Some interesting things are intersecting in the Texans blogosphere...Matt over at DGDB&D has an interesting piece. It's specifically about an argument he's engaged in, but more generally, it's about how the Texans are viewed nationally.
At the same time, Sportsgamer.com just came out with the Madden 09 ratings shown in their graphic to the right. You can definitely get a sense how the guys at EA Sports feel about the Texans. I bring this up because the Texans are about to enter a watershed season.
Anyone that knows football knows the Texans took a giant leap forward last season. Lots of 2nd and 3rd string players, as well as new starters, established themselves. Guys like Kevin Walter and Fred Bennett put themselves on the map. All but the most hardened man-crushes have let go of the Mario-bashing and decided that Young and Bush are more hype than substance. So with all that, the Texans are poised to make their mark in the national spotlight.
If you read this blog, you're probably a Texans homer. You know that Mike Brisiel is going to steamroll Albert Haynesworth this year, and that Zac Diles is going to put Goldberg's spear on Maurice Jones-Drew. So obviously our view of Texans players is probably a little skewed.
That being said, it'll be up to you to set the world right and lead the Texans to conquer the national stage. Check out the ratings below and see what I mean.
They nailed Matt Schaub pretty well. He's had a good run so far as a starter, but he'll need a bigger body of work to vaunt him to the elite QB level. They must have not seen his Sage's 4-1 record as a starter or his 300+ passing yds in multiple games, or the aerial attack that became the Texans offense...no love for the NFL's best backup QB. Quinn Gray is still Quinn Gray.
Just an all around waning outlook on Texans RBs...Ahman Green (88->82) & Chris Brown (8?->79) both slipped. Darius Walker improved slightly; kinda funny that he's a 96 as a 3rd down back. Take these guys and run all over everybody.
Good to see Vonta getting recognized as a solid FB. He was conspicously missing in Madden 08. Funny that Jameel Cook and Jon Abbate are missing. However, I doubt the EA programmers dig down depth charts to find out who the FB3 is in camp.
AJ is a stud, enough said. Walter and Aoostrophe Davis both got the shaft after starting for most of the season. Walter improved into at least starting material (70 -> 80), but Davis stays more or less the same in the high 70's.
Owen Daniels gets some love as probably one of the Top 10 TE's in the game now. Bruener is still kicking ass as a blocker.
Duane Brown...this has to be an expression of their feelings about the Texans draft rather than an evaluation of his talent. Seriously? A starting LT that rates under 80? A 1st round pick that rates average?
Salaam didn't do any better at 78. Guess EA doesn't like the Texan LTs.
Chester Pitts has been a staple on this line in Madden and on the field. This oboe-playing lineman has been underrated everywhere.
They don't seem to think very much of our new starting center. Here's hoping this OL dominates this year.
Brisiel, Weary, Studdard and Frye are all battling for this spot. I'm guessing they just went with the incumbent from last year, and of course, downgraded them all.
Eric Winston is solid on the right side, but EA doesn't think he's very good. We predictably think Caveman's awesome.
Left Defensive End
It'd be nice if we could get consistent production from this spot, hopefully from a healthy Weaver. It sucks to see Cochran so underrated.
Right Defensive End
Mario is finally getting the love he deserves. I'm still curious what they have him weighing; the last 2 years they've had him at 260 lbs. instead of 290. 260 lbs is Terrell Suggs in a Texans uniform. 290 is the beast Mario Williams.
The first think that stood out to me is where the hell is Frank Okam? Then, the fact that TJ continues his slide down (8? -> 76). They seem to think the world of the Nigerian phenom Okoye. Glad to see Maddox on the roster.
Left Outside Linebacker
Knowing what we know from OTAs and then looking at the LOLBs on the roster, can we say breakout year for one of these players? There's definitly going to be a battle for LOLB in training camp. Diles, Bently, Adibi or even Thompson can emerge as a force on the strong side.
DeMeco is a Top 10, maybe Top 5, MLB. Who doesn't know this by now? After him, confusion. Ben Moffit? Seriously? I'm not really sure who's taking 2nd team snaps at MLB. I guess EA doesn't either. I really hope it's not Moffit.
Right Outside Linebacker
A suprising amout of love for Morlon Greenwood, though I think most Texans fans feel he's a solid OLB. He's just overpaid. Regardless, it's nice to see a strong LB corps rounded out with Greenwood. Chaun Thompson looks like he was just randomly plugged in. The really funny thing is I usually pick him up for LB depth in most Madden games.
Finally! Not since Aaron Glenn and Marcus Coleman were the starting corners have the Texans had two starting CBs with an 80+ rating. Dunta still isn't getting elite CB recognition, but Bennett's solid season was recognised though.
Will Demps solidifies the secondary. He's rated like he's Ryan Clark. Good comparison?
C.C. Brown gets absolutly no love from anyone but the coaches. He's a hard sell to some Texans fans, but EA rates him as akin to a washed up vet or a rookie.
So there you have it. If you go out and get Madden '09 this year, be sure to take the Texans to the Super Bowl.