Before I get to this week's unsung hero, I have to address a few things.
First, Atlanta Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson gets an honorable mention as unsung hero for his holding penalty, which nullified teammate Mike Peterson's interception return for a touchdown. If Dunta does not commit the penalty, we are talking about a considerably different game. Dunta did his part to help the Texans out and make good on that franchise money he took in 2009.
Secondly, attaboy T.J. Yates. That kid did a good job in yesterday's game. He looked like a pro and didn't seemed phased by anything. Yates made some mistakes and took some big hits but shook it all off. I think we are in decent hands with him moving forward.
Now, let's move onto the unsung hero. Who could be such a man?
I think that man is going to be general manager Rick Smith. I think, perhaps more so than anyone else, his job has gone severely unnoticed, but the fruits of his labor have been on display heavily this season. Would you like examples?
How about we start with the obvious example? No, I am not talking about the two star free agents or the incredibly impressive rookie class. I am talking about the injuries that have decimated the roster. This is a Texans blog, so I do not have to go down the entire list of the current 11 Texans on injured reserve or add in the missed time by a bevy of other players.
Think about that for a second. Each NFL team starts out with 53 men on the roster. Since the season began, eight Texans have been IR'd - this does not include Kasey Studdard and Shelley Smith, who both likely would have made the roster. That is a significant part of the roster. Yet, their back-ups have filled in, the roster continues to be filled out with practice squaders and street free agents, and the team keeps winning.
You just witnessed a fifth round rookie quarterback come out and step into the offense pretty seamlessly. Yates put up an 86.8 quarterback rating on a team fighting for a playoff berth. That does not happen without some savvy drafting on the part of Mr. Smith to identify a player who fit this offense and franchise. Season over? Not so fast.
This season, we have talked about the free agents, the draft picks, and the undrafted free agents who continue to impress, but not the man who played a significant role in bringing them all together. It is evident that this is a complete team. A tough team who continues to grind out wins and is not letting injuries slow them down.
This roster is a testament to Rick Smith. He deserves some applause for the job he has done. Here's to the GM - Week 13's unsung hero.
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