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Old 10-07-2008   #1
Hervoyel
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Default Tuesday I woke up and realized that I was looking at progress.

Sunday was what it was. "They were who we thought they were" so to speak and now after a long day of thought about what happened and what's been happening I'm going to tell all of you what I think (and if you're not interested the back button on your browser works like it always has).

I've seen this before. I recognize what's happening here. I've seen it happen in the past when the previous Houston NFL team was trying to pull it's collective ass out of a near decade long losing binge. In that game the part of Sage Rosenfels was played by one Ian Howfield and the "meltdown" was the far more common case of a kicker losing a game that his team had fought hard to win. It was bad and kind of made you sick but it didn't hold a candle to the clinic in stupidity that Sage put on Sunday. It was however the same kind of game.

When the Oilers were somewhere between bad and respectable these kinds of games were commonplace. You would see the team go on the road, not show up, and get the snot beat out of them 4-5 times a year just like the Texans did in Pittsburgh. Instead of Schaub throwing interceptions in batches it was Moon doing it but the Oilers lost quite a few games just like we saw the Texans lose in Tennessee a few weeks ago. Long drives ending in turnovers were frustratingly common for most of Jerry Glanville's early reign as coach of the Oilers. Prior to that from 1981 to 1985 you had Ed Biles, Chuck Studley, and Hugh Campbell and all together they won something like 12 games in 4 and a half years. Think of them as the Dom Capers regime was to the Texans. They were all going nowhere fast.

Then Glanville made a little progress and the Oilers started winning at home on a pretty consistent basis. They were 5-11 for two years (one of which he split with Hugh Campbell) but then went 9-7, 10-6, and 9-7. That was just a bit over .500 but winning nonetheless. The thing was they never looked consistently good during those three years. Yes, they were winning but no, they weren't even close to the real "elite" teams of the era. They were capable of going out and destroying somebody one week and then rolling over for a bad opponent the next.

The Texans make me think of those Oilers with the way they played last year and the way this season is starting out. The real clincher was that game Sunday. That was my Déjà vu moment. Sage had that same look on his face that Howfield had and I don't mean to draw a big comparison between the two. I just want to point out that the entire team played that game to win it right up until one man screwed up big enough to lose it. When that happened you saw the Texans just fold up much like the old Oilers would when adversity came calling. Back then they weren't good enough or confident enough to ovecome something like that and you could probably argue that those Moon era Oilers never did get to that level. Right up until the end Moon could throw a few picks and the entire team would just fold up their tents and go home. Jerry Glanville didn’t have the coaching skill necessary to get the Oilers past that point. Jack Pardee didn’t have it either. If Jeff Fisher had arrived sooner then maybe we’d have seen a Super Bowl out of that bunch or maybe we wouldn’t have. Nobody will ever know the answer to that and it’s really not important at this stage of the game. Today we need to know if Gary Kubiak can get the team beyond that point. I don’t care if Sage Rosenfels can bounce back from this. I don’t care anything about him at all. As far as I’m concerned Sage is dead to me because he put himself before the team. All I care about now is whether or not the coaches can get the team to take another step up.

The loss to Indy represented a bit of progress to me (albeit an ugly one). The Texans will finish around .500 on the season this year. Now I know this to be true. They’ll win most of their games at home and steal a couple on the road and be 8-8 again or maybe 9-7. They’re making progress and one more draft should give them the talent they need to be as effective as any team in our conference. I really mean that too. The only question is can these coaches do anything with that talent. One guy losing one game doesn’t change that.

Sage Rosenfels fumbled the ball, fumbled the ball, and then threw the interception that sealed the loss. This one was all on him and nobody can deny that. The next time some imbecile tells you that Sage should be starting resist the urge to punch the fool in the mouth. You’d be right of course but it’s not worth the jail time. Sage killed that win just as effectively as if he’d missed a chip shot FG on the last play of the game and I think that it’s entirely appropriate to lay every single ounce of blame for this loss on his shoulders. I also think that it’s doing an injustice to the rest of the team to go off on some rambling tirade about how they’re cursed or how the head coach should be fired. One man alone did this by playing sloppy, undisciplined football. Sage wasn’t trying to win the game. The game was won. Sage wasn’t trying to help the team. The team (with Sage being a part of it) had beaten the Colts handily all day long up until that point. Sage was trying to win the starting QB spot. Sage was trying to help himself.
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Old 10-07-2008   #2
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Default Re: Tuesday I woke up and realized that I was looking at progress.

Wow...Pretty good post...

I pretty much feel the exact same way...


A super heroic effort at that juncture in the game was not needed and only would have benefitted Sage....
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Old 10-07-2008   #3
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Default Re: Tuesday I woke up and realized that I was looking at progress.

One big diff Howfield was cut the next day. The Texans havent dont anything like that ever.
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Old 10-07-2008   #4
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Default Re: Tuesday I woke up and realized that I was looking at progress.

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One big diff Howfield was cut the next day. The Texans havent dont anything like that ever.
Yes, because nothing sends a message like cutting a crappy kicker in the NFL.
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Old 10-07-2008   #5
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Default Re: Tuesday I woke up and realized that I was looking at progress.

I was pretty pissed, I must say - spewing off that I would not watch them anymore..blablahblah.

But you know what, you are right. It wasn't the entire Texans that threw this game. It was one man's mistakes. Usually I would say that you win as a team and lose as a team, but when something like this happens - it is obvious.

When is the last time the Texans even got up 17 points on the Colts? Never - we are seeing progress. When is the last time we had a near hundred yard rusher? Steve Slaton made us a better team overnight.
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Old 10-07-2008   #6
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Default Re: Tuesday I woke up and realized that I was looking at progress.

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When is the last time the Texans even got up 17 points on the Colts? Never - we are seeing progress. When is the last time we had a near hundred yard rusher? Steve Slaton made us a better team overnight.
Don't forget that we started the game down by ten...
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Old 10-07-2008   #7
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Default Re: Tuesday I woke up and realized that I was looking at progress.

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Originally Posted by Hervoyel View Post

The loss to Indy represented a bit of progress to me (albeit an ugly one). The Texans will finish around .500 on the season this year. Now I know this to be true. They’ll win most of their games at home and steal a couple on the road and be 8-8 again or maybe 9-7. They’re making progress and one more draft should give them the talent they need to be as effective as any team in our conference. I really mean that too. The only question is can these coaches do anything with that talent. One guy losing one game doesn’t change that.

Sage Rosenfels fumbled the ball, fumbled the ball, and then threw the interception that sealed the loss. This one was all on him and nobody can deny that. The next time some imbecile tells you that Sage should be starting resist the urge to punch the fool in the mouth. You’d be right of course but it’s not worth the jail time. Sage killed that win just as effectively as if he’d missed a chip shot FG on the last play of the game and I think that it’s entirely appropriate to lay every single ounce of blame for this loss on his shoulders. I also think that it’s doing an injustice to the rest of the team to go off on some rambling tirade about how they’re cursed or how the head coach should be fired. One man alone did this by playing sloppy, undisciplined football. Sage wasn’t trying to win the game. The game was won. Sage wasn’t trying to help the team. The team (with Sage being a part of it) had beaten the Colts handily all day long up until that point. Sage was trying to win the starting QB spot. Sage was trying to help himself.
i agree with what you're saying. i want this game to be another sign of progress rather than a sign of a curse. the problem i have is the players are gonna have to be very mentally tough to keep their confidence up enough to finish the season after this one, in my opinion, and that hasn't seemed to be our strong suit to date. these losses can be incredibly demoralizing, i just hope our guys look at the bright side.
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Old 10-07-2008   #8
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Default Re: Tuesday I woke up and realized that I was looking at progress.

Nice historical perspective and good analysis.
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Old 10-07-2008   #9
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Default Re: Tuesday I woke up and realized that I was looking at progress.

i felt the exact same way... except it was monday morning

although its infuriatingly frustrating, we need to quit complaining and realise for the first time ever, we're right on the brink of having a habitual contender
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Old 10-07-2008   #10
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Default Re: Tuesday I woke up and realized that I was looking at progress.

Nice post Herv, BUT, I realized we were making progress when we played the Jags. Our boys looked good against the Colts, IMHO, and I am proud of the effort they ALL made. Regardless of whatever was going through Sage's head at the time, I saw a competitivie team on the field, one that held their own against a good Colts team. Hopefully we can all look forward instead of backward, and help our team just by hanging in there with them.

As for the last paragraph of your post, remember, Sage was just trying to EXECUTE whatever play that was sent in to him from Kubiak. NO, he didn't pull it off, BUT, he shouldn't have been sent a passing play in the first place. IMHO. I'm not defending Sage either. I just think he was trying to hard to make something happen. I don't see him doing what he did just for himself. He is a super nice guy, and I just don't believe he was putting himself before the team. Regardless, it really doesn't matter what we think, all that matter's is what the team thinks.
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Old 10-07-2008   #11
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Default Re: Tuesday I woke up and realized that I was looking at progress.

We all remember a time when Sunday would come around and we would say let's see if the other team can look past us enough that we can sneak a win by. In the last two years we have actually suited up on Sunday and said this is one we can win if we keep our heads in the game (this doesn't make us a great team, but it makes us one we can defend as fans). We are just so jaded by 2002-2005 that we are still using that we are cursed mentality.

That is why it was a tough loss. We know we can be better now, but in the past we hoped we made it through a game.



Great post, here's to 12 more games ahead.
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Old 10-07-2008   #12
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Default Re: Tuesday I woke up and realized that I was looking at progress.

I was at the game on Sunday and I was livid, but when I watched the highlights that night, it hit me that we were just watching Sage being Sage.

The guy's always been a gambler. This time his luck ran out 3 times in a row. If anything, I have respect for him not "playing not to lose." The same kind of play is what Brett Favre is known for. He's come up short before too.

Now, I don't have any ill will towards any players or coaches. They all showed up on Sunday. I'll just chalk this one up to "**** happens."
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Old 10-07-2008   #13
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Default Re: Tuesday I woke up and realized that I was looking at progress.

I think it's hypothetical to say that Sage did what he did in order to win the starting the job.

I saw a guy trying to extend the drive and put the game away. I think it's hard to position yourself inside the head of Sage when he decided to do what he did. I would like to think that instincts took over when he began to run and saw he was near the first down marker.

I really like your post, Herv. It's the most level-headed post (by anyone here) since Saturday.

So...please don't punch me in the mouth if I don't completely agree that Sage was trying to "win" a starting job that I think we all know has n-e-v-e-r been up for grabs in the first place. Schaub was sick, and he was going to be back at the controls for the Miami game no matter what happened.

That's how Kubiak rolls.
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Old 10-07-2008   #14
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Default Re: Tuesday I woke up and realized that I was looking at progress.

We suck again. Miami will win the next game.
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Old 10-07-2008   #15
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Default Re: Tuesday I woke up and realized that I was looking at progress.

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We suck again. Miami will win the next game.
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Old 10-07-2008   #16
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Default Re: Tuesday I woke up and realized that I was looking at progress.

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I was at the game on Sunday and I was livid, but when I watched the highlights that night, it hit me that we were just watching Sage being Sage.

The guy's always been a gambler. This time his luck ran out 3 times in a row. If anything, I have respect for him not "playing not to lose." The same kind of play is what Brett Favre is known for. He's come up short before too.

Now, I don't have any ill will towards any players or coaches. They all showed up on Sunday. I'll just chalk this one up to "**** happens."
Even the most degenerate gamblers know when to make the safe bet. "Playing not to lose" when the game is in doubt is admirable. "Playing not to lose" when you have the game won is inexcusable.

Kubiak said that they talked about the importance of taking care of the ball and, if necessary, punting in the timeout right before the play. So that's not a failure in coaching. That is 100% on Sage: he was given precise orders and defied them. But even that pre-catastrophe conversation should not have been necessary: a QB that had to be told, in that situation, to avoid a turnover at all costs probably needs another line of work. But Sage was told and decided to impersonate Reggie Bush (right down to the lost fumble) anyway.

The best explanation (from Sage's perspective) is that he was defying the coach in an effort to win the job. That kind of calculated insubordination can be punished and eradicated. But if it was truly "his competitive nature taking over" (Kubiak's phrase in his afternoon interview on 610 yesterday), then how can any coach trust Sage again? If he let his "nature" get the best of his coaching in THAT situation, then when can he ever be trusted?

That this team is sooo freaking close to being very good makes this loss even harder. We took one of the best teams in the NFL over the last decade and systematically imposed our will. Our running game looked outstanding while our heretofore uncertain defense made (arguably) the best QB in NFL history look ordinary. But Sage single-handedly threw it all away because either (1) he deliberately disobeyed his coach or (2) his "nature" forced a braincramp of epic proportions.
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Old 10-07-2008   #17
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Default Re: Tuesday I woke up and realized that I was looking at progress.

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Nice post Herv, BUT, I realized we were making progress when we played the Jags. Our boys looked good against the Colts, IMHO, and I am proud of the effort they ALL made. Regardless of whatever was going through Sage's head at the time, I saw a competitivie team on the field, one that held their own against a good Colts team. Hopefully we can all look forward instead of backward, and help our team just by hanging in there with them.

As for the last paragraph of your post, remember, Sage was just trying to EXECUTE whatever play that was sent in to him from Kubiak. NO, he didn't pull it off, BUT, he shouldn't have been sent a passing play in the first place. IMHO. I'm not defending Sage either. I just think he was trying to hard to make something happen. I don't see him doing what he did just for himself. He is a super nice guy, and I just don't believe he was putting himself before the team. Regardless, it really doesn't matter what we think, all that matter's is what the team thinks.
That Bootleg "Helicopter" play was a run-pass option.
It was the correct call, because he had set it up by
running for 1-yard gains in the same direction on the
previous two downs.

EVERYbody bit on the bootleg.
He did NOT execute the play correctly. He was to throw
the ball ONLY if the TE (Daniels) was WIDE open. If nothing
was there, he was to dive into the turf to KEEP THE CLOCK
MOVING. Sage's f-up was NOT on Kubiak.
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Old 10-07-2008   #18
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Default Re: Tuesday I woke up and realized that I was looking at progress.

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As for the last paragraph of your post, remember, Sage was just trying to EXECUTE whatever play that was sent in to him from Kubiak. NO, he didn't pull it off, BUT, he shouldn't have been sent a passing play in the first place. IMHO. I'm not defending Sage either. I just think he was trying to hard to make something happen.
Horsepuckeys.

Kubiak's decision-making in the first three games played a significant role in those losses, but the Monday morning quarterbacks who still think that bootleg was a terrible play to call in that situation need to wake up and realize it's Tuesday.

A fair, reasonable assessment of that decision must account for the context in which it was made. Despite the foolishly premature celebration that took place in Sunday's gameday thread, that game was not over. The Texans held a ten-point lead with four minutes left against one of the best quarterbacks ever and a team the Texans have beaten only once in franchise history. A first down ices the game, but ball protection is top priority. You've just run it consecutive plays and gained a paltry two yards. It's 3rd and 8, you have two tights in the game, they're expecting a running play up the middle or to the right. The critics insist the correct play is to run it up the gut into the middle of the stacked box because that's the safe, conservative play, but that essentially concedes a three-and-out, and it also puts the running back in the middle of a swarm of defenders punching, twisting, and ripping at the ball.

The bootleg Kubiak called was just as safe (if not more) as the running play not called. The play put Rosenfels in the open field, ten yards from the nearest defender. He had the option of throwing to his primary target (OD) for a big gain and the win, or he could just play it safe and tuck the ball and run. Which running play is safer? The one up the middle into a pack of waiting defenders, or the surprise bootleg that gives the quarterback plenty of space to pick up some yards before sliding down?

Blaming Kubiak for Sage's poor decision to actually run towards contact is asinine.
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Old 10-07-2008   #19
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Default Re: Tuesday I woke up and realized that I was looking at progress.

Nice post as usual Herv...it's always pleasant to read your insight and perspective into issues and the like.

Don't think I am prepared to agree on the part regarding Sage though...not that that matters any.
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Old 10-07-2008   #20
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Default Re: Tuesday I woke up and realized that I was looking at progress.

Lest we also not forget that we have the second youngest team in the NFL.
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