Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 11/23/11

ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 01: Head coach Gary Kubiak of the Houston Texans looks on during the game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 1, 2009 in Orchard Park, New York. Houston won 31-10. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
First it was Mario Williams. That was followed by a slight tear of Andre Johnson's hamstring. Now Matt Schaub's season is over thanks to a fractured foot. Mix in Arian Foster's early season hamstring issues, James Casey's pectoral problem and Danieal Manning's fractured leg and this could have very well been the lost season for the Texans. The excuse would have been built in: Which team loses, arguably, its three biggest stars for a substantial amount of time -- as well as key secondary players -- yet maintains a winning record and first place in its division? The constant has been what owner Bob McNair calls Gary Kubiak's "steady" leadership. "He doesn't have ups and downs," said McNair. "I get it from fans all the time He's not emotional, he doesn't get upset when a play is handled poorly, or he's no good because he doesn't scream and holler. Well, players don't want all that. It's a distraction. You need somebody who can provide leadership under pressure and I think the team has seen that with Gary. That's what he does." Indeed, Kubiak has been maligned in the past by fans and media for his sideline demeanor. He isn't the raving lunatic on game days. He isn't the coach who rips a player publicly to get a point across. This season, his even keel has become a strength as he kept his team focused and motivated despite the challenges of going through the schedule absent several key players. "I think the players are challenged by it," Kubiak said. "I think they're challenged by what's happened to their team and some of their teammates. Not a lot of people believe that they can continue to play at that level, but they believe they can and I believe they can." Kubiak has never been the pep-talk coach. His pregame speech is sometimes as simple as, "Let's go." "I don't have to give them pep talks," he said. "They hear from me enough." But if a message needs to be sent to a player, Kubiak has no problem making that message very clear in an authoritative tone. "You know when he's mad," said nose tackle Shaun Cody. "He's stern with his words and he knows exactly what he wants to say when there's a message to get across. But he treats you like a man. He doesn't scream at you like a little kid." Kubiak, in his sixth season as head coach of the Texans, is 44-46. It's not a record of distinction, but a division championship and a playoff win under the current circumstances would rank as an extraordinary coaching job. It must be noted that Kubiak's work this season has been enhanced significantly by the job Wade Phillips has done with the defense. Nevertheless, the man in charge gets the lion's share of the blame during the bad times and, conversely, should get the credit when times are good. Of course, six games remain in the 2011 season, plenty of time for the Texans to regress to mediocrity. Presuming they do win the division and host a playoff game, Kubiak will have accomplished his finest coaching job during a season that presented the most challenges.
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