A Coach's Caution
Bob McNair is feeling it: Owner freaks out Kubiak with talk of Texanscontrolling their own fate
Bob McNair emerged from the Houston Texans locker room, wearing a loud red jacket that matched the color of the jerseys his team wore on his Devil's Night afternoon. The owner's smile was even harder to miss.
Halfway through the season, McNair's Texans (5-3) sit alone in first place in the AFC South, on track to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history . . . As long as they take care of business.
"We control our own fate," McNair said, "and that's the way we want it. I think the guys understand where they are."
Houston's never been in this position before. In part, because its division's never been this bad before — with only the Tennessee Titans team (4-3) that the Texans demolished 41-7 last weekend still in hailing distance. Usually, there's been that other bully in the South (Peyton Manning of the Colts) keeping McNair's franchise down.
Excuse the owner for being a little giddy. Even if it causes a little consternation for the head coach.
It's new territory.
"We've been 5-3 before," tight end Owen Daniels said. "But we've never been in this position before. We've never been 5-3 and in first place."
One that Texans coach Gary Kubiak — who probably needs to complete the playoff journey to keep his job — already seems wary of. Immediately after the 24-14 win over Jacksonville — a win that meant first and the effective elimination of the 2-6 Jags from the race —Kubiak gathered his players in the locker room and asked them what five wins gets a team in the NFL. The implication couldn't have been clearer: Nothing's been gained yet.
"Five wins doesn't get you anywhere in this league," tight end Joel Dreessen said later in the locker room, almost mimicking his coach.
Still, the Texans know where they are — and several of them are more than aware of what McNair means. The owner is not the only one who's feeling it.
"We've been 5-3 before," tight end Owen Daniels said. "But we've never been in this position before. We've never been 5-3 and in first place. It's on us to keep this thing going now."