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Texans fire Kubiak

The SportsXchange

HOUSTON -- The Houston Texas fired coach Gary Kubiak on Friday.

The Texans have had a disappointing season after winning a combined 22 regular-season games combined over the previous two years.

Houston lost its 11th straight game Thursday night after starting the season 2-0. The Texans fell 27-20 to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Kubiak told his assistant coaches earlier Friday that he was being let go, according to multiple reports.

"I want to thank Bob McNair and his family for giving me my first head coaching opportunity in the National Football League," Kubiak said in a statement. "Bob has treated me with the utmost class and respect throughout my career with the Texans. I am appreciative of him for bringing me back to Houston to coach my hometown team.

"I want thank the players and coaches for all the work they have put in during my years with the Texans. Though we came up short this season, the work, effort and sacrifice they gave me and this organization over the last eight seasons is not to be taken for granted. I want to wish them all the best."

The team later announced Kubiak's dismissal.

"It's been horrible, a nightmare," owner Bob McNair said during a press conference. "I didn't want to do this, but we're in a performance-related business. Gary has meant so much to this organization. I have great respect for him. But losing like this is unacceptable. This is something I'm not accustomed to and this organization isn't accustomed to."

Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will serve as interim head coach. Phillips filled in for Kubiak after he suffered a mini-stroke at halftime of the Texans' Nov. 3 game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Kubiak went 61-64 as the Texans' head coach since taking the job in 2006. Under Kubiak, the Texans won consecutive AFC South titles in 2011 and '12. He was named Coach of the Year in 2011.

Kubiak was the fourth longest-tenured coach in the NFL, behind Bill Belichick, Marvin Lewis and Tom Coughlin.

"Gary has brought this team to a new level, two division championships," McNair said. "It's been a job that he's totally committed to. We couldn't ask for more out of anyone. ... We have to do what's best for the organization, and we will always do that."

The team will immediately search for a new head coach.

"We're looking for a coach who's bright, ethical, innovative and flexible to make adjustments," McNair said. "We expect to be in (playoff) contention next year. We don't consider this a long-term rebuilding process."

The Texans have struggled at the quarterback position this season with Matt Schaub and Case Keenum. Kubiak replaced Keenum in the third quarter of Thursday's loss with Schaub. It was the second time in four weeks that Kubiak made such a move. McNair said Keenum will continue as the starter.

"Case (Keenum) will be our starting quarterback the rest of the season," he said. "We have to see if he can perform well enough to be our quarterback next season. He's shown flashes of brilliance, but he's also made rookie mistakes. He needs to play."

Keenum completed 16 of 29 passes for 159 yards with a touchdown and an interception before getting pulled.

McNair seemed disturbed that Kubiak replaced Keenum in a game in which the Texans also committed 14 penalties.

"There were a lot of other things that happened (in Thursday's game)," he said. "Fourteen penalties -- that's not the difference between Case and Matt playing."

In evaluating Keenum, McNair pointed to the Texans' Dec. 1 game against the New England Patriots in which the rookie completed 15 of 30 passes for 272 yards with an interception. Houston fell just short in the 34-31 loss.

"In the game against New England, we were in a very good position to win that game," McNair said. "Case was matching (Patriots quarterback Tom) Brady in terms of possessions, going up and down the field scoring. And that was very encouraging. But it's just the inconsistency and mental errors and lack of discipline from time to time. I just didn't see that we were progressing and showing improvement in those areas we needed to show improvement."

In seven games, Keenum has thrown for 1,592 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions.
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