Founder, Chairman and CEO Bob McNair** General Manager and Executive Vice President Rick Smith
(opening statement) "Good morning. This has been a very disappointing year for the Texans organization. We started out with such high hopes. We felt like that we had the best roster that we've ever started the year with and we really, really anticipated a very favorable outcome. To have this string of losses that we sustained is just totally unacceptable and it's not what this organization is about. We're about winning and accountability. Even though we normally would wait until the end of the year to evaluate our coaching staff and our players, under these extreme circumstances, we decided it was in the best interest of the organization to go ahead and start that evaluation process now. As a result of that, we felt that a change was needed in the head coach position. So Gary Kubiak is no longer the head coach and Wade Phillips will serve as the interim head coach. We'll evaluate the rest of the coaching staff. We will also be evaluating the players. We decided that one of the advantages of going ahead and taking action now rather than waiting is it allows us to start the process of finding a new head coach. And that process is under way and those prospects that are not under contract in the NFL are people that we can visit with. So we'll start this process immediately. Some of the people that we'll visit with are going to be in coaching positions now and it would be detrimental to their situation if those discussions with them were made public. So therefore, all of this will be held on a confidential basis and we will not be having public sessions with the prospects. We will have to wait until after the season is over and when the window is open for those prospects who are under contract in the NFL, and we'll certainly abide by those rules. We are so disappointed, I guess shocked by what has happened. I know that our fans are just terribly disappointed and they're no more disappointed than we are. I want to thank Gary Kubiak. Gary, he has brought this team to a new level. We've had two division championships. We've had some outstanding performance. It's been a job that he has totally committed and he's put everything, his whole being into it. We couldn't ask for more out of anyone and it's very disappointing that he's not going to be with us in the future. I truly felt that he would be with us until it was time for him to retire. And so I'm disappointed for him and for his family that it didn't work out this way. But we have to do what's best for the organization and we will always do that. We're here to have a winning culture and this year does not contribute to that. We've got to turn this around. Wade Phillips will serve as the interim coach and our goal is we've got three more games. Our goal is to go out and win three games. Some people say that's not going to be our interest. Well, believe me, it is our interest. We're going to go out and fight hard and do everything we can to win. We want a winning culture. It doesn't matter if it's the first game or the last game. That's what we expect of everybody in the organization. So with that, I believe we will be ready for any questions."
(on what kind of coach he'll be looking for as far as personality, character, etc.) "Well, if you look at the record, defensive coordinators have been more successful than offensive coordinators, but not by a large percentage. It's going to be based more on the individual. We're looking for a coach that is bright, ethical, who's culture fits in with the culture of our organization, innovative, flexible, able to make adjustments, works with great energy and enthusiasm and very positive in his approach. Surely that person is out there and we'll find that person."
(on his though process of coming to this decision) "We've been evaluating it every game and asking the question, 'What's in the best interest of the organization?' We have a young quarterback, Case Keenum, and we need to find out whether Case is capable of being a starter or whether he's capable of being a backup and the way you find that out is by playing him. We have waited to see how that was developing and to see how much progress we could make in the development of him as a player. We're at the point now where we needed to go ahead and make some changes because losing like this is just unacceptable and something that we just can't tolerate."
(on if Wade Phillips is a candidate for the permanent job) "Yeah, we'll interview Wade and give him an opportunity to interview for the position. He's got an outstanding record and he's a fine coach. We'll be interviewing him and we'll be interviewing a number of other people."
(on what was the final straw to make him make the decision to make a change) "I think the last straw was losing. We've got a lot better talent than Jacksonville and to have them beat us twice, that's to their credit. They played harder. They played smarter. That's not acceptable to us, to have some team beat us on that basis. If they're better than we are, if they have better ability than we do, then fine. We expect to go out and play hard and play smart and we didn't play smart."
(on the meeting with Gary Kubiak) "It was difficult for me because I think so much of Gary. It's something that I didn't want to do, but you do what's best for the organization. Gary accepted it and understands the situation and was thankful for the opportunity that he's had. We're thankful for the job that he's done for us."
(on how his conversation with Gary Kubiak went since they have a long history) "Yeah, we do and I obviously want to echo Mr. McNair's comments in thanking Gary for his commitment to the organization. We've been together for almost 18 years. That's obviously a lot of history and I've got a tremendous amount of respect for him. It was a difficult decision, but what's taking place is not acceptable for our organization. When you have a setback of this magnitude, it requires extensive introspection and we've got three more weeks of a season to continue the evaluation process that has been ongoing. We've got to right the ship and that's what this decision unfortunately is about, but we've got to move forward as an organization. I'm confident that Wade (Phillips) will have our team prepared and we'll continue to evaluate every player, every coach, every process. You've got to really be honest and look at what you're doing and why you're doing what you're doing to assess whether or not it's been production. Clearly, right now, we have not been productive over the last 11 weeks and we have to figure out why."
(on if a college coach is a possibility or if he prefers to stick with someone who is currently in the NFL) "We would like someone who has had head coaching experience, but has also had NFL experience. It's a combination of those two things would be the ideal situation and there are people who meet those conditions.
(on if he thought about making a coaching change following the first loss to Jacksonville this season) "Well, I've thought about it continually in terms of, 'Are we making progress?' If we're making progress, then fine. Let's continue along the line that we're going. We've sort of had our ups and downs and the game against New England, we were in a very good position to win that game. Case (Keenum) was matching (Tom) Brady, in terms of possessions, going up and down the field scoring. That was very encouraging. It's just the inconsistency and the mental errors and the lack of discipline from time-to-time. Just didn't see that we were progressing and showing improvement in those areas where we needed to show improvement. And still, it's a performance-related business and when you lose, a loss is a loss and we just can't tolerate that."
(on if Wade Phillips will decide who the starting quarterback will be or if he already knows) "Case (Keenum) is going to be the quarterback. We're going to give him a chance to see how he can perform. I think the jury is still out. He's got a lot of ability. He's shown some flashes of brilliance and then he's shown some rookie mistakes. We've got to see if we can improve, eliminate those mistakes, minimize those mistakes and continue some of the outstanding play that (we've) seen and see whether we think that he can be a starting quarterback in the NFL. At this point, we really don't know."
(on why it is important for him now to get a head coach who has head-coaching experience) "Well, experience shows that those people who were selected to be a head coach in the NFL, met with more success if they had had head-coaching experience. And if you take someone who has been a coordinator, you're basically moving them from a lower level of management, let's say, to a higher level of management that they've never been in before. So, there's a question mark as to whether they can elevate their performance to be able to handle those additional responsibilities, and some people can't. Some people who have been players always have a player mentality and you can't have a player mentality and be the manager, be the coach, be the guy that's got to make tough decisions. I mean, you've got to think about the organization and not just think about the players' viewpoint because the players' viewpoint isn't necessarily the organization's viewpoint in all cases."
(on what it's been like personally to go through 11 straight losses) "It's been horrible. It's been a nightmare. Fortunately, we've always had successful organizations. This is not what I'm accustomed to. It's not what our organization is accustomed to and we don't like it. We're unhappy about it and we've got to do something about it. We think the organized, disciplined way of doing it is doing it at the end of the year but when you have extreme circumstances like this and there's an opportunity to go ahead and get the process started earlier, which we can by making this announcement now. Whereas if we didn't do this, then we'd have to hold off that whole process of the search. I think it's in the best interest of the organization to go ahead and start now. We don't have to do a lot to get us back on track. We're going to do everything we can to do that and we expect to be right back in playoff contention next year.
"This is not a long-term rebuilding process. I want to make that clear. We've got core players who are outstanding players and we still need to fill a few holes. We had some injuries that hurt us in key positions, in terms of leadership on the field. We have some things that we need to do but we've still got a good core group of players that can make for an outstanding team."
(on if not sticking with QB Case Keenum being one of the key contributors to this decision) "No, the whole key is what is in the best interest of the organization. And, Case has had his ups and downs and we think that he needs to be given the opportunity and he will be given the opportunity now, but there were a lot of other things that happened. 14 penalties – that is not the difference between Case and Matt playing or making a change. Things like that are just totally unacceptable."
(on when he made the decision to relieve Gary Kubiak of his duties) "Actually, I guess flying back last night I had time to think about it and thought it was the right time to make this move. We've got a little time between now and our next game so we have a little bit more time to prepare. It makes sense to do it now."
(on if he regrets not making this move earlier in the season based on the talent on the roster) "One of the questions when your starting QB has had four games where you've had losses, or you've had one game or two games, when you take a person like Matt (Schaub) who has had success with us for six or seven years, because he has one bad game, you don't remove him. And so the question is how long a period do you review the situation and experience it before you make a move and that was a coaching decision, but you can second guess someone about that, but I think most coaches would have gone with a proven commodity who has shown he can get the job done for all these years and I think they wanted to make sure they gave him an adequate chance to do that. Hindsight is 20-20. If we could go back and start the season again knowing what we know now, rest assured there would be a number of decisions that would be different, but the game isn't played that way so you have to rely upon your coaches and your instincts and look at past performance and typically past performance should indicate to a large degree future performance. People who have performed in the past typically will perform in the future. Those who haven't performed in the past probably are not going to perform in the future."
(on how you will tackle the draft and the depth of the roster) "I will say this: at this point it is premature to have any of those types of discussions. I think what we need to do now is we have three weeks to evaluate what is happening in our building and as Bob indicated to get a head start on our search and that is what the objective are at this point."
(on talking about potential candidates you will be approaching and if Lovie Smith someone the team is interested in) "There are some people who are not coaching now that will be considered and Lovie is a good example. He's a good coach and one of several. It will be best for the whole process to keep it confidential as to who we actually decide to visit with as we go forward."