After a ten day hiatus where the Texans managed to fulfill their weekly drama quota by firing their head coach, it's back to the gridiron on Sunday as the Texans take on the Indianapolis Colts in Indy, where the team still seeks its first win in franchise history at that venue.
I don't know if I can think of a Texans game where I've thought about or discussed the X's and O's less leading into it than this one against the Colts. Every Texans related story discussed this week on my radio show or privately has been about the NFL draft, the coaching search, or Rick Dennison's general pissiness.
But there will indeed be a game this Sunday, and you will likely need to be hammered, so I'm here to help.
Let's play BATTLE-DRINK, Week 15 edition!
Here are your new squares on the board this week as we embark on the Wade Phillips Era (Interim Head Coach version):
B4: J.J. Watt sack/TFL/pass defend Before the season, J.J. Watt was asked about personal goals, and he said he wanted to have a "20/20/20" season -- 20 sacks, 20 passes defended, 20 tackles for loss. Thus far, like 2012, Watt has been the best defensive player on the planet, but the 20/20/20 milestone is going to be tough to reach. Like, Right now, he sits at a spectacular-but-not-quite-2012 stat line of 9.5 sacks, 6 passes defended, and 11 tackles for loss. Good, but not quite Princeton material now, is it Joel?
B5: Texans run trick play Wade Phillips has promised some new and exciting wrinkles. I'm hoping one of them is a trick play or two. My suggestions....this....
Make it happen, Wader. Hey, speaking of Wader....
I1: Wade Phillips jolly fist pump I2: Wade Phillips blank stare I3: Wade Phillips pissed off I4: Wade Phillips loses replay challenge I5: Wade Phillips punches Rick Dennison He's in his first real game as interim head coach (I'm not counting the Arizona game after Gary Kubiak's mini-stroke, where he was double secret interim head coach), so Wade Phillips gets his own column on the game, with the arsenal of classic Wade Phillips moves. If Wade were a video game character, "jolly fist pump" would be A, "blank stare" would be B, and punching Rick Dennison would need to be unlocked via some sort of cheat code.
N1: Shane Lechler hang time chug N2: Randy Bullock made FG N4: Kickoff return past the 20 yd line N5: Blocked kick by Texans Not only is it the first game of the Interim Wade Phillips Era, on special teams it's the first game of the "Bob Ligashesky coaching special teams by himself" Era! Ligashesky was brought in before the season from Tampa Bay to help out Joe Marciano, and apparently Marciano listened to exactly zero of Ligashesky's ideas because a) the special teams were just as wretched as they were in 2012 and b) Ligashesky announced a multitude of soon to be unveiled changes to the special teams' modus operandi against the Colts this Sunday. G1: Houston '93 mentioned The Houston '93 documentary ran on the NFL Network, and it was very well received (although admittedly, everyone who I heard review it was either from Houston or a media member who spotted themselves with a mullet or beard at an old press conference in the piece). I personally enjoyed it, and didn't realize that team was such a dysfunctional mess off the field. (Also, regarding the mustaches in that doc, I've gone from thinking they deserve their own blog post to thinking they deserve their own book, and I'm now interviewing publishers.)
G2: Rick Smith with McNairs shot G3: "McNair fires Kubiak" presser shot You want a fun "player personnel" tidbit for the Texans? Go to their pro-football-reference.com Draft page. You there? Ok. Now look at the years 2008 and 2011. I think the two best, most productive players that have been drafted on Rick Smith's watch are J.J. Watt (without a doubt) and Duane Brown (Brian Cushing would be in the argument without injuries and his mysterious disappearance in 2010.). Two great players, right? Well look at their Career Approximate Value. That's a metric that totals the weighted Approximate Value of a player for each year of their career. J.J. Watt's two year total is 30, and Duane Brown's is 44. What does each guy have in common? Each one has a higher Career AV than the entire remainder of their Texans draft class combined:
2008: 1. Brown (44), 3. Antuan Molden (4), 3. Steve Slaton (20), 4. Xavier Adibi (4), 5. Fran Okam (5), 6. Dominique Barber (5), 7. Alex Brink (0)
2011: 1. Watt (30), 2. Reed (13), 2. Harris (1), 4. Roc Carmichael (0), 5. Shiloh Keo (2), 5. T.J. Yates (3), 7. Derek Newton (7), 7. Cheta Ozougwu (0)
Rick Smith, ladies and gentlemen!
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G4: Solomon Wilcots butchers rule interpretation I hope you all enjoyed Jim Nantz and Phil Simms calling the Texans game against the Chiefs back in late October, because it's going to be a while before we see the number one announce team from CBS any time soon. Instead, say hello to Kevin Harlan (who I actually like very much) and Solomon Wilcots (who interprets the NFL rule book the same way that the sign language dude at the Nelson Mandela memorial interprets English).
G5: Fan wearing Peyton Manning jersey I don't have the exact data in front of me, but I believe roughly 98 percent of Colts fans own a jersey, and of those I think 94 percent are still Peyton Manning jerseys.
O1: John McClain tweets "pathetic" O2: John McClain tweets "horrendous" O3: John McClain tweets "terrible" O4: John McClain tweets about Baylor O5: John McClain tweets coaching speculation With away games at Indy and Tennessee and a home game against Denver remaining, I'm hoping John McClain is spending his night soaking up his thesaurus. He's running out of words to describe the Texans (not a good thing).
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 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.