Normally at this point of a post (I refer to it as "the beginning"... it's a working title), I tend to put some snappy entry that most likely has no reference to football, but instead is some seemingly irrelevant snapshot of my life that I'll somehow tie to the game.
Today, however, I'm going to introduce you, the reader, to something my wife likes to refer to as "every f*#%ing day of my life." In other words, I'm going to ramble. Perhaps pointlessly, perhaps not. We'll see.
Why? Well, I'd like to say it's because I have some interesting insight into the performance of T.J. Yates or a slick analysis of the upcoming game against the Bengals that I'm going to deliver in a humorous manner, but the truth is I've got nothing better.
There may or may not be something coherent in the upcoming words -- I mean, there may or may not be an actual tooth in Chris Johnson's mouth -- but the point is that as of right now, you and I have about the same idea as to where this is going.
And isn't that really what matters?
No. The answer is "no".
Now, when thinking about the Texans these days, I find that I'm experiencing a significant amount of mixed feelings. On one hand, I'm thrilled with their amazing success, but on the other, they've experienced a string of bad luck not seen since the 2010 Texans, which has likely doomed fans to a feeling of impending anti-climatism (don't you judge me on my word choosiness!). It's like watching "Shutter Island," only if someone told you that Teddy Daniels is Andrew Laeddis (the book was way better, by the way).
Ok, perhaps the 2010 Texans weren't really plagued with bad luck as much as they were with total suck. Maybe the bad luck was the fact that they didn't get totally blown out in every game, thus giving us, the fans, a sense of false hope week after week before ultimately stabbing us through the metaphorical heart with a spear tipped with poisonous tears harvested from Mario Williams that were shed while attending Frank Bush's defensive meetings.
In any sense, one has to wonder what the hell we, the fans, have done to earn such a string of bad luck. It's like the reverse of "My Name is Earl," where we've not really done anything wrong (collectively, that is... I'm sure that individually, we've done plenty wrong) and are being punished for it. But that really doesn't make any sense, because by that rationale, Steelers fans would be the equivalent of Mother Teresa's puppy, and I think we all know that's not true.
Still, even with the string of injuries (ow), one has to be impressed with the team's ability to continue their unprecedented high level of play. It has to make you wonder what prompted such an amazing turnaround not in the team's physical ability (they've always had the talent), but rather in the team's mindset. The leadership hasn't changed, and the primary players haven't changed that much. No, the only major change was in defensive coaching.
Ultimately, I think the addition of Wade Phillips has provided much more than improved defensive play. It's had a trickle-down effect to the entire coaching staff, not unlike the effect Johnathan Joseph has had on the secondary. It essentially allowed Kubiak to fall back into his comfort zone and focus on developing quarterbacks, supporting the offense, convincing the players that there may in fact be a Santa Clause, and not coaching the defense (disclaimer: I don't know if Kubiak was actively involved in coaching the defense in years past or if he just left it to his defensive coordinator, but either scenario supports the notion that he can't coach defense).
The truth of the matter is that the horrible injury luck is really just chance (though it's entirely possible that we may have to shoot Brett Hartmann), but it's entirely possible that the hiring of Wade Phillps was a critical factor in allowing the team to have a prepared backup quarterback or two.
When the playoffs come around, however, at some point, the Texans are going to have to rely on T.J. Yates to make plays, and this will be against difficult and competent playoff defenses (unless they're facing the Patriots), and it's tough to imagine that he won't struggle.
That's not a knock on Yates, but rather a realistic view of the situation. Stranger things have happened, yes, but more often than not, they don't.
So I guess that, ultimately, is the purpose of this ramble. This team has withstood an unbelievable amount of adversity and continues to succeed. Even if the probability of reaching the ultimate goal has taken a Johnathan Joseph hit, we can still be proud of their success and maintain a modicum of hope. The team still has one of the league's best defenses and probably the best running game, so perhaps it's more than a modicum. A tinge, perhaps.
More than anything, though, my plan is to enjoy the journey, hope for the best, and rejoice that I'm not in Tennessee.