For the first time since late December of 2005, the Texans practiced without Gary Kubiak as the head coach. There had been times in the past, as recently as early November when he was hospitalized after suffering a mini-stroke, that Kubiak wasn't on the fields at the Houston Methodist Training Center. But despite those absences, he was still the head coach. That was all different on Monday.
Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is now the interim head coach, and during his Monday meeting with the media, he described what happened at practice.
"We had a little practice today, (to) get some movement," Phillips said. "They hadn't been out in a while. That's what we did today. Looking forward to getting them back Wednesday and getting started."
For the players, it wasn't too jarring an experience, since Phillips was in this position during the contests against the Colts, Cardinals and Raiders.
"Wade did this for us a couple of weeks in the middle of the year," defensive end J.J. Watt said. "He's going to come in here and he's going to be the coach. We're going to follow him just like we follow a head coach, and we're going to go about our business."
The Texans have lost their last 11 games, and face the Colts in Indianapolis this Sunday at noon CT. Left tackle Duane Brown reiterated that the trio of games remaining are still important.
"It's been a very disappointing and frustrating season for us all," Brown said. "But we've still got three left and we're trying to finish off strong. We're all dedicated and focused to being successful these next three weeks."
Defensive end Antonio Smith offered a little insight into what Phillips said to the squad before the light practice.
"When he came in and spoke in the meeting today, he hit the nail on the head," Smith said. "And basically what he said is that we all have got to be in on winning these last three games at the end of the year. It's not just up to him to come in and to get it going on the right accord or whatever he said that you're going to need each and every one of us. And I think he's right with that. We've got to give him help."
The Texans will get their chance to help Phillips, and themselves, out when they square off against a Colts club that's 2-3 over their last five games. Indianapolis is also allowing 32.2 points per game.