Last week was a big week for the Houston Texans. It's not often that our city gets to spend time as the belle of the news cycle ball, but last week, for about three days, we were it, man.
Brock Osweiler became a Houston Texan, and in the process, not only did a QB-starved metropolis feel like they (we!) found "the guy" for the long-term, but we also got to stick it to the defending Super Bowl champs in the process by pilfering "the guy" from them, which means that we even got to mess with Gary Kubiak in the process! BONUS!
So now that the dust (and figurative confetti, because let's face it, that damn press conference felt like a welcome party) have settled, let's take a step back, just for a few hundred words, and ask ourselves if the Texans are any closer to a Super Bowl and what the reasonable expectations should be for Osweiler. Let's start with what the betting public thinks of the Houston Texans...
1. What impact did acquiring Osweiler have on the Texans' Super Bowl odds?
On February 8, the day after the Broncos won the Super Bowl, the Texans' odds to win the whole thing in 2016 were 40/1. That was when the betting public assumed that the team's QB solution would include a veteran stopgap, a drafted rookie and Tom Savage. Fast-forward to two days ago, and their odds have improved all the way to 20/1! On top of that, only seven teams have shorter odds than the Texans. Furthermore, the Texans' odds shot past those of the Indianapolis Colts, who were 25/1 on February 8 and held steady at 25/1 this week, which means, in theory, the Texans should be favored to win the AFC South. That's a lot of confidence in a guy with seven career starts in another coach's system.
2. If Brock Osweiler's first two seasons here are identical to Matt Schlub's first two as a Texan, does he see Year 3 of his contract?
Texans fans, think back to 2007, when Matt Schaub (and his two career starts) arrived in Houston. Maybe it's the greatest indicator of how bad David Carr was that people were cool with a guy with two career starts and a career completion percentage of 50 percent costing two second round picks and $48 million over six years. Now, think harder. Remember the first two seasons with Schaub, in which he was constantly injured, started 11 games each season and went 10-12 as a starter? Hell, in Matt Schaub's first season as a Texan, he threw nine touchdown passes and nine interceptions! Is it fair to say, with a far less patient coach and maybe even a less patient owner than he was in 2007, Osweiler wouldn't see Year Three of his deal if he puts up a performance comparable to Schaub's first two seasons? I say yes.
3. With team results sight unseen, from an individual-statistic standpoint, would you take Matt Schaub's 2009 through 2012 seasons as Brock Osweiler's first four seasons with the Texans?
I guess you could say that, with Schaub, the patience of Kubiak and McNair paid off for most of the 2009 through 2012 period, at least until the touchdown passes began to land in the hands of opposing defensive backs toward the end of 2012 and into all of 2013. For the four seasons beginning in 2009, Schaub averaged nearly 4,000 passing yards, completed 65 percent of his passes and had a 2-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio. Of course, his record in that time was a decent 34-24, but also included the horrific fade at the end of 2012. Focusing strictly on the individual stats, if Osweiler put up those numbers, with this defense, that should be good enough to win a lot of football games. If that's what $18 million buys you — 4,000 yards and, say, 28 touchdowns and 14 picks — I'm okay with that, with THIS 53-man roster.
4. Are the Texans any better off at the quarterback position compared to their division rivals?
This is an interesting question, because for all the celebrating that we did last week in welcoming Osweiler to Houston, it's necessary to take a step back and ask ourselves just where we are exactly in the QB arms race against the three teams that the Texans have to face twice per year, every year. If you took the four AFC South starting quarterbacks off their teams and offered them to the rest of the NFL in some sort of dispersal draft, the order they'd be selected would likely be Andrew Luck, then some permutation of Blake Bortles and Marcus Mariota, with Osweiler pulling up fourth. It just goes to show you that the cost of merely trying to keep up with the rest of the NFL at QB, and even some bad teams like the Jags and Titans, is $18 million per year.
5. Are you at all concerned that Brock Osweiler has a permanent misspelling affixed to his body?
Aaaaaand last week, this little nugget bubbled up on the internet....
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Brock Osweiler...with an apostrophe catastrope pic.twitter.com/b96bXvMqZZ— Phil Hecken (@PhilHecken) March 15, 2016
Am I concerned? Hell no...NO RAGRETS, BABY...
No regrets "not a single letter?" From We're the Millers. pic.twitter.com/wgpu7uMSSf— Deborah Doodles ღஐღ (@GloGurL) April 1, 2015
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.