No More Bull

The past, present and future of the Texans breaking our hearts

Things didn't quite work out as planned.

Season Highlight: In no year will the "season highlight" be easier to pick. On Opening Night, the Texans not only won, they beat the Dallas Cowboys. This was like the French standing behind the Maginot Line, insouciantly smoking Gitanes while getting head from some Montmartre hooker and cheerfully mowing down the Wehrmacht. While Edith Piaf sang about regretting nothing, just for them.

Scientists estimate that the Texans' 19-10 win over Jerry Jones's Cowboys will remain the franchise highlight until at least 2023, barring any unforeseen developments such as the front office suddenly getting good.

Gary Kubiak
Hates when you call him: A head coach with a 22-26 record
On the one hand: His win totals have gone up each year
On the other: Hard to see how they could have gone down
Prediction for 2009 
season: 9-7. The rest of 
the league holds his future: If 9-7 is good enough for the playoffs, he’ll survive another year; if it takes 10-6, he’s out of a job
Nickname: Brushcut
Aaron M. Sprecher
Gary Kubiak Hates when you call him: A head coach with a 22-26 record On the one hand: His win totals have gone up each year On the other: Hard to see how they could have gone down Prediction for 2009 season: 9-7. The rest of the league holds his future: If 9-7 is good enough for the playoffs, he’ll survive another year; if it takes 10-6, he’s out of a job Nickname: Brushcut
NO. 80
Andre Johnson
Hates when you call him: Best receiver to never play on a winning team
On the one hand: He’s been great despite QBs like David Carr and Sage Rosenfels
On the other: When Schaub gets injured, can even Johnson make Rex Grossman look good?
Prediction for 2009 season: Another Pro Bowl year, another year of wondering just how open he has to get for some of these guys to get him the ball
Nickname: Ocho Zero
Aaron M. Sprecher
NO. 80 Andre Johnson Hates when you call him: Best receiver to never play on a winning team On the one hand: He’s been great despite QBs like David Carr and Sage Rosenfels On the other: When Schaub gets injured, can even Johnson make Rex Grossman look good? Prediction for 2009 season: Another Pro Bowl year, another year of wondering just how open he has to get for some of these guys to get him the ball Nickname: Ocho Zero

Season Lowlight: The team then went on to lose eight of its next nine games and ended up 4-12, so pretty much "the rest of the season" would be the lowlight. Besides Jabar Gaffney and a past-his-prime Jermaine Lewis, the wide receiver corps featured Avion Black, JaJuan Dawson, Corey Bradford and Atnaf Harris. Quick, go win some bar bets with those names!

Inexplicable Moment Which Summed Up the Texans' Endless Futility: They managed to gain just 46 total yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers. But — somehow — they won the game, so no one cared. That they could only gain 46 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Trend Which Cruelly Gave False Hope for the Future: Two Texans were chosen for the Pro Bowl, tying a record for an expansion team. And David Carr still had use of his legs after being sacked a record 76 times. (Although probably 45 of those sacks were caused by him holding on to the ball too long, thus embarrassing his offensive line, pissing them off, leading to more sacks in the years to come.)

Final Season Record: 4-12. ­Really, everyone would have gladly ended the season after the first game. Did we mention they beat the Cowboys?
_____________________

The Second Season: This Team Might Just Be Going Places

The off-season after 2002 included a momentous event: The Texans actually made a good draft pick. They nabbed Andre Johnson from Miami...and with their second pick, they took yet another guy who would never play a down for them because of injuries. (They also, strangely, took QB Dave Ragone. On the one hand, the pick worked out great when Ragone was eventually named MVP. On the other hand, he was named MVP of NFL Europe.)

So, as to be expected, things were still a work in process. No one had hoped for much more than 4-12 the year before, so it seemed the team had a solid base on which to grow.

Things didn't quite work out as planned.

Season Highlight: Once again, the Texans won their opening game; an NFL expansion team had never won its first two season openers. A few weeks later, they beat Jacksonville with a thrilling last-second 4th-and-goal TD by Carr. As they went into the bye week, the Texans were 2-2 and Reliant Stadium was rocking.

Season Lowlight: Well, they got creamed by Kansas City 42-14, and Jacksonville later took out its revenge in a 27-0 shutout, but overall the team played close to even in its losses. If you looked a little deeper, though, you'd notice that the offense scored about as often as Chris Brown at a NOW meeting. Head coach Dom Capers stressed defense, and so watching the Texans try to move the ball was often frustrating and usually boring.

Inexplicable Moment Which Summed Up the Texans' Endless Futility: They not only took Dave Ragone in the draft this year, they also picked Drew Henson, another quarterback...who went on to instead play minor-league baseball.

Trend Which Cruelly Gave False Hope for the Future: They beat the Carolina Panthers, who went on win the NFC, and they barely lost in overtime to the New England Patriots, who went on to win the Super Bowl.

Final Season Record: 5-11. Only a one-game improvement over the previous year, but the Texans had been wracked by injuries. With the team regaining its health and some shrewd picks in the draft, Texans fans could dream of matching the third-year success that expansion franchises such as Carolina and Jacksonville enjoyed fairly recently.
_____________________

The Third Season: The Hammer of Despair Hits, For the First Time

Sorry, did we say "shrewd draft choices"? The Texans traded four draft picks to Tennessee to have the opportunity to draft Jason Babin. Oh, and since the offense had sucked so much, the team spent its first four draft picks on defensive players. They did manage to grab another quarterback, though. B.J. Symons. Who never played a down for the team, but did go on to play in NFL Europe and the Arena League.

But by now Texans fans were accustomed to draft oddities, an attitude that would definitely come in handy in years to come. So as the magical third year began, genuine optimism flowed, and people weren't laughing when the word "playoffs" was mentioned.

Things didn't quite work out as planned.

Season Highlight: Dunta Robinson, the team's first pick in the draft (taken even before Jason Babin!) was sterling, starting all 16 games, picking off a half-dozen passes and winning Pro Football Weekly's award for defensive rookie of the year. This seemed to indicate that the draft process was not totally indecipherable for the Texans' front office.

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