As I start, I want to thank my fellow Battle Red Blog staffmates, the readers, the commenters, and, most importantly, the Houston Texans for a heck of a ride. The 2011 season was a good one and made better by all those aforementioned people. People should be proud of the resiliency shown by the team, happy at the beginning of a real identity being formed, and excited for the very bright future ahead of us. Next season isn't going to just be awesome but awe-quite-a-bit.
Next season...that's what any Houston Texans fan is saying about now as the offseason begins - albeit a few weeks later than what we're used to.
Next season will bring higher expectations for the defending AFC South champions after a few critical offseason moves are made. However, next season will not bring about any more Unsung Heroes, as that will evolve into a new feature.
If 2012 is about bigger and better, then one unsung hero won't cut it. In its place, and what you are getting a peek at now, is the G.O.A.T.s for the week. What does that stand for? Get Off A Texan and Get On A Texan. Every week there are players who deserve more criticism/praise than they are getting, and players who are getting criticism/praise that is unfounded.
Now jump for the first two G.O.A.T.s ever.
It is the single most perplexing, infuriating, selfish play I have ever seen on any level. Realizing Jones is a professional making millions is the icing on a terrible cake, and we haven't even talked about his subsequent bobble on another return or the -6 yard return on a third. Jones is a soon-to-be 28-year-old heading into his sixth season, so we know what we have: A guy with NFL speed who has inconsistent hands and tries way too hard to do too much, so he often struggles. Great players make it look easy, and nothing looks easy with Jacoby Jones - even fielding a punt.
For this reason, with added fuel from that play, he's got to be cut. We can find a more talented and/or promising player, so there is no reason that Jacoby Jones should be on the 53-man roster for the 2012 season. That's a bandwagon I hope many others get on.
Get off....of quarterback T.J. Yates' back. The fifth-round rookie struggled against one of the NFL's most venerable defenses, but what do you expect? It's Baltimore and they have a long history of doing that to quarterbacks from all walks of life.
Am I going to fault him for targeting wide receiver Andre Johnson so much? After there have been many complaints in years past that Johnson doesn't get enough targets? Who else was he going to target? Jacoby Jones can't run routes well enough to get separation, Kevin Walter was being covered pretty well, and Owen Daniels had a broken friggin' hand.
Yates had his highs and lows. The rookie helped lead the Texans to a division title and a playoff victory - things other franchises would kill for. He even played at a level equal to or better than a lot of other starting quarterbacks. That's not bad for a guy who didn't get invited to the NFL Combine or get dressed for most of the season.
Yates is solidly the back-up heading into the 2012 season and will play a big role in Houston's future - be it as the back-up, Matt Schaub's replacement if Schaub isn't extended past the 2012 season, or as an asset traded for draft picks should another team want him, assuming he continues to show growth in preseason games a la a Kevin Kolb, Matt Flynn, or Schaub himself. Recognize what Yates did, recognize the situation he was in, and get off the rookie's back.
That's what I have, but what about you, faithful BRB reader...who are your G.O.A.T.s?