Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Houston Texans: So? What now? (27-9 Edition)

There are several ways to react to a thorough beat-down of the type the Denver Broncos put on the Houston Texans last night.

You can go faux tough-guy like Denver Post columnist Mark Kiszla (Who himself would fold like a cheap pizza box if Osweiler ever came at him with fire in his eyes)

You can go cliche (in an online story full of type-setting errors, grammatical errors etc.)

You can go disappointed parent angry (Which, aside from confirming National sources for local stories, is all this guy does these days)

Or you can go somewhat poetic (I say somewhat because it's clear Wilson and football are only slightly acquainted.)

In between bouts of deep depression and fits of anger (or worse, for the team, resignation) you could forgive Texans fan for ignoring all of this and deciding that there are better things to do on Sunday. In short: You could go numb. You'll find your brisket moment however, it might have been the Fumbleception, or it might come in the future.

But a franchise that is interested in actually winning playoff games and championships wouldn't. They wouldn't stand pat as week after week the head coach says "This was on me" and "We have to play better" and the $72MM quarterback stands in front of cameras stating "I have to play better".

It wouldn't continue to employ a GM whose built a roster slightly better than the Browns, Titans and Bears of the world, but nowhere near competitive against the Broncos, Patriots, Vikings, Steelers et al. It wouldn't keep around a GM who seemingly is clueless in talent evaluation, who has consistently fielded in order: An offensive line that is below average, cornerbacks and safeties who have trouble both in coverage and run support, linebackers who are, to put it delicately, slow. And a D-line who, absent JJ Watt, spends more time getting pushed around than pushing people around.

And we haven't even gotten to a quarterback who has trouble throwing the ball further than 4 yards down the field, TE's who are not especially good at either running routes, catching passes or run blocking, and WR's who, as a unit, cannot run a complex route tree and separate from coverage. At least the special teams last night didn't have their now once-per-game meltdown.

By any metric this Texans team is low on talent. To deny that is to deny that the on-the-road-against-good-football-teams beat-downs are becoming routine.  The Texans didn't just lose last night, they got beaten. Beaten in every aspect of the game. Only the fact that the Broncos are stubbornly choosing to start Trevor Simien kept them from getting trucked by 40 or more.

The difference though, is that Denver does have talent across the board. They have enough talent that they can afford to sit and wait on Simien to develop as a quarterback, to grow through playing.  Because if he messes up, the defense is good enough to cover that up.

The Texans just aren't talented enough to win despite having a QB who is seemingly allergic to completing the vertical pass right now.  To be fair though, he's not being given much of an opportunity to complete down the field passes because the Texans have implemented a game plan full of three step drops and quick releases. They have to do this because the O-line can't slow down the rush enough to allow routes to develop downfield.

The worst news is that it's going to get worse, because Derek Newton (who I've been critical of in the past but who was having a good year, when healthy, to this point) went down last night with what is apparently two torn patella tendons. That's a brutal injury and I hope the best for Mr. Newton. It's certainly season ending, I'm a little worried it could be career ending for him.

One thing for sure, last night's game was a season-ender for the Texans, in terms of being a contender. They might still make the playoffs only because the AFC South is a raging dumpster fire of bad football.  But they might not, because the Jaguars are looking better of late and I still think they end up winning the thing at 9-7.

But even if the Texans DO win and make the playoffs, do you have any faith that they can beat a team that's playoff caliber?  Right now the only team with a current winning record is the Chiefs, who sit at 4-2 and might still be the 4th best team in their division. At the maximum they're the 3rd. And the Texans beat them at home, in a game where they still had a ton of players out with injury, including their best player, Running back Jamaal Charles.

The Texans will go to the press after this game and say all of the rote things. They'll say that they "need to play better" and remark on how Denver (and Minnesota, and the Patriots) are "good teams" and that they believe they can beat anyone in the league if they just play good football and "execute their game plan".

Here's the problem with those talking points. It's becoming increasingly obvious that they're not true. It's also becoming increasingly obvious that things are not going to change as long as Bob McNair is making money hand over fist.  So enjoy it Texans fans, a future full of 8-8 with a handful of dumpster fires against good teams whenever you play them.

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