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Houston Texans a good team still far from being great

Gary Kubiak stood at the podium at Gillette Stadium talking like a coach who believes the Houston Texans remain on the precipice of something special.

"We're right there as a team," Kubiak said. "We were in a good football game, and I think we're going to go back and be really disappointed in our opportunities to make some plays."

It was an optimistic outlook following an unsightly 41-28 divisional-round loss to the New England Patriots that never really felt that close. The Texans played the part of the overmatched tomato can doing just enough to stave off an embarrassing knockout.

It wasn't supposed to be this way, not when the Texans were 11-1 and viewed as the most balanced team in the NFL. They lost four of six after that, book-ended by ugly losses to the Patriots. The Texans were a good team. Making the leap to great proved elusive.

There will be plenty of questions in the coming days and months about whether or not Matt Schaub is the reason for that. The quarterback ended his day with 343 yards and two touchdowns, though most of his damage came when the Texans were in hopeless catch-up mode.

Schaub threw a terrible interception to Rob Ninkovich and appeared frazzled in dropping the football during one doomed scramble. Schaub's reputation unquestionably took a hit the past six weeks, but Kubiak told reporters he still has a "ton of confidence" in his signal-caller.

"I think he's one of the top quarterbacks in football, and he's had his team in great position the last two years," Kubiak said. "He was a big part of last year, and you don't get over that hump unless you're willing to keep going back there and keep getting yourself in that position. ... I believe in our quarterback wholeheartedly."

At 31, Schaub likely already has hit his ceiling. The Texans must decide if that's good enough. Beyond that, they have to take a hard look at their roster and figure out how to make good great. That won't be easy.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.

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