I realize this was on the lips and tongues of many’o Texans fans in 2009, but I think it’s worth reliving (briefly, don’t worry. It won’t hurt… much).
After the complete and total failure that was the Richard Smith defense, how did what amounted to a Smith disciple get the job to follow him? Oh, right, because Frank Bush is the guy Gary Kubiak wanted when he took over the Texans in 2006. Well, that’s just about the worst reasoning I can think of.
When Gary Gibbs didn’t work out as Sean Payton’s defensive coordinator in New Orleans, he was fired after the 2008 season (just like Richard Smith). Instead of trying to be a genius and get a guy who might be on the rise as a defensive coach, he literally took a pay cut to hire renowned defensive mind Greg Williams. Williams’ defenses don’t get the best stats, but they are an aggressive, playmaking bunch. At least they were when New Orleans, you know, won the Super Bowl.
When Bob Sanders didn’t work out as Mike McCarthy’s defensive coordinator in Green Bay, he was fired after the 2008 season (just like Richard Smith). McCarthy also didn’t try to outsmart anyone. All he did was go out and get renowned defensive mind Dom Capers. Capers’ turned that defense around quickly, with the help of what may be the best talent evaluators in the NFL. Their aggressive, relentless (and crazy-talented) defense helped to win Green Bay a Super Bowl.
Kubiak wanted Bush in 2006, and couldn’t get him. When he had the opportunity, he jumped on it. Why? For the love of GOD, I don’t know. You can talk hindsight all you want, but I don’t remember anyone – anyone – who thought the Bush hire was a good one, and all of us were annoyed by the “coaching search” charade the Texans put on. It was always going to be Bush, and Gary got his man. Well, that was disaster, wasn’t it?
It’s a very frustrating element of being such a huge, unflinching fan of this team. NFL franchises are generally run by alpha-males, and guys who are more set in their ways than your grandfather. The Texans have such an “aw shucks” reputation, yet they may be one of the most stubborn, thick-headed franchises in the NFL. Bob McNair sticks with his head coach, which is something I don’t rail against, but pretty much the entire NFL world thought Kubiak should be gone. Gary himself sticks with his defensive coordinator, Richard Smith, for far too long – and then when he finally, mercifully goes in a different direction, he goes with Richard Smith’s even crappier sequel. Rick Smith sticks with his draft picks too long instead of cutting bait. The defensive coaches stick with players even after repeated, disastrous failures. Why? Because they got drafted high, and make a lot of money, I suppose.
Any number of experienced, respected defensive minds were available before the 2009 season, but true to form, the Texans did what they do. Everyone is excited to see if Wade Phillips can turn this team around. I am certainly in that group. I have allowed myself to get excited about the possibilities, even all these months away from the start of the season. But it should absolutely not be overlooked that this franchise screwed itself over for two years with the Frank Bush hire, rather than admitting the mistakes of the past and doing something to correct them as the aforementioned teams did.
Next time, something a little more positive, and a little less crying over spilled milk.