With Ike wreaking havoc along the Coastal Bend and knocking holes in the roof at Reliant Stadium, it left little chance that the Texans would host a home game any time soon. And because the game of football doesn't lend itself to playing doubleheaders, the only real solution was to rearrange the schedule and soldier on.
Now, the participants in Week One live game thread can attest to the fact that I held out until sometime in the third quarter before I lost all hope. Regardless of the situation, I usually try to remain optimistic. Much like last year's Carolina game, when the chips were down, the Texans clawed their way back into that game and kicked some ass... while history didn't repeat itself in week one, the lesson still remains.
So why do I mention it? Because as fans, we can bitch and moan about having to burn our bye week only one game into the season...or we can try to focus on the positives. So without further ado, here are five (5) silver linings that came from the clouds of Hurricane Ike.
Assessing the Damage
After being crushed in the season opener, there is no doubt that the Texans have plenty of work to do if they want to right the ship. We know they have the talent, but you can't tell me that rookies Steve Slaton and Duane Brown wouldn't benefit from an additional week of film study before they get thrown back into the fire. I fully understand that the only way those two kids are going to grow is with live game action; I'm just saying that it's to their benefit to really work on what went wrong.
And that isn't just limited to the rookies; let's face it - Matt Schaub could use the extra week to clear the cobwebs. There's no doubt that LaMarr Woodley's vicious sack in the first quarter left Matt's bell ringing for the rest of the half.
Here's hoping they hit the drawing board, then hit the ground running.
Although C Chris Myers was adamant in his belief that the distractions stemming from Hurricane Ike wouldn't affect him, there is much to be said about Ike's lingering effects on the team's psyche. One doesn't have to look much further than the Houston Astros to see how adversely a team can be affected by the storm.
Going into Sunday night's game, the Astros were winners of 14 of their last 15 games. Climbing within three games of the Wild Card lead, they were by far the hottest team in major league baseball - were. Sunday night, the 'Stros were no-hit playing in front of a decidedly pro-Cubs fan base at neutral Miller Park in Milwaukee. That is what I call bullshit.
After the debacle in Pittsburgh, having to play an attacking defense like the Ravens in the wake of Ike had "snowball effect" written all over it. At least now, the Texans get that extra week to regroup and get back to work with a clearer picture of what is to come.
Home Sweet Home
Pretty early Saturday morning, it occurred to me that the Texans were not going to play a game at Reliant. The initial options that were floated out there were to still play the game, but play it somewhere else--a neutral site (see aforementioned Astros game). Now truth be told, I was pulling for the Alamodome, but that was completely self-serving.
Now seeing as how the Texans were 6-2 at home last year, it seems almost imperative that the team play its home games at home. The schedule shuffle allows for the Texans to still play eight (8) home games at Reliant Stadium, which in my estimation is a good thing - a very good thing.
Texans Can Get Their Roll On
The original schedule had us playing three (3) home games in a row; now by virtue of the new schedule, we have four games--four winnable games--in a row. With the Colts looking less and less like Super Bowl contenders, and the Dolphins, Lions, and Bengals looking like well... the Dolphins, Lions, and Bengals - the Texans stand a really good chance of rattling off four (4) in a row.
Building momentum is crucial to the success of any football team. Getting a chance to play four home games in a row against teams who have a combined record of 1-7 (and if Tarvaris Jackson could throw a pass, that record would be 0-8) has momentum-builder written all over it.
There is no doubting that the absence of Dunta Robinson is not only a detriment to the defense, but the team as a whole. With everything falling perfectly in place, Dunta Robinson wasn't expected to see action until after the original bye week (Week 8), meaning that he would have only suited up for nine (9) contests.
Now, he has a real shot at making back for the Week Seven match-up versus Minnesota. If he does indeed come back, he would have only missed five games, making him eligible to play in eleven. I don't know about you, but I like the prospect of having Dunta back there for eleven games, instead of the initial projection of nine. I don't advocate rushing Dunta back; however, if he continues to progress like he has, there is no doubt in my mind that he sees action against Minnesota. And that is enough to make any Texans fan smile.
Words of Wisdom
As we look to the future and see the adversity that is staring this team in the face, I leave you with this quote:
"Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier" - Colin Powell, General (Ret.)
Force multiplication: In military usage, refers to a combination of attributes or advantages which make a given force more effective than another force of comparable size. A force multiplier refers to a factor that dramatically increases (hence "multiplies") the effectiveness of an item or group.