Given the play of our incumbent CB No. 2 the past few weeks, Kubes' announcement that DeMarcus Faggins will remain the starter for Sunday's contest against the Dolphins has confused (read: panicked) Texans fans who have grown weary of watching the opposition target 92.9% of their passing plays directly at him. Indeed, some of the more passionate among us have been left to wonder whether Kubes is simply sticking with Petey as a form of Old Testament retribution for past sins. While you won't read me doubt that Kubes may be omnipotent (notwithstanding the "odd" strategies employed in the Atlanta loss, I remain a believer) at the early point of this season, I think the real reason for Kubes' seemingly illogical support of Faggins is much simpler. NOTE: If you want to have some fun with MDC, ask him why he hasn't noticed that Petey Faggins has some real shortcomings until recently. He may well spontaneously combust.
I don't buy that there aren't other options on the roster. I don't buy that Petey is simply the victim of a cold streak. To paraphrase Bill Parcells, Faggins is what his play says he is. Which is to say, not someone who should be starting at cornerback in the NFL. I do buy, however, that Kubes feels like he has little choice but to trot Petey out there for the first defensive series of Sunday's game. Why? Let's look at who conceivably COULD unseat Faggins to start opposite Dunta:
Jamar Fletcher--would seem to be the most obvious choice. For whatever reason, however, the coaching staff seems resolute in containing his time on the field to nickel situations. Is it because they know something we don't? Do they think he'd be exposed even worse than Faggins? I sure hope so, because no other justification makes any real sense. Even then, there is a strong school of thought that Fletcher couldn't possibly be any worse than Faggins, so why not run him out there to see what he can do? I just don't know. I'm grasping at straws here.
Fred Bennett--if not the most obvious choice, then definitely the most popular. From reading the tea leaves, I think that the only reason Bennett isn't starting on Sunday is because he's doing his best Jerome Mathis impression and sitting out practice more than Kubes feels he should. Kubes' message in that regard seems clear: You will practice consistently before you play consistently. Can't say that I'm opposed to that principle, though it's not going to make the sight of watching Chris Chambers or Marty Booker catch TD passes on Sunday any easier. And it begs the question: At what point do you say to hell with that principle if it means getting a more talented player on the field? If nothing else, I'd look for Bennett to get some snaps on Sunday in the hopes that he shows he can handle the job in the long term.
Dexter Wynn--the fact that he's not even mentioned as a possibility tells me all I need to know. The coaching staff likes him purely for depth and has no plans to make him a starter, barring every other DB on the roster going down with an injury.
Von Hutchins--to me, he would make the most sense as a successor to Petey right now. He's a CB by trade and has shown an ability to actually, you know, cover people. I have to think the lack of discussion about moving Hutchins to CB2 is more a result of the coaches being pleased with him at FS and not wanting to rock the boat. It also speaks volumes as to the staff's lack of comfort with the possibility of starting Demps or Boulware at FS right now. If I had to pick one reason that Kubes is sticking with Petey, this is it. He feels like Hutchins is the only real alternative, and he thinks swapping Petey for Demps or Boulware would hurt the team more than keeping the status quo for another game.
Some Other Guy--under Rick Smith, the Texans have shown a willingness to bring guys in off the street to contribute. For whatever reason, they haven't gone that route at CB2. It has to be because there's no one out there they like. Has to be, right? Right?
So there you have it. For reasons somewhat unclear to me, Kubes and Richard Smith have decided that starting Faggins at CB2 on Sunday is a better alternative than starting Fletcher, Bennett, Wynn, Hutchins, or anyone else. Regardless, I think it's clear that Petey is on a very short leash. If he plays like he did against Indy and Atlanta, I'd watch for him to be pulled quickly and relegated to backup duty for the Jacksonville game. At this point, we can only hope that such a move, if it becomes reality, won't have occurred one game too late.