Making the Grade: Coaches
Texans' coaches report card
Now that the Super Bowl is over and the NFL is into the offseason, we’re taking a position-by-position look at the Texans. We’ve already looked at the secondary, tight ends, O-line, running backs and special teams. Today, we’ll dive into the coaches.
Stud: Wade Phillips
In his second season with the Texans, Phillips guided the Bulls on Parade to another very effective season.
The Texans ended the season seventh in total defense and had spurts where they were much better than that. While they were 16th in the league in passing yards allowed per game, they were seventh in rushing yards per game, allowing fewer than 100 yards on average.
Sure, the emergence of J.J. Watt, who was named as the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, helped Phillips but Phillips also helped put Watt in a position to earn the honor. While Phillips said Watt had the best season a defensive lineman has ever had in the NFL, Watt was quick to point out that Phillips had a lot to do with it. The Texans were fifth in the league with 44 sacks.
What’s also worth noting about the Texans’ defense this season is that it somehow kept its head above water while three inside linebackers were lost for the season. First the Texans lost team leader Brian Cushing. Then, they lost Tim Dobbins and Darryl Sharpton. That left them in the playoffs with Barrett Ruud starting. He didn’t even start the year with the club.
Dud: Joe Marciano
Maybe the Texans’ special teams’ failures this season weren’t all on Marciano, but when a unit doesn’t perform, the coach gets blamed. That’s the way it works.
Special teams, even when the Texans were 11-1 in the beginning of the season, were the team’s weak link. They were 23rd in the league in kick return average. They were ninth in punt return average. Neither unit had a touchdown. The team did take away his two best returners in Trindon Holliday and Jacoby Jones.
Marciano had a bad season sure, but he’s not going anywhere. He’s one of only two coaches who has been with the team since the inaugural season and he’s coaches special teams for 26 seasons.
Look ahead: There aren’t likely to be many – if any – changes to the team’s coaching staff going into next season. The Texans did go 12-4, win the division and make it to the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Sure, after the 11-1 start, that might seem like a disappointment but it’s probably not enough reason to fire anyone.
Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison looks to be back with the club. The Bears had some interest in Dennison and interviewed him for their head-coaching vacancy before the playoff game against the Patriots. Dennison has said he eventually wants to be a head coach but he didn’t get any of the 14 open jobs this offseason.
Gary Kubiak is 59-53 since taking over the team in 2007 but he’s 22-10 over the past two seasons with two division crowns and the franchise’s first two playoffs appearances and wins.