Battle Red Newswire: The Madness is Over

Long lost brothers, right? - Bob Levey

OT Ryan Harris re-signed with the Houston Texans on Monday, but the news was overshadowed by one of the best NCAA Tournament finals in recent memory. On an unrelated note, new Buffalo Bills QB Kevin Kolb is setting himself up for a major disappointment.

You know you want to watch it again.

I know what many of you are thinking: "One Shining Moment" is totally lame; it's for kids; it's for girls. However, I also know that some of you want to watch it again. Don't be ashamed to enjoy the things in life that give you goosebumps, or admit you love several songs by Mariah Carey. We're in a safe place.

Anyone who is a big enough football fan to read this site during the offseason is most likely a sports fan in general. If you're not, I suggest you diversify your portfolio to account for the NCAA Tournament. Last night's title game between Michigan and Louisville may not have been the greatest championship game I've ever seen - it's tough to beat memories of Scotty Thurman, Chris Webber, Mario Chalmers and Gordon Hayward - but it was close and featured absolutely the most amazing first half I can remember.

Yes, I wanted Michigan to win.

Yes, I will always contend that the no-call on the goaltend by Dieng in the game's early minutes and the horrible foul call on Trey Burke's epic block create a different ending than the one we could have witnessed (Editor's Note: That was one of the worst calls I have ever seen in a basketball game).

Yes, I wanted more than anything to see Chris Webber come down from his ivory tower of a luxury box and embrace the other four members of the Fab Five who were sitting together among the commoners.

Yes, I also plan to buy a Spike Albrecht jersey this week, but it didn't pain me to see that Louisville squad cut down the nets (Editor's Note: a man in Arkansas is currently cursing at his computer screen). This was a rare year in which while rooting hard for an arbitrary team, I would have been happy with either outcome.

Both teams have that unmistakably college feel to their play, and their visible love for one another as teammates, and as brothers, shines through. It's the reason I love college sports. It kind of reminds me of the Letterman Jacket Texans. More specifically, it reminds me of how stupid it was for me to actually think the letterman jackets were a cool idea. I still will miss the dynamic Connor Barwin brought to the locker room (even though he did not invite me to his going-away #BarwinHouseParty), but I can acknowledge those letterman jackets were a bad move. It's hard to imagine Ed Reed would have allowed the team to play dress-up on the flight to Boston.

*****

Texans News

Not all press is good press

You probably already read the relatively scathing article about the Texans' offense yesterday by Grantland's Robert Mays, who described the excessive reliance on the traditional running game as "outdated." It's an attack on Houston head coach Gary Kubiak that mirrors the criticism NBA head coach Mike D'Antoni received during his first few weeks as Lakers head coach: Kubiak has a system, and he forces players into that system, rather than adjusting his philosophy to fit the strengths of the players he has. Or as Donald Rumsfeld would put it, he sends players to war with the system he has, not the system Texans fans might want or wish to have.

Mays is looking around the league and urging the Texans to get with the program - faster, more flexible and more creative - before they get left in the dust of this new fleet of speedy quarterbacks who are turning traditional offensive schemes into modern day Dodo birds.

Coming into that playoff game against New England, the book on Houston was simple: "Get a lead and the game is over." Offensively, the Texans have a specific plan, and against most teams they execute that plan well. The run game wasn't nearly as effective last year as it had been in years past (mostly due to a lack of consistency and the resulting shuffling on the right side), but the run-first, play-action-later Houston offense still had plenty of moments. It's when the running isn't an option - either because of ineffectiveness or a big deficit - that the plan falters. Former Texans lineman Ephraim Salaam refers to it as "staying on schedule," but with offenses like the ones in New England, New Orleans, and Green Bay, relying on point production that can so easily come off the rails just doesn't feel like an option anymore.

He acknowledges that Matt Schaub is not the long-term answer at quarterback, but doesn't share the same pessimism that he couldn't make it work if given the right tools. First among them, unsurprisingly, is a speedy second wide receiver - Tavon Austin, specifically. If he isn't available? Everyone knows the list: Keenan Allen, DeAndre Hopkins, Quinton Patton, etc. Someone. We need someone that can make plays instead of battle-fight.

As tempting as it is to say that the Texans will turn the corner against the Patriots in 2013, as they did against the Ravens last year after losing to Baltimore twice in 2011, it just seems like a wall too high to climb right now. The results of the draft will determine whether it's even worth having this conversation. We were in both of those games at Baltimore two years ago; we were in neither at Foxborough.

It could be worse, though. We could be the Houston Astros.

And Bob McNair could be an owner like Jim Crane.

If that is your logic, Jim, then sign me up.

*****

Mabrouk to Ryan Harris

If that last article was harshing your vibe, we've got something that will pick you right back up: the Texans re-signed offensive tackle Ryan Harris on Monday. ¡Viva la zone blocking! Harris played in all 16 games in 2012, and started twice in place of right tackle Derek Newton. This is the second backup tackle the Texans have resigned since bringing Andrew Gardner back on March 15. With serious injury concerns swirling around Newton, we could be seeing a lot of the Notre Dame alum on the field in 2013.

Hamdulilah, Ryan Harris. Allah yabarak feek.

*****

Tap the Rockies at Reliant on April 25

I'll be watching this at bigfatdrunk's house, but if I was in Houston, perhaps I'd consider attending the Texans' draft party on Kirby. If you want to go, make sure you get a ticket. It's free, but you still have to plan ahead. Tickets will be made available to the general public starting on April 11.

*****

Around the NFL

Winston coming back to Texas?

Former Texans right tackle Eric Winston may be on the verge of signing with Dallas, Ian Rappoport reported Monday. The two sides have displayed "mutual interest," which is bad news for current Cowboys right tackle Doug Free, and good news for Winston, who said Tuesday that talks with the Chargers had broken down. Winston is still looking for a payday in the range of $3-4 million a year after being cut by the Chiefs in March. It's hard to envision his value dropping far enough for the Texans to pick him back up, cap space in mind, but I doubt anyone would be up in arms about it in Houston were it to happen on the cheap.

*****

Kevin Kolb does not realize what division the Bills are in

Kevin Kolb says he plans to win a Super Bowl in Buffalo. This is a great plan, especially with a two-year window, and having to play New England twice a year. I will take this as an opportunity to announce my plans to become a world-class mandolin player, so I can take Slush's place in my roommates' bluegrass band and go on tour with Yonder Mountain.

A brand new day for Kolb, perhaps, but he's still playing for a pretty bad team, and is still in a conference that requires beating a damn good one.

*****

At least it's better than speedwalking

Could flag football become an Olympic event? I don't see why not. International Olympics Committee sports director Christophe Dubi told The Associated Press on Monday that several new sports are being considered for inclusion in the Rio Games. The IOC executive board will decide upon which new events get included when it convenes on Aug. 9. Among the sports under consideration are BMX racing and three-on-three, half-court basketball. Baseball somehow still doesn't make the cut.

Somewhere, former Patriots running back Robert Edwards is not thinking to himself, "Maybe I can finally get that gold medal."

*****

Revis Drama continues

It has been widely believed since March that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are willing to part with a first and second round pick in 2014 in order to make the trade for Darrelle Revis, but that the pressure to win now was holding back new Jets general manager John Idzik, who wanted those picks to come in the 2013 draft instead. Now, it seems that Tampa Bay has agreed to part with the 13th overall pick this year in exchange for Revis, but that New York is holding out for more. Never a dull moment when it comes to anything involving Darrelle Revis.

*****

Patriots add another player to help shovels mountains of food into Vince Wilfork's mouth

New England agreed to terms on Monday on a two-year contract with former Raiders defensive lineman Tommy Kelly. Kelly is 32 years old and not getting any younger, but provides additional depth to a defensive line that already includes "Big" Vince Wilfork and several other players who are not as big as Vince Wilfork.

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