Sunday, September 27, 2009

A French Surrender...

What to make of the 2009 Houston Texans. Let's look at what we have so far...

A stinker, followed by an defining win, followed by a stinker. And, what a stinker it was....Not only did the Texans come out (again) flat and uninspired, but the defense looked like a group of practice squad players dressed up as an NFL team, the offense is spotty and unimaginative, and the coaching is sub-par...and that's being nice. A week after finding their heart against the Titans, the Texans lost it again vs. the 0-2 Jaguars.

Since this has become something of a habit, let's throw out some grades....

Quarterback: C-
Schaub under pressure is looking more and more like a second-tier quarterback. Not only that but, if he keeps getting hit, odds are the sex cannon is going to get to fire his shot before long.

Running Backs: D+
There were signs of life in the running game this week, but big play after big play wasn't made by the Texans duo. Add Chris Brown's drive ending fumble and ain't pretty.

Wide Receivers: B-
Nice to see Kevin Walter back out there, and Owen Daniels had a decent game, but too often the receivers are covered and don't seem to be working hard enough to get open. They get a passing grade in this game, but they have to get better fast for the Texans to win.

Offensive Line: F
Whiffs, no surge, no nothing. Right now the Texans O-line isn't really doing anything worth mention...if you subscribe to the "If you can't say anything nice" axiom. As for me? I'm just tired of talking about it.

Defensive Line: F
Zero sacks, and Maurice Jones-Drew had three rushing touchdowns. For all of the money the Texans have invested in the D-line you'd think they could rate out passing at least once this season. I'm starting to have my doubts. The only D-lineman playing worth a damn is Tim Bulman.

Linebackers: C-
It was bound to happen, Brian Cushing had a terrible game. After all he is a rookie. What I didn't expect was for the rest of the LB's to look so bad.

Defensive Backfield: F-
Let's see, where to start? Missed coverages, poor tackling, terrible run support angles. Dunta Robinson is starting to look like a perennial back-up (much less a $10 Million dollar man) and Busing doesn't seem to have a clue where to line up to defend a toss sweep. Fred Bennett and Dunta Robinson may be the worst two staring CB's in the entire league.

Coaching: F-
It's very simple: If you can't motivate a team after last week's win you shouldn't be coaching in the NFL period.

The offense scored 24, which should be enough to win an NFL game, unfortunately the Texans defense is terrible, borderline pathetic. Still, until the Texans improve their line play and running game they're not going to fare well against most any team in the NFL.

It's going to be a long season.

See Red

It was a big win on a big stage for the Cougars, one that long-time program supporters never stopped believing, in the quiet places of their hearts, would come to Cullen Ave. again. Sure there were the requisite 'heartbreak' moments (How many of the Cougar faithful thought "Oh no" after the questionable penalty that nullified an interception?) but in the end this Cougar team, coached by Kevin Sumlin, put to rest all of the ghosts of Cougar past and gave the school its biggest football win possibly ever.

Yes, during the Run n' Shoot days, there were big wins over the University of Texas. In the meaningful games however, games against Hurricanes or blitzing Aggies or Catholics led by Joe Montana, UH often came up just a little short under the bright lights of the National glare. UH has always been just on the edge of the National football conscience, just outside of the periphery, just off the radar.

All of that has changed this season, first with the win over OSU in Stillwater and then against the Wiley old Pirate on National TV in a game that pundits were salivating over. All of this changed because of a coach named Sumlin, a quarterback named Case and a pack of fast, very fast, young talent that's got something UH football has lacked for decades: Discipline.

Make no mistake about it, these are not the same Cougars you saw unprepared for games during the Art Briles era. Teams that were more likely to shoot themselves in the foot in big games than score touchdowns. This is a team whose strength is forged in the kiln of Coach Jackson's strength program, whose game plan has been designed by one of the best coaches in the College game.

Yes, this success is about the players, but it's also about Kevin Sumlin, a coach who's certain to be coveted at the end of the year by big-time programs with big-time budgets. It's about a University that's learned what it means to win, or what it takes to build a winner. UH isn't a 'helmet team' but they are a good team. Probably a top-ten team in the Country.

The fruits of this win will probably be a national ranking in the 12-14 range, which is too low. I have them in the 9-10 range, although I heard Mark May of ESPN put them at five last night. That's heady stuff for a team that, just a few years prior, was playing in front of 15,000 fans and had people wondering if D-1A was in their immediate future.

Next up is the Conference-USA schedule, games that won't have the hype or cache of the OSU and Tech games, but games that are going to be of heightened importance if UH wants to really cash in and take the B(C)S by storm.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Up. Set.

One by one they fall, those pretenders to the throne of power in College Football.

First it was #3 Oklahoma, the Sooners felled by the Cougars of Brigham Young. Beaten out in a game that unveiled Jerry World and gave us the "stache, 2009". That upset was followed by The #5 Ranked Oklahoma State Cowboy's loss at home to the (then) unranked Houston Cougars. Then came #3 ranked USC beaten by injury and a former coach, who has taken a winless team from the prior year and molded them into a Top 25 contender.

Which brings us to last night, an ESPN game featuring another top 5 team on the road. This time it was #4 Ole Miss getting upset by a Steve Spurrier-coached team whose offense is more closely resembling a pop-gun, than the old Fun n' Gun featured at Florida.

What does all this prove?

That pre-season rankings are worthless. 100% worthless.

For that matter, so are any rankings that may be out there that are generated absent a head to head matchup.

While it's true that arguments against the B(C)S system took a body blow after BYU and Utah got thier helmets handed to them by Florida State and Oregon respectively, the utter irrelevence of the pre-season polls is the main reason why the system still has its detractors.

Notre Dame? A paper tiger. Built on the hopes and dreams of the considerable influence of their alumni base.

USC? Overrated every year. Ranked high because they recruit, and because everyone really likes Pete Carroll. What's not reported is that Mr. Carroll performs as poorly in spotlight games as does Jim Tressell.

Ole Miss? C'mon. They've got a stout defense, one REALLY good offensive player (McClusker almost single-handidly won that game last night) and a QB (Jevon Snead) who couldn't beat out Mark Sanchez and Colt McCoy respectively. Oh, they have a coach. Who's widely acknowledged as a genius, but who hasn't won anything to speak of. (yet, I'm a believer in Houston Nutt, and think he will eventually win something, although not this year)

About the only thing that we "know" right now is that Florida deserves to be ranked number one. This is not because of their play on the field this year, but because they are the defending champions and bring a lot of talent back. You can't be the man until you beat the man...and so on. Outside of that all of the top 25 rankings are meaningless. Especially the Sports Information Director's er...coaches poll, which pretty much has no basis in reality.

Which is why the B(C)S still is in scramble mode, because it's basing its rankings on a poll with no connection to what fans are watching on TV. It's a mess of a system designed not to find a champion, but to find the most profitable matchups for the networks. It's big business come to an amateur sport whose governing body is insistent on ignoring the business surrounding the games.

In short, it's a mess, much like pre-season rankings.

I'll start ranking teams after week 5, when conference play is well underway and we have a better idea of who's where in the pecking order.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rockets Redux

Red and yellow by flickr user drewstephens used via a creative commons liscense.
Remember the Houston Rockets?

Of course you do. They're Houston's NBA team. You know, the one's that used to dress up like condiments.

What's that? You didn't live in Houston during that time period?

Well...that's OK, our sports media is going to make sure you don't forget.

Just remember to Practice safe lunch and wear a condiment OK?

Thank you.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Zierlein nails it.

The Astros are a lost cause.

If you want to know why they are a lost cause then you need look no further than the top of the organization, no...higher. That's right, Drayton McLane and Tal Smith. Those are the black-hats in the Western drama that has become the Astros organization of late. Those two men have done more to wreck the organization from within than anyone else, more than Tim Puprua, more than Scrap Iron and certainly more than Cecil Cooper, whose recent firing is similar to trying to solve the grafitti problem by punishing the victim.

I'm not suggesting that Coop was blameless, he certainly didn't have the tools to be a major league manager. The problem was that he shouldn't have been put in that position in the first place. Yes, he didn't have a quality car in the race, I give you that, but he shouldn't have been racing in this circuit to begin with.

Then we have the writer of wrongs who feels that a love for the game and Brad Ausmus is all the Astros need. Nevermind pitching, defense, someway out from under the bloated contract of Carlos Lee, etc. The Astros could resurrect Casey Stengal and he couldn't even get this collection of misfits over .500 (something that Cooper was at least able to do last year.)

Did he lose the players? Obviously, especially if they were wearing "really?" T-shirts under their uniforms and texting reporters (Justice among others) every time Cooper made a decision they didn't like. The thing is, no quality manager is going to want to go into a clubhouse full of spoiled children, no matter what the terms of the contract are.

What all of this probably means is that the Astros are going to end up hiring Dave Clark, who (we're told) has the respect of the clubhouse. (despite the team losing two straight since he took over, in blowout fashion) Next year we'll be told that the Astros are "competing for a championship and they'll bring in some wheezing wind-bag of a .500 career pitcher (Is Kenny Rodgers available?) some spit and bailing wire and tell us the Astros are ready to contend. They'll do this because Drayton McLane wants to turn a profit, while convincing anyone who will still listen to his schtick that he's all about winning a championship.

He's not, of course, but he is about selling tickets and concessions, something that the Astros have done fairly well up until this year. In Drayton (and Tal's) mind a rebuilding year means lost revenue, lost concessions sales and is unacceptable. It's something that's probably not even brought up in Astros board meetings. Which is too bad, because it's what desperately needs to be done.

Were the Astros serious about winning that is. Which, of course, they're not, otherwise you'd have seen Oswalt, Berkman and Tejada on the trading block before the deadline, having provided Ed Wade with a list of teams for which they'd waive their no-trade clauses.

You won't see that though, because that's not something that "makes you a champion today". You know, sort of like Tal's Hill and putting a flag pole in the field of play.

Oh, and raising beer prices.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Texans find their heart

Wow, so there is a sense of "want it" boiling in the cauldron of the Texans. Good for them. After the Jets debacle Texans fans everywhere questioned whether or not this team had the constitution necessary to be a winner. The answer, it appears, is yes. What they still lack is coaching ability, and talent at key positions.

Look aside all of the Texans cheerleading in the media this week and there are still huge questions that the Texans are going to have to answer. More of that as we hand out grades:

Quarterback: A-
Schaub had a career high in touchdowns and showed a spine by standing up in the face of the Titan's rush. He had a good, albeit not perfect, game. While an A+ (John McClain's grade) would ignore his early game struggles and missed reads it's not too much to say that this was Schaub's best game as a Texan.

Running Back: D-
Not only were the running stats anemic (63 yards on 22 carries) but their blitz pick-ups were spotty as well. Granted, some of this is on the O-line, but the running game needs to improve.

Wide Receivers & Tight Ends: B
Good game by Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels and Jacoby Jones. David Anderson gets marks for providing the team with a much needed spark (and for taking on Vanden Bosch) but too many dropped passes prevent this group from getting an A.

Offensive Line: C+
Still can't figure out how to open holes for the running game. Did a better job with pass protection but Schaub was under a lot of pressure. High marks for rebounding from the Chester Pitts injury however.

Defensive Line: D
The Texans pass rush is non-existent. For most of the game Collins could have built a campfire and made s'mores for all the time he had. Run defense is a problem.

Linebackers: C+
The best part of a Texan's defense that is leaking oil. Cushing and Ryans were everywhere, unless Chris Johnson was outrunning them. To be fair though that will happen to a lot of people.

Defensive backfield: D+
Dunta Robinson was terrible early, and then the Titans stopped throwing his way which suggests his coverage improved. Bryce McCain shouldn't be on an NFL roster, and the busted coverage on the Chris Johnson waltz-in for the touchdown was inexcusable. Add to that the fact that the DB's seem to have no concept of proper pursuit angles for run defense, and you have the makings of some high-scoring games this season.

Coaching: D-
Once again the Texans came out flat, unprepared and faced an uphill battle. Does anyone know what Gary Kubiak was doing when Johnson went uncovered? Nose in the playbook not paying attention to the game? A real head coach would have seen that and had the presence of mind to turn to the sideline official and say "Time out". It's a testament to the new found heart of the Texans players that they won this game, not to the intelligence of the coaching staff.


I was sad to see Chester Pitts go down with a knee injury in the 3rd quarter. Here's a guy who's been with the Texans since day one and has not missed a game due to injury. Good guy, good DL, and here's wishing him a speedy recovery.

Before you get too excited remember this: Most of the people making their season picks had the Texans winning vs. the Jets and losing this game. All this win does is get the Texans back on schedule. 9-7 is a reality again.

If there is anything sillier than Vanden Bosch and his red contact lenses I can't think of it right now. It was fitting that David Anderson was pushing him around by the end of the game.

The Titans defense is really missing Alert Haynsworth. I'll bet they wish they had that free agent decision back.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

B(C)S Busters Busted

So BYU was a paper Cougar and Utah got punched out by Oregon. That leaves Boise State, TCU and the Houston Cougars as the B(C)S "busters" left standing.

Week 3 also tore a big hole in the reputation of the Mountain West Conference, considered by many (including me) to be the 3rd or 4th best conference in the land prior to this weekend.

The WAC? Boise State and everyone else. C-USA? Well...there's Houston. Tulsa got rolled as did ECU, both losing big in games they needed to win in order to bolster their National reputation.

What this leaves us with is a TCU team that appears to have issues on defense, and a Houston team that's facing a stiff test next week against a Texas Tech team coming off a dishearening loss to Texas. (Disheartening that is, for Tech, Longhorn partisans are ecstatic today.)

The ideal situation for the Coogs is a resounding win over Tech, followed with a dominating run through a weakened C-USA. The reality is: Tech's offense, while struggling, is still stiff, and their defense is going to be stronger than anything they have faced so far.

This week will be filled with a lot of fluff and run up to the Tech/Houston game this weekend, The Chron's sportswriters will be falling all over themselves trying to convince reader's they've been fans all along, especially Richard Justice, who might take a break from servicing Mack Brown to cover the local angle for a while. Then he'll go back to servicing Mack Brown.

Regardless of what happens next week, those of us hoping the B(C)S system will crash and burn lost a big battle in the war yesterday. Until the "Non-automatic qualifier" conferences step up in big games, the system will stay exactly as it is.

I will say this, it's still better than the travesty that is the NFL, where I'm stuck with one option: The Texans playing sub-par football against the Titans. At least yesterday I could take my pick of the best games of the day.

Off for a long bike ride. It's too pretty outside today to watch the Texans fall apart again.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bye Roy.

Another season, more missed time for Roy Oswalt. *Sigh*

I like Oswalt as much as the next Astros fan. He's been one hell of an ace for the team for quite a few years now. Unfortunately, I believe his best days as a pitcher are behind him. After all, when you generate that much velocity from a frame that small things eventually have to wear out and start breaking down. Because the Astros are who they are (and Houston has the small-town sports mentality that it does) the opportunity to trade Oswalt, and get top dollar for him in return, is probably gone. It's easy, at first glance, to blame this on Drayton MacLane and his refusal to put the team into rebuilding mode. Easy, but probably not entirely accurate.

Houston is a town that grows too attached to its stars. As I stated earlier, for being the 4th largest City in America we're certainly small-town when it comes to our sports teams. We love our heroes, and we expect them to stay. We expect the teams to show loyalty and the players to reciprocate. Maybe Houston has been spoiled through the Biggio and Bagwell age, but we've also seen what happens when stars hand on too long. The Rockets faced this dilemma, and they let an aging Hakeem Olajuwan finish his fading career with the Toronto Raptors.

Give the word to blow up the team Drayton, otherwise you're going to lose all of the goodwill that you accumulated during the team's playoff runs.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

You stay classy Texans Fans

Let's see.

My team is getting housed, I overpaid for these tickets, parking, beer and a mediocre hot dog.

What's left to do?

Ah...I got it. Make an idiot out of myself on National TV.

Mission accomplished.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A novel concept: "Pay me Dunta!"

With all of the furor over Dunta Robinson's "Pay me Rick!" game one shenanigans you'd think the guy was shut down corner. Or at least someone who made several tackles and pass defenses against the Jets.

Sadly, what Dunta made was a repuation for himself as a whiner and someone who doesn't take the game very seriously, at least not when he's making the paltry sum of $10 Million per. That's right, $10 Meeeeelion dollars, or more money than Brian Ching, and the latter had a better year. For those of you not paying attention, that's $625,000 per game, before taxes. Assuming a 35% tax rate on the highest tax bracket, his take-home pay is probably somewhere around $406K per game. Based on his stats for game one, that's 203K each for his one tackle and one pass defense. Good work if you can get it right?

Understanably Texans fans are a little just a wee bit riled up about a Multi-Meeeeelionaire grousing over his pay while people are losing their jobs. Unfortunately, I can't help you there Texans fan. But what I can do is look out for good ol' #1. Namely: me.

Therefore it is with little fanfare that I unveil the "Pay me Dunta!"/3CB football income plan.

In the event that Dunta Robinson does anyone of the following, I propose that he submit payment to me in the amount of $100:

Missed tackle
Blown coverage
Poor angle taken in run support
Flop on the ground like a fish out of water.

Based on game one I figure the "Pay me!" account is currently sitting at somewhere around $1,500. Granted, I haven't looked at the tape so that could be just for the flopping around on the ground account. Either way I think we'll call it even.

I understant that Dunta might be a tad bit reticent to pay money to a total stranger, therefore I would suggest that Bob McNair (whose not in it to make money after all) offer matching funds.

How will this help the Texans win games you ask?

Quick answer: It won't.

Not any more than Dunta getting paid will, at least at the level he's playing.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The foul stench of success. (I guess)

Red Whine by flickr user DRB62 used via a creative commons liscense.

First off: A hearty congratulations to the UH football team. It was a good win against a team that I had beating them soundly when I was putting together the records this year. Now the question becomes whether or not this team can handle properity. Obviously Oklahoma State could not. Whether or not UH can will depend mightily on the coaching staff*, and the character of the current crop of players.

However, if wouldn't be a UH win if there wasn't a fair amount of grousing from the fanbase....(from the comments of the story)
LloydBentsen wrote:
Is this some sort of joke? Houston is ranked lower than OSU? Houston is unranked in the Coaches' Poll?

It_is_so_simple wrote:
I can't believe Miami is higher than Coogs!
Unfortunately comments like that only detract from the win, and lead to the perception of the Cougar faithful as living with a perpetual case of the sore ass.

Here are the facts:

1. Despite the big win UH is nowhere near the front of many people's College football mind. Especially the pundits. Now, granted, it's fair to question the impartiality (and reality-basis) or ANY poll based on that fact, but until there's a playoff there's no way today's sportswriters can be expected to keep tabs on every D-1 (sorry no FBS, or FCS here) team in the country. Houston hasn't been there, they haven't done that, and most voters are probably waiting to see if they can do it again.

2. The polls are, in large part, based on what voters think teams can do, especially this early in the season. In the eyes of most voters, Okie State is still a better team than UH, just one that lost a game in an upset. Those of us who follow UH understand that the 'fluke' factor in this win was relatively small as far as upsets go. 9 out of 10 times Michigan beats Appelachian State, OSU maybe beats UH 6 out of 10 times, if that.

3. The coaches poll is worthless. It's name is even a misnomer since it's filled out by each University's SID while the coach works on the gameplan. That it's held up as some standard of relevency in the bizarro-world that are the B(C)S rankings only goes to show you just how messed up the current system is.

You want respect UH fans?

Go out and beat Tech, beat Tulsa and beat East Carolina and you'll have a heaping amount of it.

Of course, if you win those you might end up in a B(C)S bowl and be the subject of Richard Justice's ire instead of his praise.

Hey, it could happen.

*Note to AD Rhodes: You had better start to get your coaching succession plan in line today. It's not likely that Sumlin is going to be around much, if any, longer after the end of this season. This week is an off-week and Sumlin will have a little time. I'd talk about a raise, and also about having him prep one of the assistants to take over the ship once he departs.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Week 1: New York Jets 24 Texans 7

Ouch. It's games like this one that causes Cowboys fans to flood football message boards sounding off about the "good old days" after the Oilers left and before the Texans arrived in Houston. Back then, and I remember those days well, Houston residents were fed a steady diet of the best NFL match-ups of the week, Harris County taxpayers weren't on the hook for three new stadiums (while still paying interest on the improvement loan for a fourth) and the blood pressure of ChronBlog sports writers was a lot lower, their e-mail boxes a little more empty. One can only imagine what 1560 afternoon host John Harris is recording right now. Hopefully it's another hilarious post-game rant, this team deserves it.

A quick summary for the Texans would be 'soft'. Not only on defense but on offense as well. They're soft on both lines, soft in approach and soft in the heads of the coaching staff. Playoff teams do not let rookie quarterbacks get compared to Brett Favre in their first game. Of course, good playoff teams don't get embarrassed at home like that either, which is what the Texans did. Not only did they lose the game, but they lost a shaky fan base as well just before halftime. The boo-birds bought into the pre-season hype from the media and the team. Having reality come crashing down on you in game 1, at home, is probably the ultimate NFL bitch.

On a bright note: The quality of talk radio in Houston improves when the teams are bad. Houstonians are a notably syrupy group of winners, and brutal on the team when things aren't going well. Maybe not as brutal as, say, Philly fan, but they fall off the band-wagon with a case of the sore-ass better than almost anyone.

It's possible that these fans have just been bitten by the reality bug one too many times. That living with, and rooting for, the worst team in NFL Franchise history (record wise) is too much a painful reminder of what they lost. It could also be, as it is for me, that the Texans just aren't, nor will ever be, the Houston Oilers. They'll never feel the emotional ties for Toro that they did for that oil derrick.

Who knows?

What I do know is this:

Defensive Backs: Brice McCain blew coverages, Dunta Robinson missed almost everything and the Texans' DB's still don't know how to assist in defending the run. From bad angles to soft coverage this is the weakest part of the team. If next year's draft doesn't start with Taylor Mays then whoever is in charge needs a lobotomy.

Quarterback: The excuse of the week is that Schaub was hurt. OK, if he was hurt then why not let the Sex Cannon fire a shot? If you want to see the reason the Texans have the 'soft' label hung around their necks you don't have to look that much further than Schaub.

Dunta Robinson: Richard Justice of ChronBlog is reporting that Dunta had "Pay me Rick" written on the back of his shoes. Now, I've always been a Dunta fan, I respect his toughness coming back from a severe injury, etc. In a world where many people are suffering financially while he makes $10 Mil this year and where he's tackling and covering like a guy who sat out all of training camp, if that's his attitude then don't let the door hit you.

Offensive game plan: The play-calling is terrible. OC Shanahan seems bound and determined to keep kicking the dead horse that is the Texans interior running game despite the fact that this team looks its best when short passes act as the running game while deep balls loosen up the defense. Not one deep ball was thrown the way of Andre Johnson while the outcome was in doubt. Not one. Think about that.

Kubiak: If I hear one more thing about the "offensive genius" of Kubiak I'm going to apply for an OC job in the NFL. Because if that's all it takes to be a genius, sign me up. James Casey, sitting on the sideline all day, supposedly was supposed to provide the Texans with a 'wildcat' option, on that was never explored. The offense for the Texans consistently looks to be among the most vanilla in the league. Unless his genius is in turning back the clock 20 years, I'm not seeing where Kubiak is really all that ground-breaking. At least try something to change things up.

Before the season I predicted the Texans would go 9-7, hey, it just seemed like a good number considering their last two years. Surely they have to get better right?

The bad news is I had this game penciled in as a "W".

8-8 again anyone?

A few more weeks like this and it will be time to find better things to do on Sundays. Maybe a 1/2 empty Reliant Stadium and low television ratings will get the point across?

Monday, September 07, 2009

College Football Week 1: Review

Now that all of the meaningful games have been played (Sorry Big East and ACC) It's time to take a look back....

1. Boise State punches their B(C)S ticket. - There's really no one else on their schedule that can beat them

2. How bad is the ACC? - Well, Virginia's loss to William & Mary wasn't as close as the score (26-14) indicated. Oh, and the Duke loss to Richmond really wasn't an upset. Pathetic.

3. The SEC and Big XII are the two best conferences in the land.

4. The Mountain West is #3. It's closer than most people think however, especially just below the top two.

5. I'm feeling real good about picking Florida vs. Texas in the B(C)S championship game.

6. I'm not feeling all that good about picking Rice to win four games.

7. UH's offense is going to be fun to watch this year.

8. Ditto Oklahoma State.

9. Hey, the Michigan/Notre Dame game next week might be worth watching.

and finally...

10. I've heard just about enough of the punch. Let's move on already....

Next week should be fun.

Friday, September 04, 2009

You stay classy Oregon

Was he provoked? Does it matter? And why the hell go after the fans?

This ugly moment at the end of an ugly game by Oregon pretty much sums up the night for them. They got in some meaningless punches, but ultimately lost where it counted.

LaGarrette Blount should be kicked off the team, or given a full-year suspension at minimum. Possibly some anger management classes? Even if he was 'provoked' by the Boise St. player you still have to be mature enough not to sock a guy in the grill when television cameras are rolling. Whatever he said, the Boise St. player didn't throw a punch. The way he was smiling and the coach was there you have to think that words were exchanged by both players.

Not that it will matter. Ducks fans will defend it, and Boise St. players will act as if its the greatest affront to sportsmanship in like....ever. It wasn't, of course, but it was a punk move by a punk young man who needs to grow up.

And yes, I'm speaking of both the puncher and the punchee. Winning with class is just important as losing with class.

(Man am I glad it's College Football Season again)


Seattle Sports Blog
Detroit Free Press
Fox Sports

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Texans/Vikings: A review

The Wizard by Flickr user seanmcgrath used via a creative commons license.

First off: Can I call it or can I Call it?
because of the Favre factor Peterson's 114 yards rushing in the first half will just be a blip on the radar screen.
Adrian Peterson finished the 1st half with 117 yards rushing, including a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage that interruped Ron Jaworski temporarily from his on-air love-making with Brett Favre. The gushing over Favre, in both the booth and the studio pre-game should have made ESPN football exects blush in shame. While most of the country feels that Favre is a selfish diva after his recent antics its obvious that ESPN still insists on handling him like a romantic interest. Thank goodness for Mike Tirico, who had to step in and stop the bromance after Favre's cheap shot in the second quarter.

Eugene Wilson almost has his season ended and all Jaws and Chucky are concerned about is the throwing shoulder of Favre? The NFL should fine him, but they won't.

Because he's Favre.

Let's hand out some grades:

Quarterback: D+ Two key turnovers by Schaub/Orlovsky and no attempt to get the ball to Andre Johnson until the second half. Schaub started limping noticably after a scramble and his passing wasn't all that sharp all night long. Seeing number 8 in a Texans uniform continually check down to the dump-off all night long brought back bad memories of David Carr.

Running Back: C- Rushing game was non-existent but that's to be expected against the Vikings. Slaton and Brown did a decent job when called upon. Overall just a blah game from the backfield. One thing, Slaton doesn't seem to be running as hard as last year. I'm hoping that's just because the games don't count.

Wide Receivers/Tight End: C+ Not too many drops, but didn't do the best job of getting open on a consistent basis. Would be nice if they could do a better job blocking downfield. Owen Daniels had a good game.

Offensive Line: C- No running lanes whatsoever, did a good job pass blocking however, especially keeping "Schaub from getting destroyed by Jared Allen. Need to see more force off the ball in the running game however.

Defensive Line: C- Decent pressure on Favre and did better stopping the run after the first Peterson jaunt. Still, you have to include that run as part of the overall grade. Smith is almost non-existent which is much less than what you expect from a high-paid free-agent.

Linebackers: B+ Again, except for two plays they were brilliant, especially DaMeco Ryans who looked to be in on almost every play. Blown assignments on both TD's prevent this unit from scoring an A.

Secondary: F Looked terrible in almost every facet of the game. Missed assignments, confusion, lack of run support you name it. Right now the Texans DB's are one small step above College level, and two large steps below NFL grade.

Special Teams: C Nothing spectacular, and a non-existent return game. If Jacoby Jones isn't going to get any return yards on punts then there's little reason to keep him around.

Coaching: F- Why continue to try and establish the run when it's obvious it's not working? Using the short passing game like a run is the way to go against the Vikings, yet the Texans kept hammering away at an immovable object without taking shots down the field to try and loosen up the middle of the field. One scoring drive they did what they should have, and then went right back to 2 yards and a cloud of dust/punt. The defense came out flat, and wasn't ready to tackle on the first play. Inexcuseable.

As the media will say (often) there's no reason to panic, but there's no reason to be all that optimistic about this team either. It's a team that seems to gameplan away from its strengths all too often, and which has issues finding defensive players who can actually play at any position besides linebacker. The next time Mouton figures out who he's supposed to be covering could be the first time this pre-season.

Next week is basically and off-week, so there's two weeks unti the season starts.