I'd really love the opportunity to gush over your Houston Texans in a PGB. Truly, I would. It's infinitely better than having to make chicken salad out of chicken fecal matter. The Texans, however, apparently do not see fit to give their fans something to cheer about. Instead, we're treated to another week of coach-speak about "going to work," "finding ways to be effective," "playing clean," and the like. At this point, that garbage is simply nauseating muzak in the proverbial Texan fan's elevator. We've heard it too many times for it to be anything but background noise.
Be honest with us, Smithiak. Your charges have won thirty percent (30%) of their games this season. That means they're actually running behind the franchise's abysmal lifetime winning pace. That's like losing a footrace to a blind man with no legs. Your team looks to be a virtual lock to go winless on the road. The offense is capable of putting together very solid efforts that will inevitably collapse when it matters most, primarily due to quarterbacks who have an innate ability to give the opposition the ball at the absolute worst possible time. Thanks to a breathtaking combination of mind-boggling coaching decisions and a secondary that should be accompanied by a Surgeon General's Warning, the defense is a complete and utter joke. If not for Super Mario and DeMeco, the Houston defense wouldn't be good enough to stop a Division III offense. Your best defensive back and team leader is coming off a horrific injury and, while gamely trying to shake the rust off, is still another offseason away from making a tangible difference in the weakest area of your team.
In short, this is a bad football team. We know it. You know it. Let's stop the charade.
That's not to say that all is lost; there's most assuredly a healthy amount of talent on this team in addition to Mario, DeMeco, and Dunta. Andre Johnson is the best wide receiver in football. Owen Daniels is one of the best tight ends in football. Kevin Walter is a fine WR2. Steve Slaton is the kind of explosive threat at RB this team has never had. Jacoby Jones is a weapon in the return game (though hanging onto the ball is still a concern). The offensive line shows flashes of dominance and has improved throughout the season. And Jebus help him, Matt Schaub could be the answer at QB if he (1) is able to stay on the field for more than three consecutive weeks at a time and (2) realizes that the terms of his contract do not require one to two turnovers per game. The cupboard is not bare. There's plenty of work to be done and plenty of talent to be upgraded, but there's enough here to form a foundation from which success can be built.
We know Rome wasn't built in a day, and you did inherit a 2-14 mess. We know that. Yet the same old platitudes do nothing for us. They're grating. They don't show anywhere near the frustration that we're feeling. The frustration you should be feeling. Shake things up, for crying out loud. You know who's not performing. If you don't, go ahead and search BRB, DGDB&D, Houston Diehards, Stephanie Stradley, and/or any other Texans message board or fan site for the following phrases:
You could add Morlon Greenwood to that list, but an injury has made him a non-issue for now. I'd love nothing more than to add any Houston safety to the list as well, but I think the Wilson-Ferguson tandem may be the best option in a bad lot right now.
Play Frank Okam. Play Antwaun Molden. Play Tim Bulman. Play Earl Cochran. Play Fred Bennett (who looked like arse yesterday, but remains a youngster with promise). Keep Xavier Adibi out there, even if Greenwood gets healthy. None of those guys may prove to be the answer at their respective positions. Maybe one of them will, though. Maybe two. Maybe all of them. Try 'em and see. You are a 3-7 football team. Find out which areas need to be targeted with the greatest intensity in the draft (and to a lesser extent, free agency). You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Do it.
Limited chestnuts from the latest loss to Peyton Manning & Co.:
1. See what happens when Steve Slaton gets the ball? As good as he was (and he was awesome), kudos to the OL for run-blocking at the highest level we've seen all year. They were dynamite.
2. Special props to Ahman Green. That second TD was due to a tremendous second effort. I fully expected him to tear an ACL celebrating.
3. If Duane Brown can't figure out how to stop speed rushers off the end, we are in deep trouble. Alex Gibbs, you're our only hope.
4. I get that the plan was to keep Peyton Manning off the field by running the ball. That's a good plan. But something's still wrong when Owen Daniels only has one catch and Andre Johnson only has five (5); I don't think the latter even got a pass thrown his way in the second or third quarters. You have to figure out a way to get the ball into the hands of your playmakers.
5. As echoed by Matt here, there wasn't a single Texans fan whose surname is not "Rosenfels" who did not call that game-ending interception well before it happened. I couldn't even muster any anger about it. Just bleak resignation. Crippler of my soul, thy name is Sage.
6. Super Mario didn't register a sack, but he was thisfreakingclose to sacking Peyton on at least a half-dozen plays that I saw. Yes, Peyton Manning is that good, though you have to give Richard Smith credit for totally disregarding a blatant mismatch.
7. It's 10:17 p.m., and Richard Smith is still gainfully employed as the defensive coordinator of your Houston Texans. What he did in a previous life to deserve this kind of invincibility, I'll never know.
8. The secondary still drains me of my will to live. Nothing new there.
9. What is new, however, is The X-Factor. I've made no bones about the man-crush I have on Adibi; I feel like a proud father right now. Or I would. If I had kids, and one of them was Xavier Adibi. I'm getting light-headed.
10. Another Texans loss, another case of questionable timeout management by the coaching staff. Really would've been nice to have one or two extra timeouts on that last drive, huh? Especially when one of them was burned due to having thirteen (13!) players on the field and therefore avoidable under every circumstance? Oh, Richard Smith...you are evil. What dark force injected you into this earthly plane?
11. Fake Game Balls: Offense--Steve Slaton; Defense--Xavier Adibi; Special Teams--Kris Brown.
Your Houston Texans travel to the Dawg Pound on Sunday. Yup, it's a road game. Yup, we're dead in the water.