Can Texans Make a Run with 3rd String QB?

Can Texans Make a Run with 3rd String QB?

The good news: You're Gary Kubiak, coach of the Houston Texans, and you will be hosting your first playoff game Saturday. Your opponents are the very beatable 9-7 Cincinnati Bengals. Now, the bad news: Your quarterback will likely be T.J. Yates (oh, no!), unless he's hurt, in which case it will be Jake Delhomme (holy crap!), and if both of them are injured, it will be Jeff Garcia ("Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me." — Psalm 55:5). This is Kubiak's dilemma, as he and the Texans have backed into the playoffs after season-ending injuries to starter Matt Schaub and backup Matt Leinart.

Fortunately, unlike most NFL coaches, Kubiak did not build the Texans offense solely around his quarterback. Kubiak, a former assistant under Mike Shanahan in San Francisco and Denver, employs the same West Coast offense passing game that Shanahan used in San Francisco. The foundation of the Texans offense, however, is a running game that has roots in a later iteration of the Kubiak/Shanahan collaboration — the late-1990s Denver Broncos.

When Shanahan went to Denver in 1995, he brought his West Coast passing plays with him and enlisted Kubiak to help teach them to quarterback John Elway. But he introduced a different run offense from Bill Walsh's traditional West Coast playbook. Shanahan cast his fortunes with the blocking scheme that had begun taking over the NFL, and made his most important hire to do it. He brought on offensive line coach Alex Gibbs to install a zone-blocking running game.

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