Not even in death was I able to escape the Houston Texans’ 2017 season. I left for the Grand Canyon, and they of course played on Monday Night. I made plans to go for a walk during their game against San Francisco, and of course purple and soggy clouds arrived into town. I ruined Christmas by forcing my family to watch Houston -Pittsburgh so I could take care of the game threads here. And this past weekend, I ventured out to Big Bend Ranch State Park to wave around with the Ocotillo like Medusa herself, but because of freezing weather, I was back on the road home on Sunday instead of putting my floppy hat on and rolling through the stars. Of course, on AM 550, the Houston Texans were playing the Indianapolis Colts.
Riding in an icicle-covered car through the foggy hungover desert, I heard it all. T.J. Yates overthrowing fade routes, Jadeveon Clowney ending up a half sack away from his first double-digit sack season, Marlon Mack and Frank Gore pillaging through Houston’s defense, Alfred Blue’s job interview, T.Y. Hilton and Johnathan Joseph pawing at each other like house cats, and Jack Doyle escaping into the flat for a score. All of it coagulated together into another Texans loss and a last place finish in the AFC South.
Luckily, things end. The Texans’ season is over. All of that wasted time can be replaced with other things. Things like Cormac McCarthy novels about Appalachia, Instapot recipes, dog walks, Ken Burns’ The Vietnam War and chill, and most importantly, the rest of the NFL. After only watching Houston LIVE and the rest of the league in play after play format that’s almost too quick for my smooth brain to understand, I can now grow into the couch and enjoy the three and a half hour spectacles of drama-filled NFL Playoffs. No longer do I have to waste away and wait for the inevitable Texans’ loss.
At least Julien Davenport seemed okay. I know the Colts don’t have Von Miller or anything, but that was one welcome thing.
Otherwise yeah, this game happened.
Aside from the Astros’ tremendous season and World Series championship, 2017 was a complete [kitten kitten kitten of mother kitten kittens to end all kittens]. May 2018 be so much better on all fronts.
I just want all our guys to come back healthy next year. That's literally all I care about right now.
The final game of the year didn't tell us much other than what we already know. The Texans are really, really bad without Deshaun Watson. Of similar concern is the state of this defense. Sure, the pass rush is virtually non-existent other than Jadeveon Clowney. Offensive coordinators can double and triple-team him with little worry.
While it's true a great pass rush certainly makes the secondary look better, this current secondary is a disaster. The combination of A.J. Bouye leaving and Kevin Johnson being bad has really put this unit in a bind. Mike Vrabel can certainly improve as a defensive coordinator. Many are already writing him off. I'm not, yet - but it's a FACT that it's not just injuries that hurt this defense in 2017. There was poor coaching and game-planning along the way, players being used incorrectly at times, and the defense seemed to make WAY more mental errors under Vrabel than it did under Romeo Crennel.
Even though Rick Smith and Bill O'Brien are the best GM and coach in NFL history, respectively, this is a lacking roster with poor game planning on all three sides of the ball. The Texans ended up 26th by DVOA on special teams, which is a consistent testament to the bad bottom 75% of the roster the Texans have year after year after year.
Garments have been rendered regarding all the injuries, but the offensive line and the secondary were relatively healthy positions. Aside from Trumaine Johnson, who's gonna get paid, there's nobody out there who can help the team at these positions.
Losing to the Colts on the last day of the season is a perfect ending to 2017. Heading from 2013 to 2014, I had for more optimism for the team. 2013 was extraordinarily unlucky on many levels, but a lot of pieces were also in place. Many of those qualities aren't there heading into 2018, and the new GM will have a lot of work ahead of him.