I was unable to catch the Texans preseason mess loss to the Cardinals on Saturday live, but I did watch it on my DVR Sunday morning. Coach Bill O'Brien's perspective during his Sunday afternoon press conference notwithstanding -- "The sun did rise this morning" -- I wish I hadn't. To paraphrase Yogi Berra, it was déjà vu all over again.
And before anyone reminds me this was just the preseason, I'm fully aware of what the date on the calendar is and, as a general rule, there is nothing meaningful accomplished on a football field in August. But, this was supposed to be a more disciplined, more focused group. Of course they would make plenty of mistakes, but when you lose 14 in a row, even if you don't win a meaningless preseason game, it might help fans if you looked like you aren't entirely clueless.
Though there were a few decent performances on Saturday night, the Texans looked undisciplined, confused, poorly coached and generally inept in the 32-0 trouncing in Arizona. And so much of it looked like nothing more than replays of 2013 losses.
Bad quarterback play.
Look, no one expected Ryan Fitzpatrick to be the second coming of Joe Montana, but his uncanny resemblance to the second coming of Matt Schaub isn't exactly what anyone was hoping for. This comes in addition to the fact that Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater had modest to decent starts for their respective teams. At least none of them threw a pick...inside their own 20 yard lines no less.
Long third-down conversions.
Stop me if you've heard this one before. On the first series of the game, the Texans forced Arizona into third and 16. They completed a pass for 24. All night long, this went on, from starters to the bench brigade. So much for tightening up that third down D.
Too many penalties.
At one point in the game, the team had six straight penalties. O'Brien quipped, "I don't think I've ever seen that before." Yeah, us either. With 13 on the night including an unfathomable delay of game coming out of halftime it was exactly the opposite of what we expected from a team coached by supposed disciplinarians who demand perfection. It looked downright Kubiak-ian.
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If Brandon Harris is lined up in nickel passing situations in the opening game of the season, he better have been fitting with robotics that have converted him into a cross between Robocop and Steve Austin. He was beaten again and again. And, by the way, is the coaching staff really going to send first pick in the draft Jadeveon Clowney out into coverage on a regular basis? Not only is he overmatched, but he is running the opposite direction of where he should be going. Maybe the team needs Oscar Goldman more than O'Brien.
The coach "it's on me" speech.
Dear GOD, if I have to hear the "I have to get better" press conference babble from another coach, I'm going to seriously freak out. It is seriously the most tired, ridiculous and insulting line members of the media and fan base could hear. We know O'Brien is going to mimic Bill Belichick (sans the hoodie, we hope), but if he continues this schtick through another losing season, I wouldn't blame the sports media if they just didn't show up after games. Too many more performances like this and fans won't show up DURING games.