didn’t see that we were progressing and showing improvement in those areas where we needed to show improvement. And still, it’s a performance-related business and when you lose, a loss is a loss and we just can’t tolerate that." (on if Wade Phillips will decide who the starting quarterback will be or if he already knows) "Case (Keenum) is going to be the quarterback. We’re going to give him a chance to see how he can perform. I think the jury is still out. He’s got a lot of ability. He’s shown some flashes of brilliance and then he’s shown some rookie mistakes. We’ve got to see if we can improve, eliminate those mistakes, minimize those mistakes and continue some of the outstanding play that (we’ve) seen and see whether we think that he can be a starting quarterback in the NFL. At this point, we really don’t know."
(on if not sticking with QB Case Keenum being one of the key contributors to this decision) "No, the whole key is what is in the best interest of the organization. And, Case has had his ups and downs and we think that he needs to be given the opportunity and he will be given the opportunity now, but there were a lot of other things that happened. 14 penalties – that is not the difference between Case and Matt playing or making a change. Things like that are just totally unacceptable."
I need to interject here. I watched the press conference live, and there was some real hesitation from McNair before and during his answer to this question. Hesitation to the point that I was left thinking that Kubes' decision to bench Case Keenum in favor of Matt Schaub last night was the final straw for McNair. Not that I believe McNair would have fired Kubiak if the Texans had won last night, but I do wonder if McNair and Kubiak had talked about the need for Keenum to play for the rest of the season (especially after Kubiak pulled Keenum for Schaub a few weeks ago against the Raiders at Reliant Stadium, much to the chagrin of the fans in the stands) and whether it was made clear to Kubiak that McNair wanted Keenum to get the reps. This is all speculation, but if something like that happened, McNair may well have decided Kubiak forced his hand.
(on when he made the decision to relieve Gary Kubiak of his duties) "Actually, I guess flying back last night I had time to think about it and thought it was the right time to make this move. We’ve got a little time between now and our next game so we have a little bit more time to prepare. It makes sense to do it now."
(on talking about potential candidates you will be approaching and if Lovie Smith someone the team is interested in) "There are some people who are not coaching now that will be considered and Lovie is a good example. He’s a good coach and one of several. It will be best for the whole process to keep it confidential as to who we actually decide to visit with as we go forward."
More to come.