Houston Texans: Wade Phillips
That announcement led to more questions, and we'll start there.
Like Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgwater and, well, himself, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney still wants to be the top pick in the draft. Clowney said so to a local newspaper last month, and he reiterated his thoughts on The Dan Patrick Show, this time saying he should be the top pick.
SI.com's Peter Bukowski spoke with people who have scouting eyes about Clowney. One interesting section examines Clowney's production drop from 2012 to 2013.
"The interesting aspect of Clowney is the dynamic change from 2012 to '13," explained former Tampa Bay Buccaneers team operations coordinator Joe Bussell. "When watching Clowney on film last season, teams weren't prepared for the raw brutality that he brought to the game. He destroyed left tackles and left guards when matched up one-on-one. He couldn't be blocked in the run game or the pass game."
But then, Bussell said, Clowney became a victim of his own success. Teams accounted for him with two, and sometimes three blockers. Missouri intentionally ran the ball to the opposite side of the formation from Clowney.
Hey. That sounds familiar.
Yesterday I posted a piece off an interview Wade Phillips did with Nick Wright and John Lopez on Sports Radio 610.
Phillips also checked in with Dale Robertson of the Houston Chronicle yesterday. "Oh, no," Phillips told Robertson. "I enjoy (coaching) too much. I’m hoping somebody will have a bad defense next season, and I’m sure there will be coaches who get fired. I still think I can help someone. Every place I’ve gone they’ve won, at least in the first year." Phillips was pleased with the Seahawks' win over the Broncos in the Super Bowl because of Seattle's 62-year-old head coach and the fact that they won on the strength of their defense.
It's a reasonable thing to ask, and I promised an answer in a blog post. (As an aside, I'll do this more frequently during the offseason. Thoughtful questions that require more than 140-character responses might get posts.)
@bjmfiedler good idea for a blog post. i'll address it tomorrow.— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) January 20, 2014
When Texans owner Bob McNair fired former head coach Gary Kubiak, part of his decision was influenced by Kubiak's seeming indecision with his quarterbacks.
The night before being fired, Kubiak had pulled Keenum from the Texans' loss in Jacksonville to try and win with Matt Schaub. It was the second time Kubiak had pulled Keenum during a game after declaring the first-year player his starter. Keenum had struggled in both of those games and wasn't seeming to get better, but Kubiak's waffling only seemed to make things worse. Upon firing Kubiak, McNair declared that Wade Phillips would be interim head coach and Keenum would start the rest of the season.
"We need to find out whether Case is capable of being a starter or whether he's capable of being a backup," McNair said that day. "And the way you find that out is by playing him."
What McNair saw in the next game, before a thumb injury ended his season, was a quarterback who had trouble adjusting to pressure and who tried to use his legs to get out of trouble far too often. Sure, when his improvisation succeeded the results were impressive, but those times were the exception. It wasn't that Keenum didn't know what to do. Both he and Phillips said he did. Keenum just didn't react in the ways he knew he should. He made the wrong decision repeatedly.
Maybe Keenum stopped trusting himself. Maybe with the right coaches and a competition, he'll recover and improve. Sometimes a quarterback improves later in his career, though few are given the chance for that kind of growth these days.
The problem is you don't know. He's not there yet, at the point where he has established himself as a capable starting NFL quarterback. Sure, there would be unknowns with a drafted rookie, too. But in that case, the same thing that worked for Keenum in October could go against him now. The less a quarterback has had a chance to show, the greater his potential upside.
Today defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said goodbye after meeting with new Texans head coach Bill O'Brien.
"Thanks to McNair family and great Texan fans and most all our players. It was wonderful being home. I wish the best to all"
Thanks to McNair family and great Texan fans and most all our players. It was wonderful being home. I wish the best to all— Wade Phillips (@sonofbum) January 4, 2014
Special thanks to Bob & Janis McNair who treated my Dad so well. I will always be grateful.— Wade Phillips (@sonofbum) January 4, 2014
He had a long history in this city. He went to the University of Houston and coached on the Houston Oilers staff for his father, Bum Phillips, from 1976 to 1980.
Wade Phillips spent New Year's Day in Dallas with his family. Reached by the Houston Chronicle's Dale Robertson, Phillips said he hadn't spoken to new Texans head coach Bill O'Brien yet and that usually when you haven't heard from someone, it means you aren't part of their plans. Phillips said he would like to remain defensive coordinator in Houston. He also told Mark Berman of Fox 26 that the decision was out of his hands.
Developing a young quarterback might be an important part of O'Brien's new job, writes Kristie Rieken of the Associated Press. She goes through some of his history with quarterbacks, which includes George Godsey at Georgia Tech and Matt McGloin and Christian Hackenberg at Penn State. McGloin credits his making it to the NFL to O'Brien's help. Hackenberg was Big Ten freshman of the year in 2013 after throwing for 2,955 yards, the third highest total in school history.
Here is an interesting perspective from Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Mike Sielski about the similarities between Eagles coach Chip Kelly and soon to be Texans coach Bill O'Brien. It speaks to the idea that college coaches can't succeed in the NFL. There are a lot who have failed, but when a coach's skills and interests line up well with the different demands that come with being an NFL head coach, it can work. I've always thought it illogical to make blanket statements about the future based on the past. Kelly and O'Brien, Sielski says, are both men who enjoy not having to deal with all the off-the-field "glad-handing of boosters" and other obligations that come with being a college head coach.
Our old friend Sean Pendergast says in the Houston Press that Texans fans deserve the dawn of the Bill O'Brien/Johnny Manziel era in Houston. Part of his argument for Manziel: "All Manziel has done is pile up ungodly stats in some of the most scintillating ways possible in the most harrowing conference in college football. Arm strength? He has it. Accuracy? Ridiculously accurate. Extending plays and scrambling? The best ever." He challenges you to find one football reason Manziel isn't right for the Texans.
Local radio host John Harris wrote a column for the Houston Chronicle in which he talked about his relationship with O'Brien. The two of them played in college together. He focuses on O'Brien's work ethic.
He used the Broncos as an example.
He's right. Denver is tied for fourth in the NFL with 109 penalties. But it takes extraordinary circumstances, such as having one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game or a transcendent secondary.
Among the 11 teams with the most penalties this season -- including the Texans, who have committed 107 -- nine have at least seven losses. The other two are the Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks.
Seattle has committed more penalties than any other team, followed by the Oakland Raiders (4-11), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11) and St. Louis Rams (7-8).
When Phillips took over as interim head coach, the Texans were coming off a game in which they tied a franchise record with 14 penalties against the Jaguars. They lost 177 yards on said penalties.
You'll recall when Phillips took over as interim head coach, he brought in Big 12 officials to call penalties during practice. Those who committed them were put in "timeouts" to try and shame them out of doing so. In the Texans' first game after trying that tactic, they committed another 14 penalties.
Last week, Houston committed only four penalties. It was among the lowest total in the league, though it's hard to attribute that to anything in particular given the small sample size.
When you talk about what went wrong this season for the Texans, the reasons are plentiful. Though fewer penalties might not have cured every issue, flags certainly contributed to the mess that became 2013.
Now as interim head coach, Phillips continues that trend.
Asked about one of Peyton Manning's fourth-quarter touchdowns, Phillips interrupted the question to make this point:
"I didn’t realize this year that there’s a new rule that if you can juggle the ball all the way through the end zone that it’s a touchdown," Phillips said. "But I guess we’ve got a new rule there, along with pass interference. I think there’s an arm bar and then there’s grabbing a guy when he’s catching a ball and evidently, there’s one where the ball is thrown over his head and nobody touches him and it’s pass interference. There’s a couple new things that I’ve learned since being a head coach."
The juggling to which he refers came on one of Broncos' receiver Eric Decker's touchdown catches. Decker caught the ball awkwardly near his hip. In watching the replay, I didn't think the ball moved, and the officials ruled that way, too, but many others disagreed. Phillips is one of those people.
And of course, pass interference has been a project of Phillips' all season. Last week he asked the NFL for an explanation on a pass interference called on inside linebacker Darryl Sharpton that led to a Colts touchdown.
Quarterbacks tend to pull for each other. They know what it's like to shoulder so much of a team's fate, they understand the pressure better than outsiders could.
"I do think it’s a unique fraternity," Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning said. "Matt’s an excellent quarterback. I think he’ll be fine."
This weekend Manning and his Broncos will visit the Houston Texans for a rematch of a game played last year under very different circumstances.
Fittingly, after a season of quarterback turmoil, the Texans are returning to the man they started with at the position. Because of an injury to Case Keenum, Matt Schaub will start Sunday at Reliant Stadium. The last time Schaub started, he entered the game to boos so hearty that the Texans had to go to a silent count on some of their plays.
On the opposite sideline will be one of the best to ever play the position. Manning has played against the Texans 19 times and lost only three times. ESPN.com Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold and Texans reporter Tania Ganguli discuss.
Ganguli: Manning is very familiar with the Texans. Has his (soon-to-be) record-setting season been as impressive to watch up close as the stats suggest?
Legwold: No question the numbers have been staggering, even by Manning’s standards. But the intersection of Manning as a 37-year-old quarterback who was willing to sort of remake himself with a team ready to offer him the place to do that has lifted his play even more. The Broncos have constructed a playbook that is a mix of what they had on hand and what Manning has always done. They've added a warp-speed no-huddle portion and given him targets all over the formation, and Manning has played with the discipline of a veteran quarterback who understands what needs to be done. His coaches have said he forced just one pass in the team’s first eight games and his accuracy has been elite for much of the season. He isn't a power thrower now, and a windy day in the postseason could derail some of what the Broncos like to do, but he is an accomplished pitcher who knows his opponents and can hit all the spots.
Gary Kubiak is still well-liked around the Broncos’ complex, with many people who worked with him still in the building. What has been the reaction of players to his dismissal?
Ganguli: Kubiak was well-liked in the Texans' building, too, especially with, but not limited to, the players. After his dismissal, you heard a lot about how well he treated people, regardless of their role on the team. He’s always been known as a players’ coach, and that’s part of what has made Houston an attractive destination for free agents. Several players exchanged text messages with him after it happened. Some took public responsibility for it. They didn't like seeing him lose his job, but the firing wasn't a tremendous surprise given how the season had gone. The players’ reaction to Kubiak's health scare after suffering a "mini-stroke" on Nov. 3 said a lot about what he meant to them.
You covered another head coach's health scare this season. How did the Broncos weather John Fox’s absence?
Legwold: There have been seasons over the past decade or so when neither the locker room nor the coaching staff would have been as equipped as this year's group was to deal with something like Fox’s four-week absence following open-heart surgery. Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio stepped in as interim coach, and players often spoke of his composure and leadership during that time. Manning, Wesley Woodyard, Champ Bailey and others helped keep everyone in the locker room pointed in the right direction, while Adam Gase and rest of the offensive staff kept things humming on that side of the ball. The team went 3-1 in that stretch, with two wins over Kansas City and one against San Diego. The loss was an overtime defeat at New England, when the Broncos let a 24-point halftime lead get away. Through it all, the Broncos showed themselves to be a stable organization, able to overcome the most serious of issues.
An awful lot of folks believed when the season began that the Texans would be in the hunt for the Super Bowl title. What are some of the major issues that have prevented that from happening?
Ganguli: How much time do you have? It starts with the quarterback. The Texans don’t have the luxury the Broncos have of one of the greatest quarterbacks ever. Their situation at the position has been tenuous all season. Schaub’s costly turnovers early on put the Texans in a precarious position. He didn't play as poorly as some indicate until Week 5 against San Francisco. He just looked uncomfortable and out of sorts from start to finish, throwing three interceptions, including a pick-six on the first pass of the game. Schaub’s foot and ankle injuries the following week opened the door for Kubiak to make a switch to Keenum, who spent last season on the Texans’ practice squad. Keenum did well before opponents deciphered him, and since then he has struggled. I’m not ready to say he’ll never be a passable quarterback in the NFL, but his play over the past eight games has been a big factor in the losses. To be clear, quarterback is not the only factor in the Texans’ 12-game losing streak, but it’s been a big one. Further, the handling of the quarterback situation played a part in Kubiak’s firing. He benched Keenum for Schaub against Oakland and Jacksonville. That kind of uncertainty didn’t help matters.
That’s one question I get asked a lot. Another is this: Who will the Texans’ next head coach be? I covered Del Rio for his final season and a half as the Jaguars' coach. From what you've seen in Denver, do you think he gets another shot at being a head coach?
Legwold: I spoke with executives from around the league in recent weeks, and it seems Del Rio helped his cause with the way he conducted himself and led the Broncos during Fox’s absence. If the Broncos can snap out of their current defensive funk and go deep in the playoffs, it would help his cause even more. (He interviewed with USC during the bye week, the day before Fox suffered the dizziness and light-headedness on a golf course that led to his open-heart surgery.) Del Rio would need an owner/team president to look past the offense-first mentality everyone seems to be looking for these days, and he would have to present a clear, concise picture of what he would do on offense. But if the Broncos make the Super Bowl, or even win it, and the defense makes some plays along the way, Del Rio should be on some short lists.
How has Wade Phillips handled the interim job? He’s seen Manning plenty over the years, how do you think he’ll have the Texans go at the Broncos’ offense?
Ganguli: It wasn't a particularly good situation to come into, as tends to happen with interim jobs. The results have been similar to Kubiak's tenure, though Phillips has been more proactive in trying to curb the Texans' penalties. He's had Big 12 officials at practice several times, and puts players in timeouts if they commit a penalty. Not a lot has changed for the better, and the injury situation has gotten worse. The Texans now have their first- and second-string running backs on injured reserve, as well as their starting tight end, starting middle linebacker and starting strong safety. Phillips' defenses have always been very aggressive -- they blitz a lot. The play calling is being done by defensive-backs coach Vance Joseph now, but that doesn't change a lot. Manning's statistics against the Texans are better against a four-man rush than against blitzes.
At least that's the way it was envisioned when the season started.
Instead, it'll be a battle of two teams dealing with a number of issues when the Indianapolis Colts take on the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Colts haven't beaten a team with a winning record since Oct. 20 and haven't had consistency on offense, defense or special teams in weeks. The Texans ... well, they've been a disaster this season. They are on an 11-game losing streak, benched their starting quarterback and fired their head coach.
ESPN.com's Colts reporter Mike Wells and Texans reporter Tania Ganguli weigh in on the two struggling teams.
Wells: Tania, obviously the big news -- really the only news -- to come out of Houston in the past week was the firing of coach Gary Kubiak. Wade Phillips takes over as the interim coach. Teams tend to rally around interim coaches or just shut them out. What do you think the Texans will do with Phillips?
Ganguli: I don't think they'll shut him out, but wanting to succeed for the coach was never a problem in Houston. They wanted to win the last Colts game for their head coach, who left at halftime in an ambulance. They wanted to win the following week in Arizona for their coach, who watched from home as he recovered from his transient ischemic attack. It's not a matter of wanting the win -- the process has gotten lost. Two weeks ago, the Texans made so much progress in fixing their issues and then last week they went to Jacksonville and completely lost their discipline, committing a franchise-record 14 penalties for 177 yards.
The Colts are now back on top of the AFC South. What was the mood like for the team upon clinching the division and a playoff spot?
Wells: It was a bittersweet feeling for them because they needed help from their good buddy Peyton Manning in Denver to win their first division title in three years. The Colts wanted to go into Cincinnati and win it by themselves so that they would be able to avoid getting it in the side or backdoor. That obviously didn't happen. But a division title is a division title no matter how you get it. That's how the Colts should look at it, especially since they were 2-14 just two years ago and many people thought the Texans wouldn't have a problem winning the division for the third straight season.
I'll be the first to say I picked the Texans to win the division this season. I'm sure there are probably a lot of reasons why they've been a major bust. But does one reason stand out more than others?
Ganguli: If I had to choose one, I would say the quarterback situation has been the biggest reason. It was completely out of the blue. A lot of people disagree with me on this, but I don't think Matt Schaub played poorly most of the time, it's just that pick-6's are such dramatic momentum swingers. Really, though, it's been a combination of a lot of things. If you look at their stats, you'd expect the team to have a much better record. After Schaub, they went through Case Keenum's learning process, which is ongoing. Kicker Randy Bullock had a rough start, which impacted the team's record. He has improved lately, but by then the Texans developed other problems, like the loss of four important players to injury: inside linebacker Brian Cushing, safety Danieal Manning, running back Arian Foster and tight end Owen Daniels. Daniels has a chance of returning this week. And of course, I mentioned the meltdown of discipline that led to what happened last Thursday in Jacksonville. That was a problem early in the season, but unusual for the Texans lately. They had four penalties in the previous two games combined.
I expected the Colts to be better than they are, too. Do you think this team has taken a step forward or backward from last season?
Wells: I thought the Colts had more talent this season but they wouldn't be able to duplicate their 11-5 record from last year. I was right about their record but wrong about their talent. Season-ending injuries forced the Colts to take a step back in the talent department. They're known for using the phrase "Next Man Up" when dealing with injuries. There really isn't a Next Man Up when it comes to replacing future Hall of Fame receiver Reggie Wayne, guard Donald Thomas and tight end Dwayne Allen. The Colts thought acquiring running back Trent Richardson would soften the blow of losing Ahmad Bradshaw and Vick Ballard. That hasn't been the case. Richardson's struggles since coming to Indianapolis have been well documented. So injuries and players not living up to expectations are the main reasons why the Colts have taken a step back
We talked about the benching of Schaub prior to the first meeting between the two teams in early November. Receiver Andre Johnson made Keenum look pretty good in the first half of that game. Has Keenum shown enough to prove he's worthy of being the team's quarterback for years to come?
Ganguli: He's had good moments and bad ones. I think the bad moments are fixable, but whether he'll be able to fix them remains to be seen. The end of this season is an audition for him just as much as it is for Phillips. He has to show he's learning how to read defenses and make better decisions. There are times when Keenum hangs on to the ball too long because his internal clock isn't quite where it needs to be yet. He is learning that sometimes it's better to take the checkdown. He's learning that turning his back on the field when a rush comes at him reduces his options. If he stops growing where he is now, he'll have a career as a serviceable backup. If he continues to improve, he has the chance to be a starter.
To wrap up, let's talk about the quarterback up there, which I know we have before. How would you assess the season Andrew Luck has had?
Wells: Two words: A struggle. But it's not Luck's fault. The offensive line has been inconsistent all season. The running game has been more poor than good. The biggest reason behind it, though, is because of the loss of Wayne. Wayne was Luck's security blanket and nobody has stepped up to help him out. Luck is good, but you can't forget that he's only in his second season and is still learning. Rookie Da'Rick Rogers had a breakout game against Cincinnati (107 yards) last weekend and believes he can be Luck's third-down go-to guy.
"We had a whole group of officials that were calling penalties, throwing flags," Phillips said. "We want to overemphasize certainly that area so that we can cut down on the number of penalties we have. The only way I know how to do it is attack the problem, so that's what we did there."
The Texans rank ninth in the NFL this season having committed 89 penalties. Their yardage lost, however, is the third-highest in the league: 912 yards, ranking below only the Seattle Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"Penalties, I think, all year have been a bit of an issue. So obviously want to get those corrected," defensive end J.J. Watt said. "Penalties in big situations, especially. Obviously we want to eliminate those. That's one of the keys to victory."
Interestingly, Seattle and Tampa Bay have committed most of their penalties on offense, while more of Houston's penalties have come on defense. The Texans' offense has committed 34 this season, the defense 41 and special teams 14.
"I think that's a good idea," running back Ben Tate said. "Because if we don't work on it all the time, then how can you do it when it comes to a game?"
"I’m going to try to influence some things offensively that I feel can help us. I’m not going to take over the offense," Phillips said. "I’ll probably delegate more duties defensively. Also, I have to help with special teams. I’m going to try to be a well-rounded head coach. I think that’s what the head coach does is try to be involved in all aspects of the game. And I’ve done that."
Phillips believes he can still be a good head coach. He considers the end of his last stop as a head coach to be a function of the business.
After the Cowboys fired him, former Texans coach Gary Kubiak hired Phillips to turn around one of the worst defenses in the NFL. It worked.
More to know about Phillips:
- Former player? Linebacker at the University of Houston
- Coaching debut: 1969 as a graduate assistant at the University of Houston
- NFL coaching debut: 1976 as a linebackers coach for the Houston Oilers
- Significant stop: Phillips' first coordinator job came in 1981 when he became his father's defensive coordinator with the New Orleans Saints. When Bum Phillips stepped down as the Saints coach in 1985, Phillips got his first nod as interim head coach. It took him eight more years of being a coordinator to get his first official head coaching job.
- Head-coaching experience: Phillips' first two head coaching positions, with the Denver Broncos and the Buffalo Bills, came on teams with which he served as the defensive coordinator first. He spent two seasons with the Broncos and went 16-16 before being fired. His next stop was as the Bills' defensive coordinator. After three seasons doing that, Phillips ascended to head coach. He went 29-19 as the Bills' head coach. The Cowboys hired Phillips in 2007. His only playoff win as a head coach came with Dallas. Phillips went 34-22 as the Cowboys' head coach. He remained there for three-and-a-half seasons.
- How did it end? In Denver, Phillips was fired after a 1994 season when the Broncos started 0-4 and finished the season 7-9. In Buffalo, Phillips was fired when he refused to fire the special teams coordinator (firing the special teams coordinator was the first thing that happened when Phillips took over in Houston on Friday. He called it a team decision). In Dallas, Phillips' final season began 1-7 with his only win coming against the Texans. He was fired after eight games.
His 9.5 sacks aren't leading the NFL this season. That title belongs to Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis, who has 15.5, but Watt has still been very disruptive -- enough that his defensive coordinator doesn't think he's lost his perch as the best defensive lineman in the NFL.
"J.J.'s probably the top defensive lineman in the league, I think everybody can see that from the way he plays," Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said. "I don't know about all the numbers. He's really hit the quarterback a lot of times. Hasn't had as many sacks, but he's got a lot of hits on the quarterback. He's still getting a lot of tackles for loss. He knocked down a ball again last game. He's consistently a great player every game."
Some help with the numbers for Phillips: Watt leads the league in quarterback hits with 38. He has 13 more than the next player, Rams defensive end Robert Quinn, who has 25. He also leads the league in tackles for loss with 17 and solo tackles by a defensive lineman with 51. Since 2011, when Watt was drafted, no defensive lineman has had more solo tackles (169), sacks (35.5) or forced fumbles (7) than Watt.
"Last week, the Patriots, every time they brought the center to his side, no matter where he was. We moved him around a lot, and we've been doing that. ... They did a good job of turning towards him on every play. We have to contend with that."
Despite the Texans' record, almost completely flipped from this time last year, two players have remained consistent in their production: defensive end J.J. Watt and receiver Andre Johnson. Neither intends to pack it in, writes Dale Robertson of the Houston Chronicle.
DeAndre Hopkins wasn't happy to be benched even briefly against the Raiders. Texans coach Gary Kubiak said Hopkins made mistakes. Hopkins said on Thursday that it was "one play" that got him benched, writes Dave Zangaro of CSNHouston.com.
Kristie Rieken of the Associated Press writes about Wade Phillips' response to Ed Reed's accusations. She includes this quote from Texans defensive end Antonio Smith: "I like the scheme."
In this story from a couple of days ago, Drew Dougherty of HoustonTexans.com notes that Case Keenum is working to avoid looking to his legs for help so quickly. Some of his best plays have come when he does that, but Keenum doesn't always need to, and that's something he's learning.
- "I don't even know how to describe it, man. There is some interesting stuff I experienced with some people in a different organization. It wasn't the whole organization. The organization really was good, dealing with Houston. The players were good, and most of the coaches. But it's been interesting."
- One benefit of reuniting with Rex Ryan in New York: "Very comfortable. That was part of my decision of signing here -- knowing that I could come in, know the defense, be effective and not worry about all of the B.S. that goes along with the business side of things."
- He was asked if Houston's defense wasn't a good fit for him: "That defense is not a good fit for a lot of people who are still down there. It wasn't just about me, and that's what my comments were. My comments were not just about me, and obviously, that's why I'm not there anymore -- because some people felt some type of way about what I said. The truth is the truth, and that's the reason why what happened last week happened, and they know I know. People might feel a certain way, like Ed did this, and Ed didn't do things on the football field, but you've got to look at the play-calling. People don't know how the schematic part of it goes. You've got to put your players in a position to make plays as well from a coach's perspective."
- Reed brought up a specific play that he knows he's been criticized about: "The ball wasn't really coming my way. People try to point out a play against San Francisco when Vernon Davis scored, but the guy wasn't even my guy. He wasn't even my man. Granted, I didn't catch him -- bad angle -- but they're looking for every reason to put everything on Ed Reed. That's funny. That's funny to me."
- Reed didn't seem pleased with Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips: "Yeah, Wade said something to me. He came and basically just made sure I was leaving, and honestly, of all people, he's probably the guy, the reason that I'm not there. It's all good, man. I'm not worried about it. If you all want to do a sit-down at some point, we can do a sit-down."
- "I'm grateful to be where I'm at right now, where people appreciate you for what you've done, what you did over your career, what you can do and what you still do on the football field."
- Reed wears No. 22 now. "People are used to seeing me in [No.] 20. [No.] 22 feels good to me, honestly. It feels right. I probably should have switched it when I left Baltimore. I should have never [taken] it out of there, but it is what it is. It's just a jersey; it's just a number."
Today, he added himself.
"You don't hear everybody hollering at you, I guess, that's probably the advantage," Kubiak said for laughs. "I don't know. I did that for 20-some years before I became a head coach. Actually, I was on the field initially in my career. It's calm up there. It's quiet. Just a different way of looking at the football game."
Kubiak coached from the press box as a coordinator, just as offensive coordinator Rick Dennison does now. He'll leave defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who coaches from the sideline, in charge of the red challenge flag but provide guidance on when to use it.
"You don't feel emotion up there like you do when you're on the field," Kubiak said. "You've got to have guys help you with that, talk to you about stuff like that. But it's just something I've got to work through right now."
Kubiak's return will come two weeks after he suffered a transient ischemic attack, or "mini-stroke," at halftime of the Texans' game against the Indianapolis Colts. He did not travel with the Texans to Arizona last week. Phillips was the interim head coach in his absence.