This. I killed myself for this? That thought, along with my buddy Mark's repeated mutterings of "Useless *@#&s," played on a constant loop in my head throughout the second half of yesterday's game.
The back story: More than a year ago, my cousin got engaged. She selected September 12, 2009 as her wedding date. My immediate response, of course, was incredulity. Who gets married during football season? Is that even legal? To make matters even worse, a quick check of the calendar revealed that her wedding date fell during the opening weekend of the 2009 NFL season. Sweating profusely, I attempted to rationalize. The schedule hadn't come out yet; perhaps the Texans would be on the road for their season opener. If that was the case, I could simply hole up in a sports bar, watch the game, and catch a later flight home. That'd be doable.
The schedule is released, and of course, the Texans are at home. What's more, it's a noon start, and my cousin's reception doesn't start until 5 p.m. the day before the game. In Poughkeepsie, New York. At that point, I had a choice to make: Blow off attending the opener of what looked to be the most promising season in franchise history, or figure out a way to get my happy arse back to Houston in time for kickoff. Sicko that I am, I opted for the latter, which required the following:1. Fly into Newark, New Jersey on Friday afternoon.
2. Attend rehearsal dinner in Cornwall, New York on Friday night.
3. Attend wedding in Cornwall, New York on Saturday afternoon.
4. Attend reception in Poughkeepsie, New York on Saturday evening. Endure barbs from relatives who are Jets fans about what a moron I am.
5. Leave Poughkeepsie at 10:30 p.m. EST to return to Newark, which is about two (2) hours away.
6. Grab two and a half hours of sleep at hotel next to Newark Airport.
7. 3:30 a.m. wakeup call.
8. Ditch wife and stumble downstairs to catch 4 a.m. shuttle to airport.
9. Catch 5:45 a.m. flight from Newark to IAH to ensure attendance for first play of 2009 Houston Texans campaign.
In retrospect, I chose poorly. Oh, and for my Uncle Charlie, who doubted that I'd concede my idiocy "when your little Texans get their butts kicked" in a post for everyone to read...I concede.
There's a ton to talk about, so consider this Part I of the PGB. Part II will be up tomorrow.
1. Given the short lifespan of your Houston Texans, a disaster like yesterday leaves me searching to put things into historical context. Worst loss ever? I don't think so, but it's in the conversation. Personally, I'd label it "Most Disappointing Loss Ever." Our expectations were so far out of whack with what we saw that it's not even slightly funny. Thus, the crush of reality was far worse to me than, say, the horrific garbage we were repeatedly subjected to in 2005. Somehow, I'd say "Most Disappointing Loss Ever" is a sadder fate than "Worst Loss Ever."
2. Without question, the story of the game is how totally unprepared your Houston Texans looked throughout the contest. That falls squarely on the coaching staff. If you didn't know better, you'd think the Texans had never seen a 3-4 defense before yesterday. As others have noted, I will never understand why the team didn't employ more screens and quick slants to counter the pressure the Jets brought. Speaking of...
3. Anytime Andre Johnson goes entire quarters without so much as a throw in his direction, your offensive scheme is crap. Not to take anything away from Darrelle Revis (who did an outstanding job covering 'Dre), but there is not a corner in the NFL who can consistently stop Andre Johnson. There just isn't. Couple that with the indisputable fact that 'Dre is your deadliest offensive weapon, and there's no excuse for Kyle Shanahan not figuring out ways to get the ball in Andre Johnson's hands. None.
4. Owen Daniels was the Texans' leading receiver yesterday, but it sure didn't feel like it. Of course, that may be more of an indictment of the passing game itself.
5. If Alex Gibbs does not beat the entire offensive line with socks full of nickels throughout practice this week, he has failed us all.
6. A ton has been made, and rightfully so, about how Chris Myers was repeatedly destroyed by Kris Jenkins. Thing is, all of us knew that was a near certainty. Myers has a track record of getting run over by big defensive tackles. So if amateurs like us knew it was virtually a foregone conclusion, why didn't the coaching staff do anything about it at the first sign of trouble? That brings me to my next point...
7. Your Houston Texans may well feature the worst staff in all of football when it comes to making in-game adjustments. Perhaps I'm guilty of a short memory here, but can anyone point to a single game during the Kubiak Era where you felt like the coaches actually made halftime (or any) adjustments? Anyone? Anyone?
8. Staying on the topic of gripes about the coaching staff, I have always been a fan of Gary Kubiak. Even after yesterday, I remain a fan of Gary Kubiak. I love the fact that he tries to deflect blame from his players, and onto himself, when things go south. I have to believe that players respect that, as it saves them (to some degree) from getting further savaged by the media and fans. But you know what? I'm fed up with Kubes' "It starts with me" post-game routine after every loss. If it does indeed start with Kubes, then it's going to end with Kubes. If his team turns in another performance like they did yesterday in Nashville on Sunday, where the Texans look completely unprepared for what their opponents are doing, then it becomes fair to ask why his players continue to look so overwhelmed. Is it because they're not being provided with the coaching they need? Or is it because they're ignoring the coaching they are receiving? If the answer to either of those questions is anything other than an unqualified "No, that's not it," we've got a big problem.
9. When did Steve Slaton become Stacey Mack?
10. Of all the things I've ever written here at BRB, what I'm about to type may well be the most shocking: Why wasn't Chris Brown used more?
11. More David Anderson, please. He's not Kevin Walter, but he's the most reasonable facsimile we have on the roster. When Walter's not in the game, Anderson should be working the middle of the field.
It's getting late, so that's all for now. Tomorrow I'll address Matt Schaub, Frank Bush's regular season debut, and what I'm going to write on the back of my sneakers this Sunday. That last bit isn't a joke, but the way. I have every intention of doing it.