Texans hire "instant fit" Dorrell as QB coach

The Texans have hired Karl Dorrell as their new quarterbacks coach, the team announced today. He replaces Greg Knapp, who left last week to become offensive coordinator of the Oakland Raiders.

A former head coach at UCLA, Dorrell worked with Texans coach Gary Kubiak and several Texans offensive assistants in Denver from 2000-02, coaching the Broncos’ wide receivers while Kubiak was offensive coordinator. Kubiak thinks he will be an excellent fit with quarterback .

“My first thought when I’m hiring somebody at that position is with Matt,” Kubiak said. “I know their personalities will mesh easily. They’re both grinders on football, so they’ll be very compatible from that standpoint. And then the other part was obviously the fact that Karl does know my system and how I teach and what I do because he’s been with me before. He’s very familiar with a lot of people on our staff.”

Dorrell also coached in Denver with Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, wide receivers coach Larry Kirksey and tight ends coach Brian Pariani. He even coached Texans defensive backs coach Vance Joseph at Colorado from 1992-93.

“This is an instant fit,” Kubiak said. “Karl walked in here today and signed the contract and I’ve (already) got him working, so it’s not like we’re having to adapt a total stranger to what we do. We’re just very fortunate to get him. I’ve been trying to get him here for a couple years, as a matter of fact, and it finally worked out.”

Dorrell was prevented from interviewing with the Texans in the past because of contract situations. He spent the last four seasons with the Miami Dolphins, coaching wide receivers from 2008-10 and quarterbacks in 2011.

Kubiak wanted his new quarterbacks coach to have play-calling experience, and Dorrell certainly fits the bill. He was the head coach at UCLA from 2003-07, going 35-27 and making a bowl game in each of his five seasons. He also was an offensive coordinator at Northern Arizona (1990-91), Colorado (1995-98) and Washington (1999).

“He’s been a coordinator in college, he’s been a head coach in college and a damn good one, and he’s worked for Bill Parcells (in Miami), who’s raised some great coaches,” Kubiak said. “He got a chance to coach the quarterbacks in Miami this past year and was very much involved in game-planning and that type of stuff. He’ll be the guy that’ll be in Matt’s headset every week, so he’ll take on the responsibility that Knapper did. I know he’s a great person and I know he’s a hell of a teacher, so (I’m) very excited to have him here in Houston.”

Dorrell, 48, helped Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore have a breakthrough season in 2011. An undrafted free agent in 2007, Moore came off the bench to start the final 13 games and posted an 87.1 passer rating, which ranked fifth in the AFC.

“In a lot of ways, he had the same situation we kind of had,” Kubiak said. “Karl’s a good football coach. Karl could coach any position you want him to coach on offense, but we just need him to go in there and do a good job with Matt and with T.J. (Yates) and the other Matt (Leinart). He’s looking forward to it and excited to get going.”

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Kubiak says Phillips’ interview with Bucs not a distraction

Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will interview with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Houston on Friday evening for their head coaching job.

Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said Monday that he doesn’t view it as a distraction to the team, which is preparing for a Divisional playoff game at Baltimore on Sunday.

“I think it’s a compliment,” Kubiak said. “We all know Wade’s track record and the job that he’s done. That’s not a surprise at all somebody would want to visit him about the head coaching job. I look at it different than probably a lot of people.

“I think it’s a huge compliment to (linebackers coach) Reggie Herring, (defensive backs coach) Vance (Joseph), to (assistant head coach/defensive line) Bill (Kollar), the defensive staff. It’s a big compliment to our defensive players because of the job that Wade’s done and those other guys that have helped him do that job.

“We’re proud of any opportunity any one of our coaches would get. It will not be a distraction.”

Phillips improved the Texans’ defense from 30th in 2010 to second in 2011, with a 91.2-yard per game improvement that was the third-best in the NFL since 1970. He has an 82-61 (.571) career record as a head coach. He told the Houston Chronicle on Sunday that he doesn’t want to leave Houston but would like to get another chance to be a head coach.

Kubiak said the Bucs asking permission to interview Phillips during the Texans’ playoff run is standard procedure in the NFL. Phillips’ interview with Tampa Bay will not conflict with any of his Texans obligations. The Texans typically install their game plan on Wednesday and Thursday and have a light practice on Friday.

“There’s obviously a window where they have to ask for permission to ask to talk to your guys and then you try to make it work within your normal schedule,” Kubiak said. “There’s nothing that will change about our schedule. We’ll go through our normal week and Wade will visit with them sometime Friday evening, and so he’ll still be working Friday evening while everybody else is getting a little break that evening. 

“So nothing will change about what we do. I want everybody to understand that.”

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Texans coaches go through ‘warm-up’ for training camp

Earlier this offseason, Texans coaches got a head start on 2011 by putting together their playbooks and game plans for the first several games of the season.

That seemed like a unique byproduct of the lockout at the time, but it sounds almost mundane compared to the last few weeks.

Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said that he and his staff have been in teaching mode with each other, “coaches teaching coaches” – reviewing installations and terminology in meetings as if they were in training camp meetings with players.

“What we’ve done is we’ve assumed that our players are here,” Kubiak said in his office on Wednesday. “We went down in our rooms and went into our teaching mode just like we would be teaching if our guys were here the first few weeks of training camp. Some of the coaches are the students, some of the coaches are teachers.

“We’re just trying to put ourselves through a mimic training camp, with about 10 faces in there instead of 50. So it’s been good for all of us.”

The teaching sessions have been particularly useful for assistant coaches to get a firmer grasp on new terminology. There are new wrinkles being installed on offense, and new coaches from different teams settling in on defense.

New defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and linebackers coach Reggie Herring brought with them a new scheme, and new terminology, from the Dallas Cowboys. New defensive backs coach Vance Joseph spent the last six seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. Defensive line coach Bill Kollar and assistant defensive backs coach Perry Carter, the only holdovers on the defensive staff, have worked with former defensive coordinator Frank Bush’s terminology for the last two seasons.

“It’s been really good,” Kubiak said of the teaching sessions. “We’ve been doing it on both sides of the ball, and we’ve done it with special teams with Joe (Marciano). It just keeps coaches fresh in their teaching; sharpens you back up on your teaching skills for when it’s time to go. So it’s been good. We’ve had some time on our hands, and it’s been used very wisely.”

If the lockout is resolved in time for training camp to start in late July, Kubiak and his staff will be more prepared than ever.

“We’re ready to go to camp today,” Kubiak said. “Before, we were ready to go bookwork-wise and paperwork-wise (playbook) and all that stuff. Right now, teaching-wise we’re ready to go. We kind of had a warm-up, which we normally don’t have. That’s been good. I know it’s been good especially on the defensive side of the ball.”