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> Them To The Playoffs. That Wasnt Enough To Save Hi
postare Sep 7 2019, 05:05 AM
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HOUSTON -- Gary Kubiak pulled the Texans out of the NFL basement and remains the only coach to take them to the playoffs. That wasnt enough to save his job, not with the Texans mired in an 11-game skid that has dropped them back to the bottom of the league. Houston fired Kubiak on Friday, one day after the Texans lost 27-20 at Jacksonville and continued their stunning fall for a team that expected to make a Super Bowl run. Houston (2-11) was flagged 14 times for a franchise-record 177 yards. The 52-year-old Kubiak was hired in 2006 and led the team to AFC South titles in 2011-2012, the highlights of his eight-year tenure as coach of his hometown NFL team. The Texans said they couldnt wait any longer to start turning things around, not with the losses and undisciplined play piling up. "Whats taken place with this organization is unacceptable," general manager Rick Smith said. "Weve got three weeks of an evaluation process left and weve got to right the ship." Kubiak thanked the team for giving him his first head coaching job in the NFL. "Though we came up short this season, the work, effort and sacrifice they gave me and this organization over the last eight seasons is not to be taken for granted," he said in a statement provided by the Texans. "We had a great run here and we will never forget our back-to-back AFC South championships. Coming back home was a dream come true for all of us. This will always be our home." Kubiaks overall record is 61-64, with a 2-2 mark in the playoffs. Owner Bob McNair said the decision to let him go was a hard one. "It was difficult for me because I think so much of Gary," McNair said. "Weve been evaluating it every game and asking the question, Whats in the best interest of the organization? Were at the point now where we need to go ahead and make some changes because losing like this is unacceptable." He added: "Were here to have a winning culture and this year has not contributed to that." The Texans said defensive co-ordinator Wade Phillips would serve as interim coach for the rest of what has been a miserable season. McNair said NFL and head coaching experience were important factors in filling the job, and that the 66-year-old Phillips will be considered. Kubiak suffered a mini-stroke Nov. 3 in a frightening scene, collapsing at halftime during a game against the Colts and being rushed to a Houston hospital. He suffered a transient ischemic attack, which occurs when blood flow to the brain is briefly interrupted, typically by a blood clot or narrowed blood vessels. Experts say they are often a warning sign for a future stroke, particularly within three months of a TIA. Kubiak returned to coach, but the Texans have been unable to rebound from injuries to top players including quarterback Matt Schaub, running back Arian Foster and linebacker Brian Cushing, who was lost for the second straight season. McNair pointed to messy play and the handling of second-year quarterback Case Keenum as reasons for the move before the end of the season. "I think the last straw was losing," McNair said. "Weve got a lot better talent than Jacksonville and to lose to them twice, to their credit they played harder, played smarter and to have them beat us on that is not acceptable. If a teams going to beat us because theyre better than we are, or have better ability thats fine, but we expect to go out and play hard and play smart, and we didnt play smart." Kubiak, a former NFL quarterback who calls the teams plays, has long been known as a top offensive coach, mentoring quarterbacks in Denver under Mike Shanahan and then Schaub and Keenum in Houston. He was hired in 2006, along with Smith, after the Texans finished a franchise-worst 2-14. Smith spent 10 years with Kubiak while the coach was offensive co-ordinator of the Broncos. Smith was Denvers defensive assistant for four seasons before moving into the front office for his last six years with the Broncos. The pair helped transform the Texans, which began play in 2002, from league laughingstock to contender. The team went 6-10 in their first year and 8-8 in each of the next two seasons. Expectations were high in 2010 after Houston finished at 9-7 for its first winning record in 2009. The Texans instead fell to 6-10, which led to many fans calling for Kubiaks firing. His original contract was due to expire after the 2010 season, but McNair defended him several times amid the bumps. Last year, the Texans announced contract extensions for both Smith and Kubiak, rewarding them for taking the team to the playoffs last year for the first time. Kubiaks three-year agreement has him under contract through 2014. McNair said at the time he offered Kubiak a four-year deal, but the coach preferred to make it for three. Kubiak made his mark as Denvers offensive co-ordinator under Shanahan, winning two Super Bowls. An eighth-round pick out of Texas A&M, he spent nine years as John Elways backup. He finished his career 4-1 as a starter, all in emergency relief of Elway. "You always hate to see guys fired," Broncos coach John Fox said. "It happens, its tough. But you never like to see that. Hes a good friend and a heck of a coach, a guy I have a lot of respect for and its unfortunate." The Texans also fired special teams co-ordinator Joe Marciano and replaced him with assistant Bob Ligashesky, who is in his 10th NFL season and first full year with Houston. Other recent departures from the Texans include assistant head coach Alex Gibbs (for Seattle) and offensive co-ordinator Kyle Shanahan went to join his father in Washington. Keenum, Phillips and the rest of the Texans will get three weeks to show what they have to McNair and company. With Kubiak out, it is clear that the evaluation process could have stiff consequences as the team tries to rebuild. "We have a young quarterback in Case Keenum and we need to find out if hes capable of being a starter or capable of being the backup," McNair said. "The way you find out about that is by playing him." Deion Sanders Womens Jersey .C. -- Duke sophomore Rodney Hood is entering the NBA draft. Y.A. Tittle Womens Jersey .S. womens soccer team to a 2-0 win over China in Colorado in the afternoon. . This week, topics cover the World Series champion Red Sox, John Farrell and what to look forward to this off-season. Nick Bosa 49ers Jersey . - Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II says the NFL has told the team it will not be docked a pick in this years draft for coach Mike Tomlins foray onto the field against Baltimore last November. Frank Gore Womens Jersey .J. -- Pete Carroll said it was the suspension of linebacker Bruce Irvin last spring that finally got the attention of the rest of the Seattle Seahawks that they needed to be taking their commitment to the team more seriously.David Clarkson took it on faith that the Maple Leafs could win without him. Still, the waiting was the hardest part. That wait is almost over as Clarkson has served his 10-game suspension and will make his debut tonight at the Columbus Blue Jackets. Its fair to say he has been looking forward to this day for a long time. "Its like Christmas: You used to open up the box thered be a chocolate and then another chocolate," Clarkson said jokingly. "I got a box at home, I get my daughter to open it. No, but Ive been definitely checking off the dates and getting ready to go." Clarkson earned an automatic ban from the NHL for leaving the bench to enter an altercation in the pre-season when Toronto played the Buffalo Sabres. The veteran right-winger didnt express much in the way of remorse for coming to the aid of Phil Kessel when he was matched up against tough guy John Scott, but regretted how the punishment affected the team. "I think you try to take something from it," he said. "No ones perfect and when you do things or things happen bad, you try and make a positive from it." The biggest positive is the Leafs 7-3-0 record without Clarkson, who acknowledged getting a different perspective on games from sitting up in the press box. "The boys have been winning, which makes it easier," he told reporters this week. "I got to watch a bit of hockey. But Ive watched enough, and Im ready to get back at it." While the Leafs are unsure if winger Joffrey Lupul or call-up Josh Leivo will be in the lineup at Columbus. Lupul is questionable for the game with a bone bruise and did not skate at morning practice. Leivo skated on the third line with Jay McClement and Nazem Kadri. Clarkson has been slotted on the second line with Mason Raymond and Dave Bolland. Clarkson recalled a suspension from his junior hockey days as prior experience but called this time sitting oout the toughest thing he has had to endure in his career.dddddddddddd Teammates made it easier with text messages and phone calls of support, but that was little consolation for missing the Leafs first game at the Montreal Canadiens and the home opener against the Ottawa Senators. All Clarkson could do was serve as a measure of moral support and a practice player. As the Leafs lost Nikolai Kulemin and James van Riemsdyk to injuries, they cycled through minor-league call-ups and Clarkson — who forfeited US $269,230.80 during the suspension — became the fill-in for line rushes. Not anymore. "Obviously its been a while that we have been waiting for him," coach Randy Carlyle said. "We see him every day, and were just looking at him to come in and add a piece to our puzzle." Clarkson expected a lot of himself after signing a $36.75-million, seven-year contract with the team he grew up rooting for. He conceded hell be "fired up" to play his first meaningful game in a Leafs uniform, but the 29-year-old knows he wont be able to do everything the first time he steps on the ice. "We think that he can make a contribution, but we dont want to put too much pressure on him," Carlyle said. "He hasnt played in a while. We just want him to do the simple things, be David Clarkson and make the simple, strong play." Clarkson figures being himself means going to the front of the net, scoring and bringing a physical presence — no different from his time with the New Jersey Devils. He learned a lot from deep playoff runs with the Devils, like how teams can win without playing pretty. That has been the Leafs so far. But Clarkson has felt great camaraderie within the team since training camp. "Its a great locker-room. Theres no cliques, everyones on the same page," he said. "Weve got something special here." Finally, Clarkson gets to be a part of it. ' ' '
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