BATTLE-DRINK, Week 7: Texans vs Chiefs, a New Quarterback Frontier
Click for larger image.
The time for talking is over.
I mean, I would still like to talk about the Texans. In fact, I'm paid to talk about the Texans, so if words could still be part of the Texans' experience at this point, I'd like to keep talking. (I have bills to pay.)
But apparently, talk is cheap, words do nothing, work conquers all.
I know this because J.J. Watt says it to be true, and dammit, if there's one Houston Texan who still has the equity to be able to stroll up to the microphone and basically say, "Kansas City is good, talk is cheap, see y'all after the game on Sunday" (I'm paraphrasing), it's number 99.
And that's exactly what he did on Wednesday afternoon. In what was a pretty stout heat check, considering how thin a thread everyone's patience in Houston is hanging on right now, Watt walked into the interview room and dropped this one-minute solo effort:
"Kansas City has been playing some very good football this year. Obviously, this is an opportunity for us to go off on the road in a tough environment against a very good football team that's obviously undefeated and get ourselves some momentum heading into the bye week, get ourselves back on track. We're looking to do that. The quarterback (Alex Smith) has been playing really well. Obviously (Andy Reid and his) coaching staff up there has done a heckuva job and I'm hearing some good things about the environment (in the stadium).
For us, from our standpoint, our fans don't want to hear about how we're going to fix it. They don't want to hear me stand up here and tell them anything. They don't want to hear the words I have to say. They just want us to resolve it and I fully understand that. So all I can do is go to work. All we can do as a team is go to work and that's what we're going to do. Words don't win games. Work does. I apologize for the concise statement and lack of answering questions. Honestly, I don't have words for y'all. Just work. I'm just going to work. The fans want results and that's what I'm going to try to give them.
Hopefully I'll answer all your questions with my play on the field. And if there are any further questions I'll see you Sunday after the game."
University of Houston Cougars Football vs. Louisville Cardinals College Football
TicketsThu., Nov. 17, 7:00pm
Rice University Owls Football vs. UTEP Miner Football
TicketsSat., Nov. 19, 11:00am
SWAC Football Championship
TicketsSat., Dec. 3, 3:00pm
TicketsSat., Jan. 7, 7:00pm
And with that, Watt walked out.
Okay, a few thoughts on this:
1. If Arian Foster had done this exact thing, I'm fairly certain Twitter would still be in a state of disrepair two days later. For whatever reason (well, I know the reason -- Arian rubs people the wrong way), the parsing of Arian Foster's words and actions is much more detailed and acute. This would have been a fascinating tactic to see him execute.
2. The only way J.J. Watt's speech could have been better would have been if he went all "Hulk Hogan 1996, NWO heel turn" and told the fans of Houston to "STICK IT!" And who knows? Maybe that day is coming?
Yeah, if J.J. had done that, it would have been interesting to see what an entire city smells like when it burns to the ground.
And, as always, my man @Northside_Mike, a Photoshop Picasso, fired off this tweet in response to the dream of a J.J. heel turn:
— Mike (@Northside_Mike) October 17, 2013
3. While I hate the reasons we are having to watch it (I'd much rather the Texans be, say, 4-2 right now instead of 2-4.), watching J.J. Watt handle this string of losses lately has been mildly fascinating. To me, he is clearly a guy who takes losing harder than most (at least outwardly), and at times, he's gotten a little testy, which I like. Keep in mind, of the core group he's the only one who hasn't been through one of these Kubiakian funks. For the most part, other than the playoff losses, there's been another day to live and go fight for. This is easily the darkest time of the Watt Era; it's not even close.
The only problem with a tactic like Watt's display on Wednesday is what happens next. If they lose to Kansas City (who is a touchdown favorite on Sunday, so it's likely), then what? Does J.J. just not show up for Wednesday media? Does he do an actual interview? In the grand scheme of things, it means almost nothing, yet I know it will be dissected a thousand different ways on the radio and on Twitter.
Okay, if it's no longer a time for words, that means it's a time for action. For J.J. Watt, that means "playing football." For the rest of us (over the age of 21), it means "BATTLE-DRINKing." So here's the new dance card, and here are the new, always topical squares for this week:
B4: Jim Nantz mentions University of Houston This game was actually moved two weeks ago by CBS from the noon kickoff timeslot to the 3:25 p.m. timeslot. At the time, the Chiefs were 4-0 and the Texans were 2-2, and this was thought to be potentially a clash of two playoff teams. Now it might be the functional (if not the literal) end of the Kubiak Era, like Gerry Faust's bust of a Notre Dame career culminating with a 58-7 thrashing in Miami on national television for the world to see. The game will be described by Jim Nantz and quarterbacked by Case Keenum, both of whom are University of Houston alums. Hence, copious amounts of Coog mentions.
I1: Keshawn KO return from end zone The stats say that Keshawn Martin has the fourth best average per kickoff return in the league at 26.4 yards per return. However, as we all know, the NFL stats include the "yards deep into the end zone" that a guy is when they calculate the yardage. So by my own calculations, if 26.4 yards per return is correct, it feels like Martin is taking the ball about 13 yards deep into a ten-yard end zone every time, because it feels like he gets tackled at the 13 yard line a lot. Hopefully, this week he at least holds onto the ball.
I2: "Houston cheered Schaub injury" mention For the third consecutive week, Houston fans were painted with one broad brush as a bunch of barbaric savages by the national media for the actions of a scant few. After the Seattle loss, it was the two guys burning a Schaub jersey. After the San Francisco loss, it was the one (or two or however many) people who drove by Matt Schaub's house and yelled a mean word. And after the St. Louis loss, it was the few thousand drunk losers who cheered Matt Schaub's injury.
Because of them, Houston, YOU'RE ALL SAVAGES!
My favorite part was seeing a Texans logo next to a 49ers logo when Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser were kicking around "UNRULY FAN BEHAVIOR" as a topic on PTI. Um, the 49er fans in question stabbed people. Seriously, go Google "49er fan stabbed" and it pulls up multiple stories. I went to the Texans game against the 49ers, and at no point did I feel like I was going to get stabbed.
So the logo thing is not only unfair to Niner fans because there are only a few insane, stabby fans, but it's unfair to Texans fans because, hey, at least our few insane fans don't kill people!
I5: KC "worst to first" mention This is a lock. At this time last season, the Chiefs were still trying to take their first lead in regulation in a game all season. (NOTE: They had one win at this point, but it was in overtime against the Saints.) They would go on to a year marked by everything from historically bad quarterback play to actual death in their facility (Jovan Belcher). In fact, Kansas City talk show host Danny Parkins made a pretty good case on my radio show that the Chiefs' 2-14 season was even worse than the 0-16 Lions' season in 2008.
N5: Texans completion > 41 yds Some NFL teams throw the ball down the field and to certain hard-to-reach spots on the field with more effectiveness than others. We all know this. But I always kind of took for granted that every NFL team could at least attempt these throws. The Texans don't even try to throw deep. in fact, when Matt Schaub drops back to throw, it immediately feels like the world is crumbling around him and he goes into bodily gyrations that are about as confidence-inspiring as Shaky the Mohel from Seinfeld.
Oh, and why 41 yards? Because that's the Texans' longest completion of the season. Naturally, it was a screen pass to Arian Foster.
G1: Vince Young tweet mention G2: Johnny Manziel draft mention G3: Case Keenum college stats mention G4: Shane Lechler takes a snap G5: Dwight Howard mention Column G this week takes you through the various stages of replacing (or attempting to replace) Matt Schaub as the quarterback of the Texans. From the outlandish (Vince Young's tweet) to the possible future (Manziel) to the current (Keenum) to the possible emergency (Lechler) to the resignation that the season could very well be de facto over come dinnertime Sunday (Howard).
O1: Andre Johnson TD catch Have I mentioned the Texans don't throw deep? Yeah, they also don't throw to Andre Johnson in the end zone. ONE target in the end zone all season. So when Dre finally does pop his 2013 touchdown cherry, we will celebrate with a shot!
O2: John McClain tweets "wretched" O3: John McClain tweets "pathetic" O4: John McClain tweets "thugs, punks, losers" O5: John McClain tweets "Bob McNair" The rest of the final column goes to our good friend and Hall of Fame writer John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, who has turned the temperature of Gary Kubiak's seat up to "BOIL":
Bob McNair wasn't available after the game. I didn't need him to know he'll fire Gary Kubiak if Texans continue to embarrass themselves.
— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) October 14, 2013
Okay, no more words. Let's do this.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.