Thursday, January 5, 2006
Texans receivers coach Brown, Saunders interview
HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans are looking inside and outside the organization to find a replacement for fired coach Dom Capers. They met with one of each Thursday: Receivers coach Kippy Brown and Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Al Saunders.
Brown and Saunders interviewed with owner Bob McNair, general manager Charley Casserly, consultant Dan Reeves and McNair's son, Cal. Miami offensive coordinator Scott Linehan was in town Wednesday.
The McNairs, Casserly and Reeves were flying to Denver on Friday to interview Broncos offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak.
Brown, 50, has worked for the Texans since 2002, their first season. He promised to make changes if hired but added he thought only a few were needed.
"I think we're close," Brown said at Reliant Stadium. "There are specific things that allow you to win close games that we didn't win. I've got some ideas on how to fix some of that."
Saunders, 58, has also interviewed with the Minnesota Vikings and is a candidate to replace retiring Dick Vermeil with the Chiefs. Saunders has spent 15 seasons in Kansas City: 1989-98 under Marty Schottenheimer and the last five with Vermeil.
The Texans interviewed Saunders five years ago when they eventually hired Capers. Saunders, who was 17-22 as head coach in San Diego from 1986-88, said the job is different now with the Texans coming off a franchise-worst 2-14 season that followed three years of steady progress.
"This team is ready to take a big step," he said. "You have veterans who've been here four years. Now they need a little bit of a different direction because what they have as a philosophy did not manifest itself on the field."
Kansas City had the NFL's best offense for the second straight season in 2005, averaging 387 yards per game. Saunders returned to Kansas City in 2001, and the Chiefs led the NFL in scoring in 2002 and 2003, the first AFC team to do that in back-to-back seasons since San Diego in 1981-82.
Like Brown, Saunders said the Texans have a solid talent base and do not need to make wholesale personnel changes.
"There are some areas that need to be improved, but there is certainly a core of talent that is equal to or better than some other places in the NFL," Saunders said. "There are so many ways to turn a team around. When you have a good core of players, you have to just add a few elements to have just as much as some of the other teams."
Brown said he didn't think the team's poor offense -- the league's third worst at 253 yards per game -- would hurt his chances of getting the job. Instead, Brown said his knowledge of Houston's personnel and rapport with the players give him an edge.
"I have a better feel for what we need to do to become a playoff team than anybody coming in here," Brown said. "I think the players would rally behind me."
Brown's only head coaching experience in 27 seasons came in 2001, when he led the Memphis Maniax of the XFL.
Brown served as running backs coach for the New York Jets from 1990-92, spent two seasons at the University of Tennessee and then returned to the pros with Tampa Bay in 1995.
He spent four seasons with the Miami Dolphins, coaching the running backs for two years before he was promoted to offensive coordinator under Jimmy Johnson. In 2000, Brown coached running backs in Green Bay.