The Captain's Log, Game Ten: "Occam's Razor"

"Hahahahaha! Can you hear them booing their own QB?!!!" - photo credit - Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Texans extend their losing streak to a franchise record of EIGHT, and Capt Ron chronicles the latest game against the 'wishy washy' booing fans at Reliant Oakland Raiders.

Captainsloggame10b_zps99408aaf_medium

Captain's Log Supplemental

We can theorize all day about why Gary Kubiak put Matt Schaub in during the third quarter. Here is the justification he provided in his press conference after the game:

"What was happening was, we had to make a lot of changes from a protection standpoint to handle some of the things they were doing," Kubiak said. "Trying to create some tempo and do that and it made it very tough on Case, in my opinion, being a young player. I knew that Matt could get done some of the things that I wanted to get done, real fast, and to give us a chance to win the football game. So that’s why I did it." [1]

He's the Coach and it is his call, but it obviously was:

1. Not popular with the fans, hence the backlash of booing in the stadium, and endless negative feedback in blogs, news articles, and sports radio shows.

2. Not popular with the players, as the body language and lack of energy seemed to indicate.

3. Not effective. The Texans moved slowly down the field by throwing under coverage, and then stalled out in the Red Zone and settled for two Field Goals on three drives.

Oc·cam's razor

noun \ˈä-kəmz-\

Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate
: a scientific and philosophic rule that entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily which is interpreted as requiring that the simplest of competing theories be preferred to the more complex or that explanations of unknown phenomena be sought first in terms of known quantities - [2]

The short version: The simplest of several hypotheses is always the best in accounting for unexplained facts.

In this case, Kubiak put Matt Schaub in the game simply because he wanted to do it.

Someday we might find out if there was more involving this decision, and other events, surrounding Matt Schaub. At this point, there is a fog of conspiracy around unreported injuries that have affected his ability to play QB. It would certainly make an interesting read if they ever disclose the truth that has taken place in the last couple of years around this player, and how it has impacted this team.

Comparing the two Quarterbacks in this game:

Case Keenum - 13/24 for 170 yards, 1 Touchdown, and 1 Interception.

Matt Schaub - 12/25 for 155 yards, and three Red Zone stalls.

This marks the first time in franchise history the Texans have had two players pass for over 150 yards.

A day later, Kubiak offered more to reporters who wanted to better understand the decision to put Matt in:

(on if he’s worried that he might have messed with QB Case Keenum's confidence by pulling him out of the game yesterday in the third quarter)

"No. Actually, I think I was really thinking of him to be honest with you. I’ve been in this league a long time and dealt with a lot of quarterbacks. I’m trying to develop one right now. Right or wrong, I made that decision because of the situation I thought I was fixing to put a young player in from my standpoint of what I was doing coaching wise. I don’t have time to explain that to y’all. That’s why I do what I did. He knows that. I talked to him about that."

(on if he would make the same decision from yesterday and put QB Matt Schaub into the game)

"Yeah, I’d do it again because of why I did it. Was it the right (decision)? Yeah, because I think at that time, that’s what I wanted to do as a coach. I knew what I was fixing to do calling the game and I didn’t want to put a young guy in a bad situation, who’s a young player for me. So I made that decision to go with Matt. So yes, I’d do it again."

(on how he feels about QB Case Keenum running the two-minute offense)

"Like I’ve said, you guys don’t understand and I’m trying to explain to you—let me try one more time. I’m fine with Case in a two-minute situation. What I was doing, calling the game and some of the decisions, I made to go with to try and help the quarterback out and the offensive line out. It was fixing to be very difficult. It was fixing to be very fast for a young guy who has never been through it. That’s why I did what I did." [1]

I guess I can accept that Kubiak felt Matt would be better prepared for the flurry of play calls he was about to install to try and help the offense provide protection. He made a judgment call on which player would respond better to the changes. It does seem reasonable that Case might not have had the experience for some of the plays if they were not in the game preparation from earlier in the week, or from previous games. That is unfortunate.  It would have been far better to have options on hand that were based on research to protect against the Raiders' pass rush, an to have Keenum ready for those adjustments.

Thankfully, Kubiak has announced Case Keenum will start this week against the Jaguars. It doesn't assure the team of a win, but it is at least fun to watch. With only six games remaining, it is time to fully evaluate the players for 2014.

Go Texans!

Around the AFC South...

The Colts (7-3) Indy continues to survive close games week after week, and now they are projected as the number two seed in the AFC. They head to Arizona next.

The Titans (4-6) The Titans actually led the Colts at halftime 17-6, but then surrendered 17 points in the third quarter and the "Curse of Neckbeard" struck again as Indy edged them for the win 30-27. The Titans head to Oakland next.

The Jaguars (1-9) The Jags hosted the Arizona Cardinals and lost their ninth game of the season. They now travel to Houston, where the battle for a superior 2014 draft pick will unfold. CBS is being forced to air the game by contract, although a reasonable defense of "duress" might hold up if they violated the terms.

SUMMARY OF KEY STATS:

TEXANS RAIDERS
First Downs 14 12
Net Rushing Yards 90 165
Net Passing Yards 304 176
Total Net Yards 394 341
Passing ATT-COMP-INT 25 - 49 -1 18 - 32 - 0
Third Down Efficiency 2/16 (12%) 5/18 (27%)
Touchdowns 2 4
Field Goals (made/attempted) 3 / 3 0 / 1
Fumbles / Lost 3 / 1 1 / 0
Turnovers (lost) 2 0
Penalties (QTY / Yards) 9 / 50 8 / 77
Sacks (defense) 2 2
Interceptions (defense) 0 1
Fumbles Recovered (defense) 0 1
Time of Possession 28:29 31:31
Red Zone Efficiency 0/3 (0%) 3/3 (100%)
Goal To Go Efficiency 0/1 (0%) 1/1 (100%)
Points From Turnovers 0 14
Points vs Texans Defense (excluding turnovers)
14
FINAL SCORE 23 28


Random Comic

Lifebreakcoach-thefarside_zps12eb868c_medium

Sick Bay

"I'm a Medical Doctor, not a Psychiatrist."


INJURY UPDATES THIS WEEK

CB Kareem Jackson - Inactive for the Raiders game, still day to day with a "bruised sternum"

LB Joe Mays - Inactive for the Raiders game due to "knee and abdomen" - returned to practice 11/20

DE JJ Watt - Day to day with a "sore back" - missed practice 11/20

100px-bravo_flag 100px-zulu_flag

Bravo Zulu - J.J. Watt

(Bravo Zulu is a naval signal, conveyed by flag hoist or vocal, meaning "Well Done")

20131117_lbm_at5_169

Every week, every game, every snap, J.J. Watt is bringing his best. For all the talk about young inexperienced players out there who are just needing to be coached up, or need more time to develop, the obvious exception is how J.J. has been one of the best to ever play the game immediately upon arrival. Last year he was the Defensive Player of the Year as he broke records in only his second NFL season. This year, he is the lone bright spot left on the defensive side of the ball for the Texans.

Sunday he racked up two sacks, the only sacks recorded that day by the Bulls on Parade, and he had five tackles. This makes four consecutive games with a sack, the second longest streak of his career.

As he looks over at Andre Johnson, who left the game a minute before regulation expired after exchanging heated words with Matt Schaub, you have to wonder what is going through J.J.'s mind. The last year of Watt's contract is coming up in 2014, so this next off-season period is the usual time for teams to try and extend a new contract for a star player to avoid them hitting Free Agency.  Watt must certainly be considering the pain and suffering that 'Dre has endured through his entire career as an All-Star on a team that always found a way to fall short of expectations.

Let's hope J.J. doesn't see his future as a mirror of Andre's, with so many years of potential just wasted on an organization that can't find the right formula. Hopefully the Texans find a way to convince him to a long term deal, and they get this team competing for a championship.

Honorable Mention:

Andre Johnson - Finished with 10 receptions for 116 yards, marking the 48th 100-yard receiving game of his career (ranks sixth all-time) and the 19th time he has caught 10-plus passes for more than 100 yards in the same game, the most in NFL history. [1]

TE Garrett Graham - Caught seven passes for a career-high 136 yards and one touchdown, bettering his previous best of 82 yards vs. Jacksonville on Nov. 18, 2012. It was the most receiving yards ever by a Texans tight end in franchise history and the seventh 100-yard game ever by a Texans tight end. It was also Graham’s first career 100-yard game. [1]

Keshawn Martin - Had a franchise-record 87-yard punt return for his first career punt return for a touchdown, the first touchdown return by a Texan since Jacoby Jones vs. Indianapolis on Sept. 11, 201,  and the fifth punt return touchdown in team history. Martin had 187 yards in returns (125 punt return/62 kick return), a season-best. He also caught two passes for 32 yards. [1]

Movie Quote (name it):

"We find it's always better to fire people on a Friday. Studies have statistically shown that there's less chance of an incident if you do it at the end of the week."

Stories From The Brig

Brice McCain - There were a lot if mistakes made in this game by several players, but McCain found a way to direct the spotlight upon himself by allowing two Touchdowns, as well as a critical third down conversion. He was also penalized for holding on a punt return, which backed up the offense. This guy has fallen very far from being one of the best nickel corners in the NFL a couple of years ago.

Offensive Line - False starts were a plague in this game and killed offensive drives. Brandon Brooks had two in the second half, Derek Newton was guilty once, and even All-Pro Center Chris Meyers got flagged for a false start. HOW does the Center get a false start? This is inexcusable at your home field. Also, the pass protection was garbage.....again.

Second Half Performances - The Texans are consistently struggling after halftime, and Kubiak responded to questions about this on Monday 11/18:

"We’ve got team problems in the third quarter, big time. Yesterday, in the third quarter, we don’t move the ball a lick and defensively, give up some big plays in the pass game and the run game. I think it’s a team thing right now, coming out of the locker room in the third quarter and playing better football. We’ve had some leads. Two weeks ago, they had a lead and it happened against Seattle. Some of those things, I think it’s a team issue. I don’t think it’s a personal issue with one guy."

(on if the team’s inability to adapt and perform in the second half is an issue with coaching)

"It always starts with us. It’s our job to get them playing better. It’s our fault. We’ve got to get them to do a better job."

Well, that pretty much says it all.

Ship's Galley

Let's go below decks and see what's cooking...

Stuffed Potato Skins

These are great for hosting games at your place, and they travel well to eat at tailgating events.

Potato-skins_zps7fc7fe9d_medium

Ingredients:

  • 8 (3-inch-long) russet potatoes (about 2 1/4 pounds), scrubbed and thoroughly dried
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick), melted
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 5 to 6 slices cooked, crumbled bacon
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
  2. Pierce each potato several times with a fork or sharp knife. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake until the skins are crisp and a knife easily pierces the potatoes, about 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Set the oven to broil.
  3. Slice each potato in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh, leaving about 1/4 inch intact; reserve the flesh for another use. Brush the insides of the potatoes with the melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Flip the potatoes over, brush the skin sides with butter, and season with salt and pepper. Evenly space the potato halves skin-side up on a baking sheet and broil until the butter foams and the skins start to crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes (keep a close watch so they don’t burn). Flip the potato halves over and broil until the top edges just start to brown, about 2 to 3 minutes more.
  4. Evenly fill each skin with cheese and crumbled bacon. Place in the broiler and broil until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the broiler and top each with 1 teaspoon of the sour cream and a sprinkling of the chives. Serve immediately. [3]

Random Comic II

Goat-and-clouds_zpsaa792971_medium

Movie Quote II (a/k/a the hint):

"Ah! Yeah. It's just we're putting new cover sheets on all the TPS reports before they go out now. So if you could go ahead and try to remember to do that from now on, that'd be great. All right!"

On The Horizon...

The Texans host the Jacksonville Jaguars at Reliant Stadium on Sunday, November 24th at 12PM (CST).

Last week's Captain's Log: Game 9 vs Cardinals

[1] houstontexans.com

[2] merriam-webster.com

[3] chow.com

Jaguars vs Texans coverage

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