The Forty Year Old QB
Last Monday I almost started looking at college quarterbacks. Or, maybe, Tuesday; I can't be sure.
I read more about college football than I watch because my alma mater only plays on ESPN3, and there's only so much football I, and everyone else around me, can endure. Anyways, I was on Grantland and got sucked into an article on Cal, who I've been told was one of the few undefeated teams left and has a pretty good quarterback. So I read.
He’s developed a coachly midrange stare of vague self-dissatisfaction that he deploys in a press conference following a game with a margin of victory that is not to his liking, after a performance consisting of completions on 33 of 45 passes for 390 yards, one interception, and four touchdowns that Dykes will later characterize as "benign." And he’s in such total command of everything, Goff has been granted the freedom to alter play calls on the field. This is familiar territory for Dykes, who went particularly loose on the reins with Graham Harrell during his time coordinating for Mike Leach at Texas Tech, but for Franklin it’s a first, and the adjustment process has been harrowing, like the parent of a student driver mashing a phantom brake pedal from the passenger seat. "I’ve never let anybody do that. Ever. It’s been hard for me to give up," Franklin says. "I never want him to feel that he has the pressure to be right; I want it to be my mistake.
Afterwards, I opened up another tab on my browser and searched Jared Goff. From there I went into Google images, and saw someone I would best describe as Ryan Gosling's stepbrother. After a few seconds, I thought to myself, "What am I doing? It's only October. It's way too early for this." I closed the tab. Then I started writing about Julio Jones. Sometime afterwards I was on Twitter and Matt Waldman, the best NFL draft writer on the internet, showed up on my feed. I went to his page, and saw snippets and snippets of information on college quarterbacks. I closed the tab. Then I started writing about Julio Jones.
See, it is only October, and my heart is still fragile after 2013. There are still twelve weeks until January and thirty-one other teams I can write about that are more interesting than this mess in Houston. I haven't, and never will, get over the Vikings leap-frogging the Texans while Houston decided against giving up a fourth round pick to take someone who could actually be a future starting quarterback in this league. Now they have the ghost known as Xavier Su'a-Filo and the tall, strong armed, can't do anything else Tom Savage to show for it.
But after watching the Texans lose to a forty year old quarterback who had spent the entire week peeing out of his butt, this all may change. Houston should start doing their homework and actually attempt to solve this quarterback situation rather than flip through stop-gaps, foreclosures, and wonder why the team can't move the ball when Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett are being Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett, going back and fourth between the two like the dating life of a thirteen year old girl.
As they keep falling, and the probability of the number one pick moves upwards from the 12.5% they currently sit at, so will my ability to not watch every one of the snaps Jared Goff, Connor Cook, Cardale Jones, Christian Hackenberg, and Gunner Kiel have taken this season.
I managed to get home in time to catch the second half. I wish I hadn't.
My only enjoyment from Thursday's game was the fact the WiFi worked well enough in the press box to be able to watch the Astros too.
If Only Bill O'Brien Loved Teddy Bridgewater as Much as Rick Ross
I am going to choose to ignore that Thursday night game ever existed simply because it hurts too much to think about. Instead of wallowing in self pity, I'll just go ahead and bask in the glow of some good, old-fashioned Schadenfreude:
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Kansas City have lost four straight games. Some Chiefs fans (that will remain nameless) thought they were such hot shit after that week one win, when in reality - even to my own surprise - they were just as woefully terrible as the Houston team they so gleefully made fun of. Welcome back to the cellar, KC. Enjoy your stay right beside us...AGAIN.
Thirty years ago today, I watched my first Michigan game on TV. Jim Harbaugh led the Wolverines to a 31-0 thrashing of Michigan State on the road. I was, and remain, completely hooked, to the point that few things can make or break an entire week for me like the outcome of a Michigan game can.
Less than a year later, I was in Kansas City, watching a late-season Royals game, when Bo Jackson launched his first career home run -- a 475-foot bomb that stuck in the grassy hill over the left-center-field fence. I've never loved another athlete the way I loved Bo Jackson (and even now I tear up every time I see the Bo 30 for 30
But, then, that's the way sports can trap you when you are 7 or 8 years old. The players--even the games--are larger than life, and they affect you in a way that things just cannot do when you are an adult
Which means, there's a 7- or 8-year-old kid out there right now who idolizes J.J. Watt and loves the Texans more than anything in the world.
I feel really, really sad about the life of pain and sadness that kid has sentenced himself to.
If I said I was upset the Texans lost to the Colts, I would be lying. I spent the entire week waiting and hoping for Andre Johnson to violate the team that told him he would only get "forty" catches in an offense with zero tight ends, no second receivers, and DeAndre Hopkins, who leads the NFL with 74 targets. 74. In five games.
After spending his entire career catching passes from Matt Schaub, David Carr, Case Keenum, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tony Banks, T.J. Yates, Ryan Mallett, Dave Ragone, and Jake Delhomme, and seeing him raise his eyes and stare up at the heavens searching for solace after another one -hopper, I wanted to see the GOAT play with a real life quarterback. After playing 12 seasons and only four playoff games, I wanted to see him get a shot to make one or two more runs. After being the greatest player in franchise history I wanted to see him get redemption against the team that spurned him, and wasted his entire career.
One of these things actually happened. Andrew Luck has thrown too many interceptions after having to carry a team filled with lackluster talent and was injured on Thursday. The Colts are only 3-2, will make the playoffs simply because they play in the AFC South, and will be dismantled when they get there. Entering Thursday night, Andre Johnson had 7 catches on 20 targets for 51 yards, and looked old and slow. He had reassured the Texans that Houston had made the right decision moving on. Despite that, and despite Matt Hasselbeck playing, Andre Johnson had 6 catches on 7 targets for 77 yards and 2 touchdowns. It wasn't blood and guts, and goggles weren't needed, but Dre was pretty good, exacted some vengeance and contributed to the Colts' win.
He caught a curl route on Johnathan Joseph, who was giving him a hilariously large cushion, and then proceeded to run around him and turn an eight yard catch into 23 yards. He caught an uncovered touchdown against zone coverage where Kareem Jackson bit on a play-fake so hard that recovery was impossible. He caught a drag route and was tackled out of bounds. He pushed off nicely against Kevin Johnson on another curl route. With his back to the quarterback, he let the water drop into the bucket on a fade versus Kareem Jackson.
But my favorite play of them all, the one that set up a win on Andre Johnson Homecoming Day, was his second touchdown. Indy ran a pick play on the two yard line. Johnson cut inside and was more open than the Mojave Desert. The fun part came when he caught the ball. He dropped down to his knees to get down to ball level and cradled it into his entire body to do everything in his power to prevent a drop. Then he rolled around into the end zone.
It was the geriatric version of this play.
It was depressing to see Andre Johnson noticeably slower and older. I'm sure there's a metaphor around there somewhere about him ending his career at the same time as the loss of my youth. He looked disgusting in that version of blue splattered with white strips of liquid paper. He's not the same player that was the entirety of Houston's passing offense from 2003-2012, the player who caught 1,012 catches (25.82% of all Texans' receptions) on 1,641 targets (26.88%) for 13,597 yards (30.19%) and 64 touchdowns (26.67%). Even though the Colts are only 3-2 and struggling on their own, he's in a better place now and will be, until he becomes the first Hall of Famer in franchise history and gets his own gold bust displayed in the halls of Canton.
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