Texans chairman and CEO announced Monday that head coach Gary Kubiak will return for his sixth season with the team. He'll do so with an overhauled defensive staff.
Kubiak has parted ways with defensive coordinator Frank Bush and three of his assistants – defensive backs coach David Gibbs, linebackers coach Johnny Holland and assistant linebackers coach Robert Saleh.
"Obviously, we're going to go in another direction defensively," Kubiak said. "I appreciate all the hard work they've put in, the job that they did and the effort that they put forth. It's a tough day from that standpoint. We're going to move forward, and we've got some serious things to fix on the defensive side of the ball."
The Texans are coming off a 6-10 season in which their offense ranked third but defense ranked 30th, including 32nd in passing. They lost eight of their final 10 games after a 4-2 start.
"It definitely was not all coaching, in my opinion," Kubiak said of the team's defensive struggles. "We've got issues across the board."
Kubiak said that he will begin the search for a new defensive coordinator immediately. Former Dallas Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips will be among the candidates.
After hiring first-time coordinators in Bush and Richard Smith (2006-07), Kubiak will be looking for a coach with a more established track record. He said that it won't matter if the new coordinator runs a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme.
The new coordinator will have major input on which players the Texans add through free agency and the draft.
"We've got to go out there and sell our program to a top-notch guy, and we've got to let him know we're going to totally support him and what he doesn't think he has, we need to go get it for him and whatever we can do to get better," Kubiak said. "This football team needs to see us be totally committed to getting better on that side of the ball, and that means supporting whoever we bring in."
Bush coordinated the defense for the last two seasons after two years as the Texans' senior defensive assistant. He coached the best defense in team history in 2009, with the Texans setting club records for fewest yards (324.9) and points (20.8) allowed per game.
This season, the defense suffered critical early-season injuries to linebacker DeMeco Ryans and defensive end Connor Barwin. Big plays in the passing game haunted them all season long.
Assistant head coach/defensive line Bill Kollar and assistant defensive backs coach Perry Carter were the only defensive coaches retained by Kubiak. Senior defensive assistant Ray Rhodes is still with the team, although he could retire when his contract expires in March.
Kubiak has a record of 37-43 in five seasons as Texans head coach. After inheriting a 2-14 team in 2006, he led the Texans to records of 6-10, 8-8, 8-8 and 9-7 before this past season.
The Texans have been in the top four in the NFL in offense in each of the last three seasons under Kubiak, who was the Denver Broncos' offensive coordinator from 1995-2005. Houston had the league's leading rusher (Arian Foster) this season and the league's top passer (Matt Schaub) and receiver (Andre Johnson) in 2009.
"I appreciate Bob's confidence in me," Kubiak said. "We visited today and decided on a new direction and obviously him giving me a chance to move us in that direction. I'm very thankful for that. I appreciate that, but I know I have a lot of work to do and have got some problems to fix, and we're looking forward to doing that."