Don’t look now, but Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak has the best win loss record in the AFC South, even though Chuck Pagano, Gus Bradley and Mike Munchak are all fairly new coaches to their respective teams.
Still, it came as a surprise to me a few days ago to see ESPN.com’s AFC South blog rank Kubiak as the second best head coach within the division. Topping the list was the Colts’ Chuck Pagano, followed by Mike Munchak and Gus Bradley (you can read the entire article here if you want to voice your opinion to the ESPN crew).
But since it is the offseason, and there’s not much else worth our time right now, is Kubiak really second fiddle to a coach like Pagano, who has only been in Indianapolis for two years and established as much as a lackluster playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens a season ago?
For some, Pagano is already considered as one of the best coaches in the league, and of course, there’s no denying how influential he has been to the entire Colts organization recently. Coaching the team from his sickbed has been nothing short of inspirational, just like his work to transform a rookie like Andrew Luck into a future (and more than likely) MVP.
However, like most rankings in the NFL, we have to take into account what’s on paper, consistency, and wins and losses. Pagano taking a previously 2-14 team in desperate need of some offense and a pick-me-up to cure Peyton Manning’s departure was a huge challenge that was well accomplished, but on the other hand it was only one season, and 2013 still holds a lot to prove for the Colts.
Kubiak also has a lot to prove in 2013, and he too may not have shown that he is a consistent and reliable coach just yet. People continue to judge Kubiak on the Texans’ failure to meet their ultimate goal – a Super Bowl berth – and with a 2-2 record in the playoffs during the past seven years, any further playoff chokes will cause a lot more criticism.
What Kubiak does have over his fellow South coaches though, is a sturdy offense that hasn’t fallen apart, and a team that has recognized several weak spots on the defense and aimed to change it.
When it comes down to it, whether or not seven years of building the Texans up and making them a serious Super Bowl candidate in the next two years means more than Pagano’s season of turning the Colts around and doing the unthinkable, is up to you.
Perhaps what could seperate Pagano from Kubiak in a few years time is the influence of Jim Mora and Pete Carroll on his career. Even so, if Kubiak was on the market as a head coach as of tomorrow, it’s hard to see him remaining jobless for an extended period of time.
It might be fairer to rank Luck above Schaub at this point, more than it is to rank Pagano ahead of Kubiak. If one thing is true, this will be an interesting discussion in a years time.
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