Texans fans, Wade Phillips' arrival at Reliant Stadium has caused a whole lot of player shuffling on the defensive side of the ball. Mario Williams is playing weak outside linebacker, J.J. Watt is taking his place at defensive end, and Amobi Okoye has been sent to the playpen for a time out. With all this movement, questions abound, especially at the strong outside linebacker spot. Who is the better fit there, third year player Connor Barwin or Arizona rookie Brooks Reed?
A discussion of this importance requires a sharp mind and a sharper dresser, someone whose opinion carries some serious gravitas, but most importantly, someone who I can find on short notice, someone like...
Me, TexanUprooted! Jump with us to see the argument unfold!
UT: Texan, thank you for coming on such short notice.
TU: Not a problem, just make sure my appearance fee check doesn't bounce this time.
UT: I'll get on Tim about that. Who do you think should start at the WOLB spot for the Texans?
TU: Clay Matthews.
UT: On the Texans' roster, I mean.
TU: Yeesh, I dunno, you sure we can't get Clay Matthews?
UT: Yep. Okay, how about this, we'll both say it on three?
TU: Awesome! On three.
UT: Ready? One...two...three. Connor Barwin.
TU: Brooks Reed.
UT: Brooks Reed? You're kidding, right?
TU: I could ask you the same thing.
TU: He's best suited to play OLB in a 3-4 defense.
UT: So is Barwin. Try again.
TU: Unlike Barwin, he can hear perfectly. How many offsides penalties do you think Barwin will be good for in regular playing time, if he can't hear the snap count? How many late starts will he get if he can't see the ball being snapped?
UT: He's done pretty well so far.
TU: Yeah, in limited playing time. What do you think will happen if he gets regular snaps? Besides, you know who else has hearing loss?
UT: Who? Who? Tell me!
TU: Flozell Adams. Do you really want another Flozell on your team?
UT: Nooooooooooooooooo!! Although I'm a bit relieved, I thought you were about to say Satan or something.
TU: He plays for the Steelers. Satan would be an improvement.
UT: True. But at least Barwin's been on the team for the last two years. He's played on the professional level, Reed hasn't.
TU: He's been a third down defensive end, not exactly a lot of playing time.
UT: No. But he's gotten 4.5 sacks in one year and one game in that role, against NFL-caliber talent. That's not to mention in that role he is a pass rushing specialist. His sole job is to chase down the quarterback like he stole something and then stomp him into a fine paste. Reed played all four years and got 17 sacks, for an average of 4 1/4 sacks a year. And that's from playing against such fierce competition as Washington State and the mighty UCLA Bruins. I'm waiting to be impressed.
TU: Maybe. But most of those sacks came in his sophomore (8.5) and senior (6.5) seasons. And he had a high ankle sprain in his junior season. That reminds me, did they ever manage to successfully reattach Barwin's foot? Last I saw, it was flopping around the field like a fish eluding the training staff.
UT: Yeah, the doctors say his ankle will be 100% for opening day, whenever that is. Is that why you're so geeked on Reed? He's new?
TU: Let me put it to you this way. Imagine it's Christmas Day.
UT: Oooooh, I love Christmas; the smell of cookies in the oven, seeing Dad passed out underneath the tree holding a bottle of Mad Dog, sigh...memories.
TU: Okay, now you're opening presents and you find what you've wanted for years wrapped in a big battle red bow and signed "From Santa Durga," under the tree.
UT: Next to Dad?
TU: Next to Dad. It's a shiny new pass-rushing linebacker.
UT: I do like shiny.
TU: Who doesn't? It's shiny, fresh out of the box, and it still has that new linebacker smell, not like the stink of failure from your old Action Frank doll.
UT: Yeah, I don't know how Action Frank wound up in the garbage disposal.
TU: But then you see your old pass-rushing linebacker from last Christmas.
TU: It's not as shiny, and it's got some damage.
UT: Why...why did Dad have to get drunk and mow the lawn?! Whyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!
TU: But it's still perfectly good. Which one do you want?
UT: The shiny one! Can I have the shiny one?! Oh, please, please, please, please, please?!
TU: But what about the old one?
UT: I'll throw it aw--waaaaaaaaaaaait a minute...this is nothing like last Christmas at all!
TU: Did I also mention that Barwin only has two years of experience as a defensive player?
UT: So? In the one year he played DE at Cincinnati, he was a beast, made All-America and All-Big East honors, oh, and 10 sacks. I already mentioned his one full year in the pros. The most Reed ever got at Arizona was 8.5, and that was as a sophomore. Let's be honest here, TU; it's the hair, isn't it? It reminds you of Clay Matthews.
TU: He looks like a bad-ass viking warrior. How can you go wrong with that?
UT: Yeah, we play against the Titans twice a year. You know those dirty players will think nothing of grabbing him by the hair to pull him down. I mean, can you imagine the slapfights that those Titans linemen will start if that happens?
TU: Then we'll just have to see if Reed can make those linemen cry like little girls, or Cortland Innegan, if they do. Besides, Barwin always looks like he just woke up from a nap!
UT: That reminds me, I hear Okoye crying in his playpen, sounds like he needs changing.
TU: You should probably go check on that.
UT: Uh-uh, it's your turn this time.
UT: Remember, he likes extra talc!