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Fisking Kubiak's Press Conference: Speaking Without Communicating

Last weekend I went to the Disney Food and Wine festival at Epcot with my family.  They set up a bunch of tents that represent different countries and for a few bucks, you can buy some small plates of food from each country along with some wine (or beer -- there's actually a ton of beer). 

This has become a bit of a family tradition for us as we love both food and wine (and beer).  Our approach is to skip lunch and dinner and pretty much spend the day sharing the various dishes while we slowly, but steadily, get blindingly drunk.

This year, however, was a bit different.  An unnamed tropical wave passed through central Florida and dumped over 10 inches of rain.  As you can imagine, this put quite the damper on the festivities.  The majority of our group, decided to call it a day around 1:00, leaving my dad and I as the only ones to say, "Screw it, I don't care if it's raining, I want to drink." 

After everyone left, my dad and I had a great time and were able to successfully continue the tradition of getting wasted at Disney.  As the night progressed we joked that the two of us were better suited to handle the horrible conditions since we've both done some mentally grueling activities, such as mountain climbing, where you have to persevere in difficult conditions in order to achieve a goal (and seeing as this involved beer and talking animals, it was far easier).

Of course, the more likely explanation is that as a Texans fan, being miserable and looking for booze is just part of the normal weekend routine.

After three painful losses in the past four weeks, those looking for answers from the Texans' head coach were left with nothing but more questions.  According to standard operating procedure, Kubiak successfully navigated a minefield of softball questions without providing even the slightest insight.  So let's fisk the crap out of it.

Here's hoping my boss doesn't notice if I slip a little liquor into my coffee.

(on CB Jason Allen playing in the game) "I don’t know how many plays he played. I don’t know, I’ll have to go back and look at the tape."

Well, Gary, I think you're going to have a hard time finding him on the tape, because as best as I can tell, he didn't play.  It's hard to find definitive data on this, but even if he did make it in for a few plays here or there, it wasn't enough.  Look, I'm never going to be a Jason Allen defender, and I definitely realize that choosing between Allen and Kareem Jackson is kind of like choosing between having your house broken into or getting into a car accident, but going 100% with Kareem just doesn't make sense.  Unless you took the over on Joe Flacco's passing yards.

(on the running game the past two weeks) "We haven’t run the ball well the past two weeks, you are right. Twenty five carries for 90-something yards, I think. This team is a tough team to run on, but you’ve just got to keep pounding at them, and we did. I think we kept battling, had ourselves some good [field] position as a team. A 19-14 football game early in the fourth quarter, we’re down there on the 40-yard line, third-and-8, make a play, we knew it was going to be that kind of play, we didn’t make it, and they started making theirs, but you are right, we’re not running the ball well right now."

There's our first "battling".  I've also noticed in Kubiak's answers that when he has no idea what to say, he just changes the topic.  I mean, what does the play in the fourth quarter have to do with running the ball?   It seems the play he was referring to was on 3rd and 9 from the 38, but that was an incomplete pass to Foster, i.e. not a running play.

I'm going to try this with my wife in the future.

Her:  "Why didn't you take the trash out?"

Me:  "Yeah, I haven't taken it out, but I've been doing a great job on the yard plus with the current state of the nation, global warming, and the continuing presence of Bravo, I'm concerned about the type of world our daughter is going to grow up in."

/drinks more beer.

(on how difficult passing third downs were) "We had it under control, I thought, for the most part, until we got down to where we had to start throwing the ball. I thought we did a good job with our third downs in the first half, mixing it up in what we were doing, making it manageable, and we were able to protect Matt [Schaub]. But you’re right, you get down more than a touchdown to this football team, and they know you have to throw, you’re going to have a hard time holding up."

Manageable third downs in the first half?  Here are the third down "to go" distances for the Texans in the first half:  8, 7, 15, 10, 6, 4, 5, 7, 12, 7.  If we draw the line in the sand for "manageable" at less than 5, that means one was manageable.  That you converted a decent number doesn't mean you were in good position.

Kubiak probably also feels that the economy is manageable.

(on not making plays) "I don’t have the plays in front of me. I know we dropped some balls that could have been first downs. Like I said, we were right there in the game where we wanted to be at 19-14, on the road, against this team. I mean, that’s a pretty good position to be in. We didn’t make the plays, and they did, we dropped the ball on offense and didn’t make the plays, and they come up, make big plays and move down the field. We all had our part in it, and we had our opportunities as a football team."

So trailing away from home in the fourth quarter against one of the best teams in the league is "where [you] wanted to be?"  Apparently, in the pregame meetings, he walked up to the whiteboard and wrote the following:

Keys to the game:

1)  Be trailing by five in the fourth quarter.

2)  ????

3)  Win!

(on going for it on fourth-and-1 early) "Really, to me, we just have to line up and make a yard. The way we’ve been running the ball, last week and then this week, I’m disappointed in it, and you’re not going to go very far in this league if you can’t line up and make a yard. I don’t care how many people they have on the line of scrimmage. We will stay aggressive, I expect us to stay on the field right there, line up and be able to move the chains, and we didn’t do it, so give them credit."

I actually liked this call, but then again, I'm the type of guy who hates kicking the field goal on fourth and short deep in the opponent's territory.  Sure we got screwed on the facemask non-call, but then the Texans got the ball right back, before fumbling into the endzone for a touchdown.  I'd fill you in on what I said during this stretch, but then I'd have to ban myself.

(on the Ravens’ ability to run the ball late in the game) "They made some big plays, and they made a couple big plays on the boot. That kind of put the game away. We had wasted some timeouts with some issues. That hurt us that we didn’t have those timeouts at the end.  [Ray Rice] ended up running for 100 yards, but a lot of the damage was done late, when they were putting us away there."

In my mind, not being able to stop the run or the pass while also being unable to run or pass yourself were much bigger factors than not having the timeouts.  I think Kubiak might be one of those guys who's unable to prioritize the impact of different items.  He probably doesn't figure out what he's going to wear for the day until he settles on the appropriate socks.

(on timeout issues) "We had a personnel issue one time and a formation issue. There’s no excuses, you can’t waste timeouts on stuff like that."

Agreed.  The big question is whether or not you'll do something about it other than say, "We shouldn't do that."  When I was a kid, my parents would follow that up with an ass whoopin'.  Might want to consider that.

(on being aggressive late in the second quarter) "We were going, but we got sacked. We had third-and-13, I think, and we sure as heck don’t want to give them the ball. The fact that they did not use their timeout there, I’m going to use all the clock, hopefully get out of there, where we were because of the situation we had, and we did. We got the ball back with the turnover, and we got back to midfield, doing what I thought was smart there."

My daughter will be ten months old this week.  To date, we have successfully taught her to wave goodbye and to use sign language for "more" when she's still hungry.  She is now a better communicator than Gary Kubiak.

(on the two big Ravens pass plays in the third quarter) "Yeah, they really did. They made some great throws. They went up and got a couple of deep balls on us. The deep balls, especially in the second half, I think [Joe Flacco] threw for over 300 yards. We gave up some big plays. We were able to hold them to some field goals. That was the positive thing, but we did give up some big plays."

If I were an independent film maker, I would make the following short movie (all in black and white, of course).

Fade in

Shot of flower in a field

Reporter:  "Can you talk about the big plays that they made on you?"

Shot of sun

Kubiak:  "They sure did."

Closeup of a woman's eye with a single tear

Shot of dead flower

Fade out


(on replacing the big plays of WR Andre Johnson) "This team right here, you have to be able to battle them and go toe to toe. You’re not going to sit back there and hold the ball and let people get 30, 40, or 50 yards down the field. You’ve got to understand what you’re going against. I like the way we approached it. I liked the way we were staying on schedule. I liked the type of game we were in. But I’ll just go back to the fact that when it counted most, with about 10 minutes left in the game, with a 19-14 game, we quit making plays, and they started making plays. Unless I see the film and see something different, that’s the way I see it as of right now."

The bolded section of this response is exactly what is said when you pull the string on the Gary Kubiak talking doll.

(on what the lack of big plays means) "I don’t know. It means we have to make them. I’ve got to make calls, coaches have to do a better job, players have got to make the plays.

We’ve got a good football team, but they don’t give you a damn thing in this league. You’ve got to line up and make big plays to win. When crunch time came in, they made them, we didn’t."

If you pull the string a second time, you hear the bolded part of this response.

Pull one more time and it talks about how he believes in you.

The doll is available for $19.95 at Wal-Mart, but no returns are accepted for the first six years after purchase.

(on WR Jacoby Jones responding this week) "I told you all last week, I didn’t think he played bad last week. I don’t know where that comes from. He ran some good routes, we just didn’t get him the ball last week. You never know where the ball is going in this league. You throw according to coverage, you don’t just throw to people. He played the way I thought he would."

There's at least a 35% chance that when Kubiak watched film of Jacoby Jones last week, he was actually watching an old episode of "Knight Rider."

(on the pass rush without Mario Williams) "I’ll have to go back and look at it. I thought we got some pressure on [Joe Flacco] but the kid made some great plays, golly. The one play he made going down. I’m really impressed how far he’s come as a player, so you’ve got to give him a lot of credit. He threw a lot of big balls on his back foot, with us in his face. I thought he played really well in the game."

Golly, indeed.

(on what he thought of DE Tim Jamison) "Our team has kind of been that way, you know. A lot of guys are getting opportunities through some of the nicks, and guys are stepping up. Timmy had a good camp. He’s continued to play well, so it doesn’t surprise me."

After hearing Kubiak's comments, Jamison called his parents and asked if he can move back in, knowing that he won't see the field again this season.

(on DE Antonio Smith’s two personal fouls in the first half) "I don’t know, we have to go see. But you have to keep your poise right there. I think we had them stopped if you don’t do that. But you’ve got to keep your poise, and he knows that."

That should take care of it.

(on SS Dominique Barber’s injury) "I don’t really know, I didn’t have a chance to talk to the trainers about it."

"I mean, I still don't know what's wrong with Andre and you want me to talk about a backup safety?"

So there you go.  I've really got nothing else to say.

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