As a current member and future alumnus of the prestigious Texas State University (which boasts the worst collegiate athletic program in the country), I hardly watch college sports anymore. I will watch a bowl game or two when I go back home for Christmas and get tired of staring at the walls. And yes, I do watch every game I can of the NCAA Basketball Tournament during my Spring Break vacation.
Growing up, I was brainwashed to be an avid UT fan; my Grandpa took us to a game every year. But now I simply don't care who wins or loses in college because I don't attend any of those schools. I feel kind of filthy when I watch a college football game and actually cheer for a team. As a result of this, I am no draft expert, unlike Kiper, McShay and my colleagues here at Battle Red Blog. So over the next week or so, I will open the coffin back up on this last season and get some ideas of what Houston should do this offseason.
In high school, I was enamored with Sports Illustrated: The Football Book. My mother bought me a copy from Costco one Sunday. I turned page after page, learning the history of the game, and felt disheartened by my own mortality; I never had the chance to watch Earl Campbell, Lawrence Taylor or Warren Moon live. Instead, I settled for glimpses of their play on ESPN Classic and anecdotes from my Dad. As I read each part of the book and journeyed through the history of football, I felt as if I just relived an era. At the end of every chapter was an All-Decade team, written by Dr. Z. I would scour that list, highlight players that interested me and hop on the magic internet bus to dig up some research.
All of you know that the Houston Texans have just completed their first decade as an NFL franchise. From 2002-2012, we witnessed game after game of ineptitude, mediocrity and finally the emergence of a Super Bowl contender. It won't be the greatest team of all time, but just below is Matthew Weston's all time/all decade Houston Texans team.
Before we get started here are some ground rules:
-Try to do the best to replicate a starting team using the base sets that Houston uses today.
-The defense will be a 3-4, due to the recent success with it under Wade Phillips and the fact that the Texans have run the 3-4 six times and the 4-3 four times over the course of the franchise's history.
-The offense will be a 1 TE/3 WR/2 RB/0 FB scheme.
-Longevity is a factor.
DE: Antonio Smith- Games 64. Sacks 22. Passes Defensed 9. Fumbles Forced 6. Fumbles Recovered 3. Tackles 131.
NT: Seth Payne- G 55. Sacks 9. PD 3. FF 2. Tackles 46.
DE: J.J. Watt- G 32. Sacks 26. PD 20. FF 4. FR 4. Tackles 149.
OLB: Connor Barwin- G 49. Sacks 19. PD 16. FF 1. FR 2. Tackles 108.
ILB: DeMeco Ryans- G 86. Sacks 8.5. INT 2. PD 26. FF 7. FR 8. TD 1. Tackles 644.
ILB: Jamie Sharper- G 48. Sacks 11.5. PD 12. FF 6. FR 4. TD 1. Tackles 441.
OLB: Mario Williams- G 82. Sacks 53. PD 11. FF 11. FR 3. TD 1. Tackles 241.
CB: Aaron Glenn- G 43. Sacks 1. INT 11. PD 44. FR 1. TD 2. Tackles 165.
CB: Johnathan Joseph- G 29. INT 6. PD 29. FF 1. TD 1. Tackles 104.
SS: Glover Quin- G 63. Sacks 1. INT 5. PD 48. FF 3. FR 3. Tackles 316.
FS: Marcus Coleman- G 58. INT 11. PD 34. FF 2. FR 2. TD 1. Tackles 250.
#1 WR: Andre Johnson- Games 138. Receptions 818. Yards 11,254. Yards Per Reception 13.8. TDs 56. Yards Per Game 81.6.
#2 WR: Kevin Walter- Games 109. Rec. 326. Yards 4083. Y/REC 12.5. TDs. 24. Y/G 37.5.
#3 WR: Corey Bradford- Games 63. Rec. 130. Yards 1992. Y/REC 15.3. TDs 18. Y/G 31.6.
TE: Owen Daniels- Games 95. Rec. 361. Yards 4365. Y/REC 12.1. TDs 26. Y/G 45.9.
LT: Duane Brown- 75 Games Played. Approximate Value of 45 (see notes below for explanation of Approximate Value or "AV"). 1 Pro Bowl. 1 All Pro First Team.
LG: Chester Pitts- 114 Games Played. Approximate Value of 47.
C: Chris Myers- 79 Games Played. Approximate Value of 38. 2 Pro Bowls.
RG: Mike Brisiel- 50 Games Played. Approximate Value of 22.
RT: Eric Winston- 92 Games Played. Approximate Value of 44.
QB: Matt Schaub- 80 G. Record of 44-36. Completion Percentage 65.1. Yards 20,911. TDs 114. INT 64. 12 Game-Winning Drives. QB Rating 93.3.
RB: Arian Foster- 51 G. Carries 1,010. Yards 4,521. TD 44. YPC 4.5. Y/G 88.6. Fumbles 13.
RB: Domanick Williams 40 G. Carries 770. Yards 3,195. TDs 23. YPC 4.5. Y/G 79.9. Fumbles 13.
PR: Jacoby Jones- Returns 179. Yards 1820. TDs 3. Long 79. Y/R 10.2
KR: Jerome Mathis- Returns 72. Yards 2054. TDs 3. Long 99. 28.5 Y/RT
K: Neil Rackers- FGA 59. FGM 68. FG% 86.6. 7 from 50+ yards. 9-15 from 40-49. 21-22 from 30-39. 22-22 from 20-29.
P: Donnie Jones- Punts 88. Yards 4,150. Long 66. Y/P 47.2.
Some additional notes and thoughts on the list:
All stats and AV provided from Pro Football Reference.
Jerome Mathis was the first Texan to be named to the All-Pro Team.
Andre Johnson is the greatest Texan of all time and should be the team's first member to grace Canton with his presence.
This past year's team could have used Corey Bradford as a deep threat.
Schaub still isn't the all time INT leader despite throwing 489 passes more than David Carr. Carr's record of 65 is one more than Schaub's.
Glover Quin has one sack. That one sack destroyed Jake Locker's soul in the 38-14 Week 4 blowout of the Titans earlier this year.
Brian Cushing would be on this list in Jamie Sharper's place if he hadn't gotten hurt this year. He, Danieal Manning and Kareem Jackson are probably a year or two away from joining this elite group.
14 out of the 27 players on this list played for the Texans last year.
Discuss what changes you would make or any opinions you have in the Comments below.