For some reason, I've had this bee in my bonnet (and what a beautiful bonnet it is - periwinkle/teal camouflage print) for some time now. With injuries seeming to plague our Texans since the intial pick of expansion draft (ugh), we've always seemed forced to play our backups out of necessity rather than strategically. For the past couple years, all our games have been so close (and seemingly) meaningful that we had very little opportunity to put our second-stringers in during a live game of consequence.
To me, subbing as early and often as possible, seems like a sound long-term strategy for 3 reasons:
1) Playing subs gets our elite play-makers off the field and hopefully out of harm's way, so they can live to fight more days and with less millage. (Provided they don't spend their time off the field doing stupid stunts and s&*t, this seems pretty obvious).
2) Seeing live-action seasons and keeps backups fresh, geared-up timing-wise, more engaged & focused during the games as well as back in practice. It has been my humble experience that, the more engaged and actively contributing your whole team is, the better. Of course, this investment could pay off in spades in the event any of your reserves becomes a starter by default later on.
3) By seeing real in-game action, those prospects we drafted with less polish but high-ceilings can progress much more rapidly (or worst case, give us valuable in-game performance information to help us value their skills, talent and development vs real competition in a real game situation).
All this stating of the obvious is supposed to frame the question: Under what circumstances should we actually play our reserves?
Yesterday, we had a 20 point lead and crappy field position with 15min. to go in our first game of the season. To me, although you risk losing momentum and a devestating comeback, do you make the same call as Kubes to hang with all your starters or do you rest your stars (especially those who have had injury concerns over the past couple years) and sprinkle some reserves into the game?
If 20 points up at-home in the opener isn't safe enough of a lead to sub for Schaub, Andre, OD & Foster,etc. what is? Only true-blue garbage time? Or is the upside of putting in subs simply never worth risking the W?
I am not saying Kubiak made the wrong decision. I think his decision under the circumstances was certainly justifiable, followed conventional wisdom and it did effectively secure the W. But in doing so, we did somewhat risk those guys and missed capitalizing on a chance to give meaningful reps to our bench players.
Please share your thoughts on Kube's decision, why (and go ahead and let us all know what your wearing, so we all can
fantasize visualize ;) ! (to be fair... I am wearing "business clothes" b/c I'm fixin to take care of some business!)
PS, we all have gotta start using "PS" and those ";)" things more in our BRB posts- they just never get old or too suggestive of the author's inner turmoil/questions or proclivities! (Damn, this post has gone south fast- OUT)