On the I-45 overpass in Houston Texas, a disappointed fan spelled out the words "Cut Schaub" following Sunday's loss in Baltimore. For all the criticism tossed his way, Schaub is not the problem. Now don't get me wrong, I don't believe the Texans will win a Super Bowl with Matt Schaub under center however he is not the problem. Look at the numbers. In his six seasons, Schaub has completed 65 percent of his passes, thrown for an average of 3600 yards per season with 20 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Schaub is not the problem no matter what the message on the overpass says.
The problem is a balanced offense. The debilitating imbalance lies at the feet of Head Coach Gary Kubiak and offensive coordinator Rick Denison.
With arguably one of the best running back duos in the game with Arian Foster and Ben Tate, the Texans have rushed the ball just 79 times in the first three weeks. The duo is averaging nearly five yards a carry and yet Houston continues to throw the ball by a 2:1 ratio (128 pass attempts). Arian Foster who led the NFL in touches and touchdowns last season and Ben Tate currently rank 15th and 21st respectively among NFL running backs behind the likes of Bilal Powell and the injured Shane Vereen. Behind Bilal Powell; are you kidding me?
What has happened to Gary Kubiak's offensive genius? In Denver from 1995 - 2005, his teams were consistently a top ten offense in the NFL and more importantly a top ten rushing offense. In eight seasons at the helm of the Texans, Kubiak's rushing offense and passing offense has ranked in the top ten of NFL offenses twice. In fact those two times (2011, 2012) directly correlate to a top five NFL running game and winning records for the Houston franchise.
Those seasons aside Kubiak is a sub .500 coach in the regular season and an even steven 4-4 in the playoffs.
Running the football fifty-two percent of the time in 2011, the Texans sported a 10-6 record. Running the football forty-six percent of the time in 2012, the Texans posted a franchise best 12-4 record. All other seasons barely forty percent of the offense was running the ball and look at the record, a combined 28-36.
Last season Foster speaking of Kubiak's offensive mind told ESPN's Paul Kuharsky;
"I think he's a guru. As his career progresses he'll get a lot more notoriety for what he's able to do in this league and what he's able to see out there. I just think his offensive mind is up there with the best of them. He's one of the best chess players I've ever seen. I don't know how much that means with me saying it. I'm not saying that just because he's my head coach. I like to take my emotions out of any opinion that I have. And I feel like he's one of the best out there offensively."
During media interviews on Thursday, Foster's tone was less praiseworthy.
"I'm going to go ahead and say I feel like I can do what I've been doing for years and I'll leave it right there," Foster said.
Former Houston Oiler and NFL HOF quarterback Warren Moon in a local radio interview summed up the Houston Texans problem.
"The Texans need to get back to running the football," said Moon in a Houston radio interview on Friday leading up to the Texans/Seahawks on Sunday. "Look what happened to the 49ers' on Thursday night. They got back to running the football. The Texans need to find their identity again."
On Sunday it seemed as if Kubiak and company had gotten Moon's message racking up 20 first half points and 342 yards including a ground game that garnered 98 yards on 19 carries but old habits die hard. The rest of the way 16 carries for 53 yards despite still holding the lead with 3:54 to play. By days end, the Texans had suffered another disappointing loss and you guessed it the run game was only forty-one percent of the offense.
Football is not a complicated game. Run the ball. Control the clock. Win the game.
Do you hear that Gary Kubiak? Rick Dennison? Run the football. Balance the offense. Win the game.