Not that you would know it from watching ESPN for any stretch of time, but your Houston Texans were on the same field as the New York Jets last night at Reliant Stadium for a real life football contest! Okay, sure, it was a preseason game which is, compared to real football, like comparing Coors Light to real beer, but that's not the point. It was football! In Houston! And it gave us a chance to see if the positive news coming out of training camp would hold up in a "game-time" situation.
I'll be honest and tell you I didn't entirely know what to expect from the boys in steel blue last night, but I certainly did not expect to see what played out last night.
If you ever cared about truth, justice, or the American Way, you'll click the jump.
I don't think I've ever seen the Texans play defense like they did last night. Again, it's preseason so reading a whole lot into anything is asking for trouble. Still, based on what I saw last night, Wade's impact is already being felt. Chew on this little nugget of information. In the entire preseason last year, the Texans had a total of 8 sacks, 19 passes defensed (aside: Am I the only one who thinks this word sounds weird?) and 1 forced fumble and recovery. In the course of the game last night, the Texans defense racked up 7 sacks (87.5% of last season's stats), 6 passes defensed (31% of last season's stats), and a forced fumble and recovery (100%).
That's not to say the defense is where it should be yet. Show of internet hands here, does it concern anyone else that the Texans are STILL having trouble wrapping up their tackles? That was one of my biggest gripes with the defense last season, and based off of one preseason game (again, it's still early), it looks like they haven't figured out one of the basic fundamentals of playing defense. Do they just not teach tackling anymore? Will Wade Phillips have to resort to Skinnerian radical behaviorist psychology involving electroshock therapy to get them to wrap up on their tackles?
Since we're talking about the defense, did aliens kidnap Xavier Adibi and infuse him with talent during the offseason? Of the 7 sacks registered last night, two of them were by Adibi. He played like a beast which was surprising because Adibi was essentially a non-entity during training camp. Thank you, aliens, wherever you are.
Earl Mitchell got a lot of snaps at nose tackle last night, and looked really good doing so, even getting a sack of Mark Sanchez who was scrambling to escape the loving embrace of J.J. "Killa" Watt. Shaun Cody was probably consoling himself with a sandwich.
Mario Williams is going to need a lot of work if he's going to be the next DeMarcus Ware. He looked confused out there last night, and he kept getting frozen at the line of scrimmage. On the bright side, they now have tape of Mario at WOLB to review and fix the problems. And if anybody can fix them, it's Wade Phillips.
J.J. Watt is the real deal. And while I know better than to take anything Jon Gruden says seriously (really, if he said the weather would be clear and sunny all day, I'd grab my umbrella and slicker), I can't help but hope he's right when he compares Watt favorably to Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long.
Punter battle tally board:
After reports surfaced that Devard Darling would definitely play in the Monday night game, did anybody see him? At all? Did Xavier Adibi's alien friends kidnap him or something?
Matt Schaub looked really rusty last night, but it's nothing to be concerned about yet, he'll shake off the rust soon enough. In the meantime, Kevin Walter, Owen Daniels, if y'all keep trying to make circus catches and failing like that, we'll sell you both to the Ringling Brothers before either of you can say "no, please, I'm scared of clowns!"
I know I've left out a lot of stuff about last night's game, so that's where y'all come in. Tell us what you think of last night's performance by our favorite football team. What concerns do you have? Does anybody need an explanation about Skinnerian radical behaviorism? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!