HOUSTON – With the 32 teams in the National Football League about to enter the eighth week of playing, there are enough real games on film for teams to get a sense of what is and what is not working for them. Many terabytes of online information have been and will continue to be dedicated to covering those teams that are either exceeding or failing to meet pre-season expectations. Then, there are those teams that are meeting expectations. Squads such as the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs are generally playing as expected.
“What, you saying that the Houston Texans are playing to ‘expectations’?” One unnamed staffer jawed at our reporter at team facilities this week. “Oh, that everyone thought that would be so awful, that we would have no chance in any games that we would play, blah, blah, blah. Well, look at the body of this season:
- “We are not the worst pass defense in the league this year. Our new guys are doing a great job helping to make the Texans into a ‘No-Fly-Zone.’ Nope, we haven’t really been shredded in the air, despite what all of you so-called ‘experts’ called for, saying we were running an outdated defensive scheme. Tampa 2? I say we call it the ‘Texans 2?’
- “We are not giving up the most points in the league. Not even close.”
- “We have a certified, Grade-A stud at running back, and only a rookie. Can you say ‘Offensive Rookie…oh, wait, revise that…straight-up ROOKIE OF THE YEAR!?!?”
- “We are making teams sweat it out, making them work for three quarters…perhaps the toughest three quarters of a game they will face all season.”
- “We currently do not hold the top pick in the draft, but yet, we have two of the top five picks as it stands right now.”
“Can’t beat that unassailable logic, can you?” The staffer stated that last line dramatically folding his arms and looking down upon what said staffer assumed was a victory stance.
“Wait, I thought y’all fired Jack Easterby?”
“That is also another way we are beating expectations. We are making smart front office moves. You people in the media are SOOOOOOOOOO negative sometimes. Can you, I don’t know, be actually objective and write the stuff that we think you should write about?” This last statement was followed by a dramatic eye roll, only once seen before in Houston sports history:
“Perhaps, but I just happened to pull some interesting, minor details here. Just a few…small, points for consideration:
- The Texans are currently leading the NFL in rush yards allowed per game, at 164+ yards a game.
- The squad may offer three quarters of [Easterby] against the opponents, but the fourth quarter is the [Easterby] quarter for the team, as they are currently being outscored 58-17. Looks like the team has gone scoreless five of seven fourth quarters its played
- Starting quarterback Davis Mills is barely the 28th-rated QB in the league.”
“Well, there you go again, going straight to the negative to perpetuate some sort of negative media narrative. Can you stop with the Fake News narrative? Unless you are one of those writers with an ‘agenda’ that calls for a massive groupthink cabal that the Texans must tank in order to be successful this season”
“Look, I am an objective journalist. Come on. I am with Totally NOT FAKE NEWS. NOT FAKE NEWS!!!!”
The argument looked like it would get even more heated, but cooler heads, and a security guard with a mean-looking nightstick came by to break up the interview. Still, passions can run high for this team, one that seeks to defy expectations, but one that realizes things are not perfect.
“Look, it’s not that we don’t want to stop the run. No one would ever come out and say that” noted an unnamed defensive player. “It is just that the league, as you in the sporting press point out, is a passing league. On defense, it is all about stopping the pass. If you can’t stop the pass, it really doesn’t matter. The run…I mean, you can have the worst run defense in the league, and you can still win the [Easterby] Super Bowl. Ok…see the 2006 Colts.”
“Well, about that team…”
“I don’t want to hear about any mother[Easterby] ifs!!!! [Easterby]! You guys always want to play up the negative. Besides, when has being a good run defense in this century meant anything. You recall this 2018 team. Had that good run D and all…where did it get them? Exactly.”
“But, there are other thing…”
“Enough. You notice how it is always the pass-rush guys who gets the endorsement deals? Who gets the Hollywood careers? Who gets the talk shows with Kelly Ripa? A run stopper? I think not? It is all about the pass rush and stopping the pass. Have to think ahead and that is what we are doing.”
Our reporter seemed a little disturbed by this line of logic, so he sought out some different leadership higher up in the organization to try to get a sense of what the Texans would do about some of their current struggles.
“We’re working on it,” noted Head Coach Lovie Smith.
After some of the previous exchanges our reporter noted, there was relief that Smith seemed so calm. At least it seemed that way, until yet another unnamed player pointed out that Lovie’s lips ever so slightly tightened. “Man, you just avoided a major blow-up. The tightened lips are the last stop before the full-blown shoulder shrug/exhale…then you know you’ve really ticked him off…”
Yet, while some seemed focused on fixing past performances, there is some talk that few people might be on the move. In particular, our reporter tried to speak with WR Brandin Cooks and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton. Cooks was busy in the team offices, apparently doing some research of some sort.
Whether it is more immediate concerns, or perhaps that the press is pushing a false narrative, the Texans will put their skills to the test this coming week as they host the former Houston team, the now-Tennessee
Titans BE-SFs. No reason to worry about the run defense in this one, right? Right? Guys…guys?