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GuerillaBlack
09-25-2010, 07:49 PM
12 things: Why the Texans are legit
The other team in the Lone Star State is the one to watch this season

Fleming By David Fleming
ESPN The Magazine
Updated: September 24, 2010, 3:33 PM ET

In 2008, ESPN the Magazine's NFL preview featured a cool picture of the Texans' Mario Williams shattering some imagined glass-like barrier into a thousand different pieces. I spent a week with the team during camp that year putting together a piece to accompany that photo about the Texans finally breaking through as an elite team in the NFL.

Looking back, though, the signs weren't all in place. They didn't have a sense of urgency. They had a mental block against the Colts. The Texans had talented players, stars even, who hadn't quite grown into leaders just yet. They were explosive on both sides of the ball, but not balanced. They showed flashes of greatness, but not consistency.

They just weren't ready then.

But, look out Dallas, they are now.

The Texans' offense features potential MVP Andre Johnson, quarterback Matt Schaub, who took a beating while carrying the team to a comeback win against the Redskins in Week 2, and the NFL's most unlikely rushing leader, the undrafted Arian Foster. Meanwhile, the Texans' front four on defense, led by the freakish, dominant Williams (who already has four sacks), is talented and balanced enough to support a young and inexperienced secondary.

The final step in the Texans' ascension should come this weekend when they fittingly send the Dallas Cowboys into 0-3 oblivion and turn America's Team into the second-best franchise in Texas.

Win or lose, here are 11 more reasons why the Texans are finally for real.

2. According to several members of the Saints I've talked to, the moment they knew they were destined for greatness last year was in Week 7 when, despite three picks by Drew Brees, the Saints overcame a 21-point deficit to beat the Dolphins 46-34 and move to 6-0. I saw the very same execution and attitude in Week 2 when the Texans came back -- calm, determined, certain -- from 17 down late in the third to beat the Redskins.

3. What has impressed me the most about Schaub is not his team-record 497 yards passing against a pretty good Redskins defense or the fact that he has picked up right where he left off after leading the NFL in 2009 with 4,770 passing yards. It's that he got sacked five times and hit hard at least five other times by the Redskins and still put up such massive single-game numbers. Great QBs have to be the toughest player on the team, and there's a toughness to Schaub that I haven't seen before. Tony Romo is a good quarterback who plays well when everything is going smoothly. But Schaub is starting to look like he has leapfrogged Romo to become a great quarterback -- because he can carry this team on his back when nothing's going right.

4. The NFL's leading rusher, Texans RB Arian Foster, whose 231 yards was the best opening-day performance since O.J. Simpson ran for 250 yards in the 1973 opener, is a prolific poet and has filled dozens of notebooks with his work. Don't forget he's also a serious weapon in the passing game. He had a 50-yard catch that set up a TD against the Redskins. He's also the only guy in the NFL who uses a Hindu pose for his TD celebration.

5. The Texans are ranked 32nd in pass defense right now and, honestly, that doesn't bother me at all. They gave up 433 yards to Peyton Manning. So does everyone else in the NFL. And Donovan McNabb threw for 468, but he also passed the ball 52 times. In a strange way, all this work has been good for young defensive backs Glover Quin and Kareem Jackson. And how about this? The team should be 4-0 when it gets NFL ROY LB Brian Cushing back.

6. The Texans are like the main character in a John Hughes film: They have grown to the point that this week's rivalry game now means way more to the supposed cool kids in Dallas than it does to them. The win against Indy was way more important to this team. But it will seem kind of fitting if the Texans are the ones who push the Cowboys to the brink of disaster, since only five teams in NFL history have ever started 0-3 and made the playoffs.

7. The Texans have now won six games in a row and are 10-3 against the NFC since 2006.

8. Did you know that in 19 NFL seasons Jerry Rice piled up 15 games with 10 catches and 100 yards receiving, and that in eight seasons Andre Johnson already has 14? By the time he's done, we're going to be seeing Johnson and Rice in a lot of sentences together.

9. In my very own perfect world, talent and ego would always be inversely related. If there was an NFL team that epitomized this philosophy, it would be the Texans, a roster full of quiet, dignified and dominant stars. Schaub, Williams, DeMeco Ryans, Johnson, Owen Daniels -- these are the kinds of players, people and personalities we all say we want as role models while we're checking to see if Chad Ochocinco has tweeted anything else about his next reality TV show.

10. You'd be crazy not to worry about Rashard Butler having to replace suspended tackle Duane Brown for four weeks, starting with this week's matchup against Dallas' DeMarcus Ware. This is going to get a lot of pre-game attention but in the end, Mario Williams will end up doing more damage on Sunday.

11. Most good teams have star players like Johnson. Great teams have a cast of supporting characters who force opponents to pick their poison. When the Redskins focused on stopping Johnson in Week 2, fellow wideout Kevin Walter had 11 catches for 144 yards and a TD. Houston WR Jacoby Jones is capable of the same kind of breakout day against Dallas. Although I think it will probably be Pro Bowl tight end Owen Daniels. Adjust your fantasy rosters accordingly. (You can thank me later.)

12. The Cowboys will have to use an extra corner to double Johnson (who is hobbled with an ankle injury), roll a safety over top, or protect underneath with a linebacker. (Considering how uncertain Wade Phillips seems to be, my guess is he'll try all three -- probably all at once.) And because Johnson requires a constant double-team, that means the Texans will be playing 10 on nine on offense, which will allow them to commit an extra blocker to help Butler in the pass rush. Advantage: Texans.
In the end, what I think says the most about the Texans' long-awaited rise is just how little this supposed "rivalry" game means to the franchise. Dallas is the team in turmoil. Dallas is staring at an insurmountable 0-3. Dallas is desperate.

If the Texans are finally for real, Sunday's game should be far more yawn than yeehaw for Houston.

Link: http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/insider/news/story?id=5610609&action=upsell&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fnfl %2finsider%2fnews%2fstory%3fid%3d5610609

CloakNNNdagger
09-25-2010, 08:00 PM
Link: http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/insider/news/story?id=5610609&action=upsell&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fnfl %2finsider%2fnews%2fstory%3fid%3d5610609


Nice find.


12. The Cowboys will have to use an extra corner to double Johnson (who is hobbled with an ankle injury), roll a safety over top, or protect underneath with a linebacker. (Considering how uncertain Wade Phillips seems to be, my guess is he'll try all three -- probably all at once.) And because Johnson requires a constant double-team, that means the Texans will be playing 10 on nine on offense, which will allow them to commit an extra blocker to help Butler in the pass rush.

This fact along with my feeling that Butler will show us that he can hold his own, will help fulfill the winning prophesy.

Dutchrudder
09-25-2010, 08:02 PM
Fun read, I love our team basking in the sunlight of the sports media :D

brakos82
09-25-2010, 08:04 PM
Fun read, I love our team basking in the positive sunlight of the sports media :D

Fixed. :bubbles:

mattieuk
09-25-2010, 08:09 PM
8. Did you know that in 19 NFL seasons Jerry Rice piled up 15 games with 10 catches and 100 yards receiving, and that in eight seasons Andre Johnson already has 14? By the time he's done, we're going to be seeing Johnson and Rice in a lot of sentences together.

We'll be hearing them in the same sentences very soon, as AJ starts toppling the records.

We're going to have to start getting used to AJ getting a lot more love. He would be the main mention about our team in past years, but now we're being talked about more, he is going to be getting a lot of exposure in the national media.

infantrycak
09-25-2010, 08:37 PM
We'll be hearing them in the same sentences very soon, as AJ starts toppling the records.

He is sharing records already with HOF names.

Tied with Marvin Harrison as only two players back to back 1500 yd seasons.
Tied with Jerry Rice as only two players back to back league leading seasons.
2nd fastest to 600 receptions to Marvin Harrison.

One can only imagine where he would be if he hadn't spent 4 of his 7 seasons with someone whose name will never be compared to Manning or Montana.

mattieuk
09-25-2010, 08:40 PM
He is sharing records already with HOF names.

Tied with Marvin Harrison as only two players back to back 1500 yd seasons.
Tied with Jerry Rice as only two players back to back league leading seasons.
2nd fastest to 600 receptions to Marvin Harrison.

One can only imagine where he would be if he hadn't spent 4 of his 7 seasons with someone whose name will never be compared to Manning or Montana.

Urgh. If AJ had been playing with Matty (as Schaub is playing now), well his stats would just be freaking scary!

gtexan02
09-25-2010, 08:58 PM
Urgh. If AJ had been playing with Matty (as Schaub is playing now), well his stats would just be freaking scary!

I think thats one reason he decided to stay with Houston long term. I think he recognizes the connection he and Schaub have. Its something pretty unique and special

Look how Fitzgerald is performing now that Warner is gone. I think thats the perfect explanation for why AJ is superior to him

JB
09-25-2010, 09:00 PM
This is what I liked to read...

9. In my very own perfect world, talent and ego would always be inversely related. If there was an NFL team that epitomized this philosophy, it would be the Texans, a roster full of quiet, dignified and dominant stars. Schaub, Williams, DeMeco Ryans, Johnson, Owen Daniels -- these are the kinds of players, people and personalities we all say we want as role models while we're checking to see if Chad Ochocinco has tweeted anything else about his next reality TV show.

And also...

In the end, what I think says the most about the Texans' long-awaited rise is just how little this supposed "rivalry" game means to the franchise. Dallas is the team in turmoil. Dallas is staring at an insurmountable 0-3. Dallas is desperate.

drs23
09-25-2010, 09:00 PM
Thanks GB. I'm not an Insider so I wouldn't have seen it at all. Good read.

MEGA SWATT
09-25-2010, 10:00 PM
Awesome, thanks!!!!!!!!:goodpost:

Brisco_County
09-25-2010, 11:26 PM
One thing not mentioned is that Kubiak finally has most of the players and all the personnel he has wanted, who all believe in the same philosophy, and optimally execute it.

barrett
09-25-2010, 11:29 PM
I'm most excited about starting to read this in national publications more and more:

9. In my very own perfect world, talent and ego would always be inversely related. If there was an NFL team that epitomized this philosophy, it would be the Texans, a roster full of quiet, dignified and dominant stars. Schaub, Williams, DeMeco Ryans, Johnson, Owen Daniels -- these are the kinds of players, people and personalities we all say we want as role models while we're checking to see if Chad Ochocinco has tweeted anything else about his next reality TV show.

Word is getting out about the character of this team. I look forward to the day that the national media recognizes how special Kubiak is as a modest leader.

JB
09-25-2010, 11:30 PM
One thing not mentioned is that Kubiak finally has most of the players and all the personnel he has wanted, who all believe in the same philosophy, and optimally execute it.

And the coaches he wanted. I think that plays a large role also.

Thorn
09-25-2010, 11:33 PM
And the coaches he wanted. I think that plays a large role also.

Yeah, Kubes finally has the coaches he wanted all along.

JB
09-26-2010, 12:01 AM
Yeah, Kubes finally has the coaches he wanted all along.

I am not totally sure that this is our year. But we are close... we are real close man!

eriadoc
09-26-2010, 12:10 AM
I feel like I should change my signature line to a Winston Wolf quote.

Jeff S.
09-26-2010, 01:38 AM
I am not totally sure that this is our year. But we are close... we are real close man!

I'm absolutely loving (almost) everything about the Texans this year, so far. And this is totally a side note, but just think how cool it will be next April, when we can draft to fill one or two problem areas, and then fill out the depth--instead of having critical needs all over the place, on both sides of the ball.

TheMatrix31
09-26-2010, 02:13 AM
#9 is the reason I'm a Houston Texans fan.

wagonhed
09-26-2010, 02:44 AM
#9 is the reason I'm a Houston Texans fan.
#9 isn't the reason I'm a fan, but it's definitely the thing I'm proud of above all else.

TheMatrix31
09-26-2010, 03:53 AM
#9 isn't the reason I'm a fan, but it's definitely the thing I'm proud of above all else.


Well yes, you're right. That's what I mean.

whiskeyrbl
09-26-2010, 06:58 AM
Nice article, but I still don't like BSPN.

GP
09-26-2010, 12:33 PM
Rep to GB. Thanks a lot, pal.

I enjoyed reading that.

Gotta' hand it to the national sports media, they really know how to ease into jumping all over a team's jock when the team starts winning regularly. All of them are big Texans believers...now.

I think that's what is most satisfying, for me. We've all sat here and debated the finer points of the team over the course of its existence. We eat it, drink it, breathe it, and sleep it. We all know what our issues are, what our weaknesses are, what our strengths are, and what our potential is.

And so the rest of the country finally seems ready to try and learn more about us, instead of throwing out some tired and worn out "statements" about us that are not (and maybe never were) relevant and accurate.

This team finally has the stank of David Carr and the Capers/Casserly era off of it. I know some people here don't think Dom Capers had much to do with our mediocre (due to him having an expansion team to work with) but I think overall he didn't have a staff around him like this one we have now. And I think this staff drafts very smart and very strategic for what it needs in order to run the offense and defense we are running. In the past, it felt like we were experimenting with draft picks. Now, we know who we want. Big time.

I'm just so pumped right now.

Ranger Tom
09-26-2010, 04:28 PM
Are we still legit? Will we need to wait until the Raiders game for a solid answer to that?

ziggy29
09-26-2010, 04:28 PM
An ESPN jinx. Who'da thunk it?

GuerillaBlack
09-26-2010, 04:29 PM
Are we still legit? Will we need to wait until the Raiders game for a solid answer to that?

We played a VERY talented Cowboys team that just didn't show any passion. Today they did and the Texans came out flat. If we take out our frustration on Oakland next week and win that game with ease, it'll be all good in Houston again.