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Bye Week Review: Houston Texans (Almost) First-Half Awards

The full BRB braintrust comes together to look back at the first seven games of the 2012 Houston Texans season.

Bob Levey

With the season nearly half way over -- let me rephrase that -- With the regular season nearly halfway over, the bye week comes at a nice time for your Houston Texans. It gives the Boys in Battle Red a chance to rest up their bodies and seek ways to improve over a similar in length stretch moving forward. For bloggers, a midseason bye week gives us the perfect opportunity to hand out false awards for our beloved team.

Yes, you heard right. All the staff got together to hand out imaginary midseason awards. Fun, right (except for the near 2,500 words that follow)?

Texans Most Valuable Player -
The fearless leader of this fully armed and operational Battle Red Station, Tim: "J.J. Watt. We are all witnesses."

The master of multiple day hangovers, MDC: "Justin James Watt"

The architect of opponent destruction, TexansDC: "I didn't want to fall in line here and take the JuggerWatt, but the start to the first half of the season has been nothing short of historic. He is on pace to shatter the franchise record in sacks and Reggie White's record for most tipped passes by a defensive lineman. I still believe he is on pace to sack 20 and tip 20 passes. As much as I would like to make a case for Matt Schaub, Watt is a freak and irreplaceable thus the most valuable."

The pantsless prince of Austin, bigfatdrunk: "The NFL MVP, J.J. Watt"

The wing king, UprootedTexan: "J.J. Watt, and it's not even close."

The tape technician, Brett Kollman: "J.J. Watt, obviously."

Football Outsiders expert, riversmccown: "J.J. Watt."

The homebrew wizard, Vega: "J.J. Watt. Is there really any other choice? I mean, he's a legitimate contender for NFL MVP, and when was the last time that could actually be said about a defensive lineman?"

The international man of mystery, tehGrindCrusher: "J.J. Watt."

[The fact that I even thought about arguing for someone else not named Watt looks extremely foolish.]

Texans Rookie of the Year -
Tim: "Ben Jones. No one else has made a consistent impact yet, though Whitney Mercilus could swing my vote if he builds on what we saw against Baltimore."

MDC: "Ben Jones"

TexansDC: "Right now, it would have to be Ben Jones by virtue that he gets the most snaps of any rookie on a weekly basis, but ask me again in January."

bigfatdrunk: "Ben Jones, who has simply added more to the team than Whitney Mercilus to date."

UprootedTexan: "Ben Jones, again, not even close."

Brett Kollman: "Ben Jones, even more obviously."

riversmccown: "Randy Bullock. He taught us two valuable lessons: 1) never draft a kicker, 2) never trust Joe Marciano."

Vega: "Only one rookie has provided any real value for an extended period of time, and that's Ben Jones. Mercilus had a good game last week, and if he can replicate that more often, he might have this by the end of the season, but for now it has to be Jones. Keshawn Martin has had opportunities, but unless they're sending him to San Diego during the bye week to get some stick-um, he's got no shot."

tehGrindCrusher: "Ben Jones."

Texans Least Valuable Player -
Tim: "Trindon Holliday."

MDC: "Assuming we have to pick someone who has actually seen the field in a regular season game, Antoine Caldwell."

TexansDC: "I still think Houston would've lost the game, but DeVier Posey's offsides penalty against Green Bay really was the turning point of the only loss. Who knows if the game gets out of hand if he lines up on the right side of the field?"

bigfatdrunk: "Joe Marciano."

UprootedTexan: "Joe Marciano is the easy pick, but Bradie James hasn't exactly been setting the world on fire either."

Brett Kollman: "Everyone on special teams who isn't Alan Ball or Brian Braman."

riversmccown: "Antoine Caldwell." [Props to Rivers because he's never really been an Antoine Caldwell guy.]

Vega: "Joe Marciano. Next."

tehGrindCrusher: "Can I vote for Joe Marciano? Kitten. He's not a player. Okay, I would have said Trindon Holliday, but he's no on the team anymore. I guess I'll have to go with Antoine Caldwell, although Keshawn Martin is running him pretty close."

Rookie Pick You'd Do Over Again -
Tim: "Greg Zuerlein over Randy Bullock. Admittedly, this is the worst kind of revisionist analysis, as I was perfectly fine with the Bullock pick at the time. Well, after the run on kickers began after Bullock was picked, anyway. I was initially pissed that the Texans drafted a kicker in the fifth round."

MDC: "DeVier Posey. I'd take Mike Martin or Sean Spence."

TexansDC: "Legitimate injury or not, I would take Greg Zuerlein over Randy Bullock. Zuerlein's got a range of 60-70 yards. He can give you points from 50% of the playing field. That's nuts. When he plays in Denver, Legatron will set the NFL's record for longest field goal in a game, and I honestly think it'll be a 71-yarder. Zuerlein is a game-changing kicker, and it's not too early to say that Bullock can't approach that."

bigfatdrunk: "DeVier Posey. Simply put, he's the single worst player on the roster right now. There's absolutely no reason he should see a snap."

UprootedTexan: "DeVier Posey (and no, you can't have Russell Wilson for him)."

Brett Kollman: "Legatron over Bullock in a heartbeat."

riversmccown: "I'd take Russell Wilson over DeVier Posey." [And more props to Rivers because he was one of the few people who was pro-Russell Wilson from the get-go.]

Vega: "It's waaaaay too early to give up on any rookie (even DeVier Posey), but I think you have to go with Randy Bullock here if only because of what Greg Zuerlein has done. That may not be very fair to Bullock, but watching Shayne Graham kick whiffle ball field goals is starting to grate on me."

tehGrindCrusher: "Has to be DeVier Posey, but I generally think it's too early to give up on any of these guys."

Texan Starter Who Needs to be Benched/Cut -
Tim: "I don't think any starter has been doing a completely horrific job, but I guess I'd go with Antoine Caldwell, to the extent he's still considered a starter (which he wasn't last week, but I don't know if that was due more to performance or coming off the concussion). Ben Jones has been better."

MDC: "Shaun Michael Cody."

TexansDC: "Antoine Caldwell because..."

bigfatdrunk: "Antoine Caldwell. Let's just start the Ben Jones Experience in full blast."

UprootedTexan: "Antoine Caldwell."

Brett Kollman: "Antoine Caldwell, and it isn't even close."

riversmccown: "Kareem Jac--sorry, reflexive answer. Shaun Cody."

Vega: "Real tough call here as there aren't many that are really struggling, but I'd have to go with Antoine Caldwell here."

tehGrindCrusher: "Antoine Caldwell."

Texans Back-up Who Needs to Start -
Tim: "Again, I think it's Ben Jones, if he's not the current starter."

MDC: "Is Ben Jones still considered a backup? Because that's my vote. Otherwise, um . . . Earl F'in Mitchell by default, I s'pose."

TexansDC: "...Ben Jones makes the offensive line that much better. It's a noticeable difference."

bigfatdrunk: "Ben Jones."

UprootedTexan: "Again, Ben Jones."

Brett Kollman: "Ben Jones, by default." [BK's been pro-Jones the longest of any of us, so kudos to him.]

riversmccown: "Uhh ... well I guess Ben Jones if you count him. Otherwise, I can't really think of one."

Vega: "Well, I guess by definition, I'd go with Ben Jones."

tehGrindCrusher: "Ben Jones."

Best Game of the Year -
Tim: "The destruction of Baltimore."

MDC: "Curbstomping of Baltimore."

TexansDC: "Beating the Denver Broncos. I have been so scarred by Peyton Manning that going out and making him look human for 3-plus quarters was a treat to see. Also, Matt Schaub started out the game like a man on fire."

bigfatdrunk: "All six wins." [I'm sure he tells his kids he loves them all equally, too.]

UprootedTexan: "Last week's curbstomping of the Ravens."

Brett Kollman: "Miami, solely for that epic 24 point swing in a 5 minute span."

riversmccown: "Whomping Tennessee. Because it's always whomping Tennessee." [Let that hate flag fly, Rivers.]

Vega: "Last week against Baltimore."

tehGrindCrusher: "Baltimore."

Worst Game of the Year -
Tim: "The debacle against Green Bay."

MDC: "The Apackalypse."

TexansDC: "The Green Bay loss was brutal and, since I'm living near Wisconsin, I have 'Nam-like flashbacks when I see that green-and-gold."

bigfatdrunk: "Packers, natch."

UprootedTexan: "The Green Bay game, and we shall not speak of it again."

Brett Kollman: "Green Bay, for obvious reasons."

riversmccown: "The one they lost."

Vega: "Green Bay."

tehGrindCrusher: "Green Bay."

Best Beer You've Had While Watching the Texans -
Tim: "The answer is always Coors Light. I will note, however, that Lone Spot provided me with a Ridgeback Ale from No Label Brewery at his tailgate before the Tennessee game, and it was fantastic. I will undoubtedly have more Ridgebacks."

MDC: "I'm a creature of habit, so I've been drinking only screwdrivers during Texans games for the last two seasons. I think the results of my efforts speak for themselves. In general, however, the best beer I've ever had in connection with a Texans game was the homebrew at Lone Spot's tailgate. 9% alcohol is no joke, people."

TexansDC: "I'll stick with a local Minnesota brew: Surly Furious. It is TDC recommended, which doesn't amount to much since I'm no level five minor internet celebrity, but it's a damned tasty beer."

bigfatdrunk: "Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Wild."

UprootedTexan: "Shiner Hefeweizen, it was the beer I was drinking when J.J. Watt made his pick six in the playoffs." [Someone make sure he's always stocked on Hefeweizen.]

Brett Kollman: "Pliny the Elder, which is a very, very good double IPA you can only buy one bottle at a time from a single batch that is released seasonally. I christened the opening kickoff of week 1 with it."

riversmccown: "1554."

Vega: "I recently kegged up a homebrewed black IPA that has my heart all a flutter."

tehGrindCrusher: "Beer, lol."

Best Meal You've made While Watching the Texans -
Tim: "I don't think I've made a single meal while watching the Texans this year. How about the best meal someone else has made at a Texans tailgate? Because my answer is whatever Lone Spot has made each week; they're all awesome." [Tim's teaching us a lesson: never bite the hand that feeds you.]

MDC: "Brisket."

TexansDC: "It'd have to be my first crack at a rack of ribs. While there is room for improvement and experimentation with the rub, I was pleased that the meat came out moist and done right."

bigfatdrunk: "My Kitchen Sink Wings, which actually use thighs instead of wings."

UprootedTexan: "My Napalm Gumbo during the playoffs last year."

Brett Kollman: "A nice double bacon cheeseburger with a side of home made chex-mix (with croutons mixed in of course. If you haven't tried it you're missing out)."

riversmccown: "Uhhh ... my cooking issues are well-documented. This is not my question yet."

Vega: "Pollo en pipian. I'm going literal here as it wasn't ready until well after the game, but I did make it while watching the Texans."

tehGrindCrusher: "Ever? Barbecued chicken halves with an apple juice/honey/canola oil mop."

Best Thing You've Eaten While Watching the Texans -
Tim: "If forced to pick a single tailgate cuisine served thus far this season, I will go with Lone Spot's fajitas. That was the meal before the Baltimore stomping. It was delicious and made all the better by the dessert that was Houston's pantsing of the Ravens."

MDC: "Brisket."

TexansDC: "Those ribs. It tasted like pride."

bigfatdrunk: "See above."

UprootedTexan: "Emeril's Andouille sausage and roasted peppers sandwich at the Palazzo in Las Vegas." [Click this for my response to UT.]

Brett Kollman: "Wings, of course."

riversmccown: "Had some pretty good MNF brats courtesy of --Jay."

Vega: "Can I go with homebrew again? No, OK. Cornish hens roasted in onion and garlic with a cider vinegar and white wine sauce. It was a belated anniversary dinner with my wife."

tehGrindCrusher: "The souls of opposing teams' fans."

Best Mainstream Media Member Covering the Texans in 2012 -
Tim: "It's early, but I think Tania Ganguli is doing a very good job on the Texans beat. I also think Nick Scurfield does excellent work for the team's official site."

MDC: "I'm going with Elizabeth Merrill for her pieces on Matt Schaub and J.J. Watt."

TexansDC: "Tania Ganguli gives regular updates, she uses her access to get great interviews, she interacts with people on Twitter, and she's just been a breath of fresh air. I hope she stays in Houston for a long, long, long time. Honorable mention for Scufield and Dougherty of the Mothership because they do a fantastic job of bridging the team with the fans."

bigfatdrunk: "Every BRB writer excluding myself. I mean, honestly, look at how many hits we get these days. We are mainstream media."

UprootedTexan: "The Texans get mainstream media coverage? I'd have to say Mark Berman, I guess."

Brett Kollman: "Tough call, but I'd say Mike Mayock during his draft coverage."

riversmccown: "Tania Ganguli."

Vega: "Ugh... I don't really follow the mainstream media, so this is tough. How about Nick Scurfield?"

tehGrindCrusher: "This may get me a lot of kitten, but I gotta go with Kuharsky."

Worst MSM Member covering the Texans in 2012 -
Tim: "Take your pick, save for the two people listed in my previous answer and Mark Berman."

MDC: "Pancakes McLardass."

TexansDC: "McClain. He complains about watching football while watching football, waxes poetic on Tennessee and Baylor a bit too much, and is always quick to throw out the word 'pathetic' about the Texans. I also loathe how much he wastes his access by not generating better stories."

bigfatdrunk: "The only person I know, including my wife, who complains about watching football during a game: Pancakes McClain."

UprootedTexan: "Pretty much the whole of ESPN is tied for first."

Brett Kollman: "Collinsworth, by a long shot."

riversmccown: "I'm not gonna poop on someone publicly; I save that for Battle Red Radio, where people have to sludge through my ego for 70 minutes first."

Vega: "Dan Dierdorf. I'm still bitter about last week." [Suggs Suggs Suggs Suggs Suggs.]

tehGrindCrusher: "Has to be Don Banks, who I secretly suspect is more of a moron than Peter King."

So far, the 2012 Texans are like this (insert song/book/TV show here) -
Tim: "God Bless The Broken Road by Rascal Flatts. Disturbed? How do you think I feel? I'm ready to sing that song to J.J. Watt and to hand him a single red rose while belting out the last verse. What does that say about me?"

MDC: "The song "American Woman" by The Guess Who. Like the song, they've started on a fantastic riff that gets you pumped for the facerocking that is about to kick in midway through. In this scenario, J.J. Watt is Burton Cummings. Wisconsin is close enough to Canada for me to feel comfortable with that comparison."

TexansDC: "I'll go with Community's third season. While there may be a bad episode here or there, the show had clearly hit its stride and was churning out comedic gem after comedic gem. The Texans are throwing out gems of their own and we're all laughing as we chalk up more Ws."

bigfatdrunk: "Jump Around by House of Pain (going a little old school here in more ways than one)"

UprootedTexan: "Big Time by Peter Gabriel."

Brett Kollman: You know what Mama said...

riversmccown: Worth the click

Vega: "I'm going to say the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin only because it is as yet an unfinished work. There are things that I like and things that I don't, but overall, it's been pretty good. How it ends, though, is far more important than anything that has happened so far."

tehGrindCrusher: "That part in "One" by Metallica when they Lars kicks in the double bass and Hetfield starts singing "Darkness/imprisoning me/all that I see/absolute horror/I cannot live/I cannot die/trapped in myself/body my holding cell" and they all start headbanging"

End of the year team prediction and final thoughts (record/playoff seed/finish) -
Tim: "I said 11-5 and AFC Championship Game appearance (at least) before the season started. I'll adjust that to 12-4 and stick with the AFCCG appearance for now, but I have to say that I'm much more bullish on being in New Orleans in February than I was before the season started."

MDC: "I'm sticking with my preseason picks of 13-3 with a Super Bowl win over the Chicago Bears."

TexansDC: "Get your popcorn ready, Texans faithful. 12-4. Home-field advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs. AFC Champions. And yes, I'll say it...MDC's gonna get crunk with the Lombardi Trophy."

bigfatdrunk: "I think we finish out the year 6-3. We'll lose one stupid game to a division rival (which could be Week 17 when we only play starters for a half). I believe we lose to two of Chicago, Detroit, and NE for the other losses. This puts us at 12-4 on the year, giving us the top seed in the AFC."

UprootedTexan: "13-3 record, top spot in the AFC playoffs, and going to the Super Bowl."

Brett Kollman: "13-3 with the 1st seed. Playoffs go through Houston and we take out Denver in the AFC Championship game. Super Bowl versus San Francisco ends up being one of the greatest defensive displays in league history by both sides and settles with Houston being the victor 7-6."

riversmccown: "12-4, first seed."

Vega: "I said 13-3 with a number one seed and a Super Bowl victory before the season and I'm not backing off now!"

tehGrindCrusher: "14-2, top seed, SuperBowlmotherkitteningChampions."

Whew, next time we should just all hop on Battle Red Radio. There would be way less time spent on editing and formatting. Feel free to chime in with your own opinions in the comments, BRBers.