Update: Gary Kubiak was fired early Friday afternoon, after this article was published.
Gary Kubiak and the Houston Texans lost their 11th straight game on Thursday night, dropping one to the division rival Jaguars for the second time in three weeks. Big expectations in the preseason and an losing skid that once seemed unimaginable make Kubiak's dismissal a question of when, not if.
More on Kubiak in a bit. Let's go back to Week 13 to start this week's hot seat watch.
Last week, we re-vamped our look at NFL coaches on the hot seat. We narrowed the focus and took off some names who clearly were not going anywhere. The list isn't final by any means, and coaches like Mike Munchak (losing record after three years) and Jim Schwartz (absolutely has to make playoffs to retain job) can still be out of a job even if we're not focusing on them.
Some comments have brought up Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons, and have noted my criticism of Gus Bradley of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Readers are correct in that Bradley is in no danger at this point and only mentioned as actually being on this list when the Jaguars were still winless.
He wasn't expected to make big things happen in his first year coaching that team.
But the Falcons' Smith is also safe. The Falcons have hit a wall about as hard as one team can hit a wall. But Smith's team has had five consecutive winning seasons and four playoff trips from 2008 to 2012, and the good faith is still there for him. The Falcons will go back to the drawing board, but with Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff still at the helm.
Our full list of coaches officially on the watch is below:
Dennis Allen (Oakland Raiders), Jason Garrett (Dallas Cowboys), Rex Ryan (New York Jets), Leslie Frazier (Minnesota Vikings), Greg Schiano (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Gary Kubiak (Houston Texans) and Mike Shanahan (Washington Redskins)
After Week 12
Losers: Allen, Ryan, Schiano, Kubiak, Shanahan
The Raiders were one of six teams to play on Thanksgiving and, unsurprisingly, one of three to lose. Oakland took on Garrett and the Cowboys and fell short despite leading heading into the second half. With the loss, the Raiders will have only a .500 season at best.
Ryan and the Jets continue their offensive struggles due to instability at the quarterback position. Here, "instability" means "terrible, awful play." Geno Smith is clearly not ready, despite having played more than half a season, and Matt Simms wasn't exactly better. The team has lost three straight games going into this week's matchup against the Raiders.
Kubiak and Schiano had virtually no chance to win their respective matchups last week. The Texans were taking on the New England Patriots, but ended up playing it close in a 34-31 defeat. The Buccaneers took on the Carolina Panthers, who have now won approximately 400 games in a row, rounding up.
Victorious: Garrett, Frazier
As noted above, Garrett and the Cowboys took down the Raiders. Dallas now holds a tie with the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East with both teams at 7-5 on the season. Frazier and the Vikings took on their NFC North rivals the Chicago Bears and won that game in overtime, 23-20. Minnesota has shown a penchant for playing its rivals hard, but the rest of the league ... not so much.
Kubiak and the Texans took on the Jaguars on Thursday Night Football and increased their loss total to 11. The Texans are just a mess, and though they put up a fight. Matt Schaub took over for Case Keenum in the second half, but a comeback bid fell apart with a costly interception late in the fourth quarter. Falling to the now-4-9 Jaguars is not a good look. Houston lost the game by a full touchdown, and have to face the Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos and the Tennessee Titans to close out the season. Not looking good.
Speculation about Kubiak's future was in full swing Friday morning after ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted this:
Gary Kubiak is scheduled to address the media at noon ET in the Texans Team Auditorium.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 6, 2013
As mentioned above, the Raiders and Jets will face off on Sunday as Oakland begins its quest for .500 and the Jets try and avoid that eighth loss. The quarterback play of both teams has been ... less than quality, but it sure does make for good television. Schiano and the Buccaneers get a much easier matchup this week in the Buffalo Bills, a team that's incredibly difficult to quantify.
Shanahan's Redskins will take on the Kansas City Chiefs, who have lost their last three games. The Chiefs won nine consecutive games before their losing skid, so they're not to be underestimated. Frazier's Vikings will take on the Baltimore Ravens, who at 6-6 are still in the running for their division behind the Cincinnati Bengals. Minnesota isn't in such a position.
Garrett and the Cowboys will get the Monday Night Football honors against the Chicago Bears. It should be a tough matchup, given that the Bears are just a game behind the Lions in the NFC North while the Cowboys are fending off the Eagles in the NFC East.
Most In Danger: Schiano (3-9), Kubiak (2-11)
In Danger: Allen (4-8) Ryan (5-7), Frazier (3-8-1)
Less Danger: Shanahan (3-9)
Least Danger: Garrett (7-5)