Voice of the Fan

EDITOR'S NOTE:Texans fan Alan J. Burge continues to write his "Voice of the Fan" column for HoustonTexans.com. His latest installment is below. Alan's views do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization.

Getting to Know You

I have to hand it to the Texans. They have me. They own me.

Who cares about Vince and Reggie? When can I pay for my season tickets?

The Texans put on a colossal media event on Thursday and I was one lucky fan as I managed to beg my way into the same room where Gary Kubiak was announced as the second head coach in the history of the Houston Texans.

About the only thing I can say at this point is "when does the season start?"

It's late January and our team is coming off a 2-14 season but this city is on fire talking about the Texans. We may not all agree on the specifics of who, what, or how to get there, but one thing is certain: Never doubt the passion of pro football fans in this great city.

Texans owner Bob McNair accurately described the environment as "supercharged." Hope and optimism abounds. From a raw and purely emotional Texans fan perspective, this press conference felt a lot like the expansion draft back in '02 without the screaming fans and ESPN in the house.

But then there's the harsh reality of that 2-14 thing.

Okay let's just put that aside and enjoy the moment. It's good. It's healthy. Let the endorphins flow. At least for a day.

This was my first time to see Gary Kubiak in a setting other than on television behind a sliding glass window. This was my first time to hear him speak in person. A few things struck me.

First and foremost, he has a strong and supportive family unit around him. From his beautiful wife Rhonda to his three 'chip off the block' sons, to his parents and the rest of his family and his in-laws, it's obvious that Gary draws much of his strength from those who are closest to him.

I've never heard him speak before but it appeared that Gary was nearly overcome by emotions as he made his opening comments. As I sat there and listened intently I was pulling for him to not go Vermeil on us right off the bat.

But he managed to exhale and gather himself and proceed to deliver some heartfelt and inspiring thoughts on how he intends to bring a championship to his hometown.

Gary thanked McNair and acknowledged McNair's passion to do whatever it takes to bring a championship to this city. Gary thanked his family. Gary thanked Broncos owner Pat Bowlen and repeatedly paid homage to his former boss Mike Shanahan.

But there was one thing that stuck with me as I walked out of the building and that was a simple statement that Gary made as he gestured towards Mr. McNair. "I won't let you down, I promise you that."

It's a simple statement and one that might get lost or overlooked when you read the transcripts and quotes in the paper tomorrow. But placed in the context of the voice inflection, the body language, and the raw emotion that appeared to be flowing through Gary at the moment, it hit me as one of the more powerful and genuine statements of the afternoon.

Gary was speaking from the heart, soul, and gut up there on the stage today. It was refreshing to see that kind of emotion coming from the head coach in a public setting.

I wasn't sure about Kubiak in the past. I wasn't sure if he could lead after being in the shadows for so many years. But after reading the endorsements from his former boss and other NFL people, and listening to him speak today - saying all the right things and with such passion, I can't help but get behind this guy. He said things that I liked.

He said that he's bringing Denver's offensive system here and just changing the color of the playbook to a darker shade of blue.

He also said that we have to fit the system to what our players do best and that you can't be stubborn in a system if the pieces don't fit.


And then there were the obvious questions like Vince or Reggie.

Taking Kubiak's comments literally left little doubt that David Carr will be here on opening day of training camp. Whether that's reality or just the current company line will probably be realized next week when Carr's contract status is revealed. Kubiak raved over David's skills and his upside. He spoke in a definitive tone when he said "I'm going to make him (Carr) successful."

Kubiak also said that Carr needs to do his part and that "everyone in that locker room has to bleed for that guy (the QB)."

I came out strongly in favor of Vince Young a couple of weeks ago but there was always that little piece in the back of my mind that intrigued me about keeping Carr and adding Reggie Bush to the equation – while wondering how long it would take Vince to lead us to the promised land.

But after listening to Kubiak and McNair's comments today it appears they are leaning towards keeping Carr and either drafting Bush or trading down for more picks.

In an interview on SportsRadio 610 following the press conference, McNair talked about Kubiak being instrumental in turning around Jake Plummer's career at Denver. In addition to saying that David Carr is a better quarterback than Jake Plummer, McNair said of Kubiak, "if he can do that with Plummer, what in the world can he do with David Carr?"

McNair said that the decision on the first pick in the draft comes down to several questions:

"What do we have now?"

"What do we need?"

"What's out there?"

And maybe most telling, * *

*"How do we get there as quickly as we can?" *

And all while juggling the salary cap.

After leaving the event, I felt less consumed by the Vince–Bush-Carr issue as the emotions of the new beginning seemed to overcome all.

But there's always tomorrow.

*You can email Alan Burge at: **aj_texans@yahoo.com*

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