Houston Texans Game B -- 4 Winners, 4 Losers
Ready with the cylindrical meat
Photo by Groovehouse
You have to be very, very careful not to get overly excited about (nor overly disgusted by) preseason football. The trailer can make almost any movie look good, and let's face it, when it comes to the players that matter, that's pretty much what preseason football is -- a trailer for the regular season.
The coach can pick and choose just how much and what they care to show to the audience, sometimes even to the point where coaches have handshake agreements with exactly what they will and won't do to each other (i.e., blitzing, trick plays, etc.). It's contrived, it's artificial. In short, it's a trailer.
So with that in mind, Game B (respect the numbered games on regular season tickets, people) against the Saints gave Texan "moviegoers" plenty to be excited for when the feature film is released on September 11:
1. Arian Foster fantasy owners All of the handwringing over Foster's tweaked hamstring turned into high fives after about three carries and a couple patented cutbacks against the grain. The coup de grace was Foster's second touchdown, where he left one of the New Orleans safeties in dire need of a jockstrap. It's a hamstring so you never want to take it too lightly, but I think our fear should be back down to DEFCON 1. (Fantasy note: Did Ben Tate set a record for fewest carries ever before becoming a no-brainer "handcuff" candidate and perhaps even a predatory "if Arian Foster gets injured I'd have him" pick in like the 7th or 8th round of 12 team drafts? Nine carries. Sold.)
2. Wade Phillips's accelerated defensive facelift For the second straight week, the opposition did some things that should concern Texan fans (more on this in a minute), but the defense showed signs of improving what, in my opinion, is the most important area and that's the pass rush. Four sacks and three turnovers, including a tone-setting fumblesack by Antonio Smith on Drew Brees to stop the Saints on their first drive. Brooks Reed was this week's non-starter beast of the week (lifting the title from Bryan Braman).
3. The entire AFC South (minus Tennessee) Big thanks to the Arizona Cardinals for signing wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald to an eight-year, $120 million contract with around $50 million in guarantees. You're probably saying, "Hey numbnuts, don't you mean congrats, not thanks?" No, I know what I mean, and I mean thanks. Because of Fitzgerald's new deal, now Titans holdout running back Chris Johnson will dig his heels in even deeper, demanding a fat contract commensurate with a "playmaker," and not just a "running back." Seriously, Johnson needs to take the entire season to think this over, if need be. (That's your cue to nod along with me, Texan Fan.)
4. Terrelle Pryor Terrelle Pryor had been generally considered a fifth or sixth round possibility in the NFL's Supplemental Draft earlier today. On Saturday, Terrelle Pryor ran a 4.4 forty yard dash at his pro day, which blew everyone away. A guy with that size, that raw ability, being that fast. Naturally, Pryor was selected in the NFL Supplemental Draft earlier today in the third round. You can't make this shit up. LOSERS
1. Matt Leinart's swagger It's not totally fair because he's playing behind the Texans' second-string offensive line and with second-string wide receivers, but I think Texan fans are getting a little anxious about seeing the version of Matt Leinart that insiders could not stop tweeting about from Texans two-a-days. That version seemed like the USC edition of Leinart; the first two exhibition games haven't been Arizona version Leinart, but they haven't made me tear up my idea for round-the-clock police protection and armed escorts to games for Matt Schaub, either.
2. Wade Phillips's trying to fix the secondary Rome wasn't built in a day, I guess. The Saints made a couple big plays down the field including a 56-yard touchdown in the second quarter. It wasn't the comedy of errors that 2010 was, but if you're looking to watch the Texans this season and not get the sinking feeling in your stomach that every time the opposing quarterback drops back and has time that something bad is going to happen...well, it's still there.
3. The Tebow We can finally stop talking about Tim Tebow as if he deserves a chance to start in the league right now, right? We can stop printing the "let Tebow be Tebow" columns, too, correct? Tebow has now been passed on the depth chart (convincingly so) by Brady Quinn for the backup job to Kyle Orton in Denver, and as best I can tell the only title Tebow will be winning anytime soon is for "jerseys sold." In fact, if you wanted to jumpstart the economy, let each of the 32 teams sign Tebow to a contract at some point during the season so you can sell "TEBOW 15" jerseys in each team's colors. (Why doesn't the government ever ask for my ideas on reducing the deficit? I'm smart.)
4. Fans in the Bay Area The Texans play the 49ers this weekend at Candlestick Park. I'm not sure if any of you are pondering a last-minute trip, but in case you are, here's the scene two nights ago in San Francisco when the Niners played the Raiders:
And if you want to just hang out in the parking lot, well there's this...
I think I'll pass.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on Yahoo! Sports Radio (Sirius 94, XM 208) and on 1560 The Game, and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.