Texans 2010 Preview: Not So Fast With The High Hopes
It's not bad enough that the Texans are starting this season with what is projected to be the toughest schedule in the NFL. Or that the Texans are starting out with Brian Cushing on the suspended list for the first four games. And never mind that the Texans are still stuck in the same division with the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans, two teams that own the Texans.
One can live with all of that. Hell, one can live with Gary Kubiak still being the head coach though it would be nice to see someone competent in that position. But Matt Leinart? Really? The Texans are just one Matt Schaub trip over the chalk on the sideline from having Matt Leinart as the starting quarterback.
I'm not sure, but I think that, secretly, even the defender of all things Texan, John McLain, thinks that's a stupid move. (While we're at it, can we please put to rest this Gary-Kubiak-is-a-quarterback-guru myth? Being the QB coach to John Elway and Steve Young does not a QB guru make.)
What the Texans now have are two backup QBs who look awful when they actually play professional football. Then again, this is the same coach who tried to make everybody believe that Chris Brown and Chris Henry were professional running backs. It's also the same head coach who pulls the coward act and turns his back whenever his kicker tries a field goal.
But the state of the Texans heading into the regular season isn't all bad. Mostly bad, sure, but not all bad. Nothing can be all bad as long as Andre Johnson is around. Of course, Andre Johnson can't play all of the offensive positions, but if he was actually able to make David Carr look like a legit quarterback at times, then he should be able to help out Leinart should that need ever arise.
And the Texans have finally picked up a legit kicker as apparently Kubiak, who never actually watched Kris Brown botch his kicks in a game, got sick of listening to the crowd boo Brown and replaced him with Neil Rackers. Of course, Rackers missed some important kicks last season, but unlike Brown, Rackers has actually made some kicks when it counted for a team that was actually in playoff contention unlike Brown who had trouble making kicks for a team that has yet to even come close to sniffing the playoffs in eight seasons.
Matt Leinart: Be afraid if he gets playing time
Now our resident expert might have (jokingly) picked the Texans to go 10-6 and make the playoffs, but until this team proves they can actually win games in September, can actually defeat that Peyton Manning team at least once in a season, and can find someway to make Vince Young look human when he plays the Texans, then this is going to be just another season in which the Texans are going to need a December run to save Gary Kubiak's job.
It's hard to understand the optimism for this team. During the preseason the running backs still had problems holding onto the football. And the red zone offense still seemed non-existent. Arian Foster seems to be an upgrade at running back, and hopefully Steve Slaton can recover some of his rookie-year effectiveness, but overall, their performance is an unknown coming into the season, and if the Texans can't run, they can't score from up close.
The defense in the preseason, even when Brian Cushing played, looked so-so, which is generally how a Texans defense looks. The first team was great against the Cardinals, but the Cardinals were so disgusted by their offense that they dumped their quarterback, one Matt Leinart. The first- and second-teamers of the New Orleans Saints offense destroyed the Texans defense, and an average Cowboys offense looked average. And you just know that Peyton Manning can't wait to tear apart the Texans defense next week.
Sean made his prediction, so I'll make mine. I say the Texans go 6-10. I see Leinart and/or Orlovsky getting major playing time as Schaub is injured early on. The Texans will continue to get their asses kicked in the first quarter as they continue to come out unprepared for the opposition. They will continue to make stupid penalty after stupid penalty, and though the offense will put up big numbers, when it really matters, when the team's in the red zone, they'll find themselves struggling, yet again, to come away with a field goal.
It will be a Texans just like any other Texans season. Just like every Texans season we've had for the past eight seasons. Bad coaching. Bad plays. And losing football.