McNair, Kubiak press conference open thread

The Texans' press conference to discuss coach Gary Kubiak's new contract will begin at 10:30 a.m. CT, in just a few minutes. Team owner Bob McNair and Kubiak will be here to meet with the media at Reliant Stadium. I'm camped out in the team auditorium and will be updating throughout the press conference.

Updates will be added below. You can watch the presser live online on Texans TV.

Live presser updates

McNair's opening comments:

"Looking back at the year and comparing with what we've done this past year with what we've done previously, I think there were a lot of good things that happened. I think we made a lot of progress. We had a chance to win 15 out of our 16 games, and that's never happened before. I think in terms of excitement, I don't think anyone can quseiotn whether those 15 games were exciting games or not. They were exciting as they can be.

"... I think that one of the most important things is to have continuity. I think that the most disruptive thing that you can do is to go in and every two or three years change your coaching staff."

McNair cited statistical improvements since 2006, Kubiak's first season. In the four seasons since then, the Texans have improved from the 24th-ranked defense to the 13th-ranked defense. The offense went from 28th in 2006 to 4th in 2009.

"You've got to acknowledge that a tremendous amount of improvement has been made, and I think Gary is primarily responsible for that. I think Rick Smith is, too," McNair said.

McNair also discussed the changes to Kubiak's coaching staff this offseason.

"I think every year, Gary has tried to strengthen our coaching staff, and I think a sign of a good coach is a coach who will look at his coaching staff and try to determine how he can improve that staff," he said. "Gary has been willing to do that and has done that."

McNair's opening remarks then shifted to team needs as free agency and the draft approach. GM Rick Smith was scheduled to be at today's press conference but was delayed flying back from the northeast.

"We need some more depth in the center of our (offensive) line," McNair said. "We need some more running backs... Defensively, we'd still like a little more help in the center of our line with another defensive tackle. We can always use more cornerbacks and we could use another safety."

McNair began to wrap up his closing remarks, saying, "Bottom line is, in evaluating where we were and looking at our coaching situation, I believe Gary can take us to the Super Bowl, and that's why we tore up his existing contract and extended him. I think we're making progress, and I think we're going to continue to make progress."

Kubiak then answered a couple of questions, including one about his new contract.

"I think Bob has taken a hard look at where we were four years ago and where we're at today, and with that made a decision that we're heading in the right direction as a coaching staff," Kubiak said.

"I'm just very excited to have the opportunity, thankful to Bob and his family. I want to finish what I started. We've got a long way to go, but I'm enjoying the challenge. I think we've got the right group of guys to do it and I'm very excited about our young football team."

McNair was asked if the Texans will franchise cornerback Dunta Robinson, an unrestricted free agent, if they don't re-sign him. The Texans franchised Robinson last offseason, leading to a holdout that lasted through the end of training camp.

"We haven't addressed that yet because right now we're really looking at other free agents," McNair said. "That's something that'll be addressed later. We're going to work on free agents right now and Rick Smith will be looking at that and visiting with Gary and seeing what the situation is."

The press conference ended around 11 a.m. Topics during the 30-minute media session ranged from Kubiak's new contract to the overall coaching staff to the upcoming free agency period to the implications of an uncapped year.

Thanks for stopping by, and check HoustonTexans.com later today for the full video of the presser along with quotes and a story.

UPDATE (12:45 p.m. CT):As I was furiously typing out quotes during the press conference, I missed that McNair referred to Matt Schaub as a "Super Bowl quarterback" (thanks to Gregg Rosenthal of ProFootballTalk.com for catching that, and for linking to this blog post).

Here's what McNair said about Schaub and his teammates, which ties in with comments he made earlier in the press conference about having players who fit a coach's scheme and not wanting to disrupt that continuity:

"We have a foundation in place, and we don't have to go out now and try to establish the foundation, which is what we've been doing for the last eight years. We have the foundation now. We have a Super Bowl – I'd say he's a Super Bowl quarterback – in Matt Schaub; he was the MVP of the Pro Bowl. We have a guy who can I think take us to the Super Bowl. We've got an All-Pro receiver in Andre Johnson who many think is the best in the league. I certainly do. We've got some defensive players that are outstanding in Mario (Williams) and our linebackers, DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing, and we've got some young cornerbacks coming on that are looking very good. So we've got some outstanding players and we just have to keep building on that, and this year I think we're going to continue to see improvement."

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