After years of trying to get people's respect, trying to force people to sit up and notice how smart I am, I finally figured out what the secret is. (And I'm so smart that I'm about to share this secret with all of you at no charge!)
The secret is this -- just describe whatever it is you do with the suffix "-ology" at the end (thereby making you a "whatever-ologist"). "-ology" implies that there is some degree of science to whatever your job may be, which means it just sounds smart.
For example, for years, ESPN's Joe Lunardi was just some pudgy dude with a toupee-style haircut who tried to predict the 64 teams that would make the NCAA basketball tournament each season. We all laughed at Joe Lunardi when we saw his toothy grin on TV. Then he renamed his craft "bracketology," which inherently made him a "bracketologist," and the respect flowed in.
So I pondered, what "-ology" could I embrace to make people give me that Lunardian level of respect? (I mean, "bracketologist" damn near makes Lunardi sound like a real doctor!) So I went back and looked at my last few weeks of posts to see what exactly I'm good at.
I wrote quite a bit about Joe Paterno, but "Paternologist" sounds too much like a job where I'd have to figure out whether or not Antonio Cromartie fathered a certain child or not. (Answer is always "Yes. He did.") Then, I got it -- my way-too-early prediction on the Texans 53-man roster! It had all the bracketologesque traits of Lunardi's work -- mildly educated guessing, a need for periodic updating, and just enough wiggle room to make excuses when I got one (or several) wrong.
So I'm pleased to announce with authority -- say "HELLO!" to Sean Pendergast, Roster-tologist! I am a doctor of roster-tology!
So let's put on my stethoscope and white linen coat and, two games into the preseason, assess what the Texans 53-man roster would look like if it were to be constructed today:
Let's get all of the locks out of the way first...
THE VETERAN LOCKS (33 total):
QB - Matt Schaub QB - T.J. Yates RB - Arian Foster RB - Ben Tate RB - Justin Forsett TE - Owen Daniels TE - Garrett Graham TE/FB - James Casey WR - Andre Johnson WR - Kevin Walter WR - LeStar Jean T - Duane Brown T - Rashad Butler T - Derek Newton G - Wade Smith G - Antoine Caldwell C - Chris Myers DT - Shaun Cody DT - Earl Mitchell DE - J.J. Watt DE - Antonio Smith OLB - Connor Barwin OLB - Brooks Reed ILB - Brian Cushing ILB - Bradie James S - Danieal Manning S - Glover Quin S - Troy Nolan CB - Johnathan Joseph CB - Kareem Jackson CB - Brice McCain P - Donnie Jones LS - Jon Weeks
Comments: The only change here is that I removed inside linebacker Darryl Sharpton from the list of locks because he is having trouble staying healthy, and I'm hopeful the days of the Texans keeping a linebacker in the "Xavier Adibi Memorial Dude Who's Always Injured" spot on the roster are long gone. Everybody else is safe.
THE ROOKIE LOCKS (4 total): OLB - Whitney Mercilus (1st round) G - Brandon Brooks (3rd round) WR - Keshawn Martin (4th round) DE - Jared Crick (4th round)
Comments: Same four as I had before the season started, and Mercilus and Martin both look like they're going to push for early playing time. If I had to go "Stock Up/Stock Down" on the other two, a la Dick Vitale (who fancies himself a "Screamatologist") I would say this (in Dickie V's voice, hence the ALL CAPS):
BRANDON BROOKS: THE BIG DIAPER DANDY IS STOCK DOWN BAAAABBYYY....HE HAD TWO BAD HOLDING PENALTIES AGAINST THE 49ERS, HE WAS MISSING HIS ASSIGNMENTS, HE WAS SPACE CADET CITY, BABY!!! IF HE KEEPS PLAYING LIKE THIS KUBIAK IS GONNA NEED TO GET A T.O., BAAAAAAABBBBYYYYYYY!!!!!!! NOW AS FOR....
JARED CRICK: HE GETS A BIG STOCK UP!! HE'S COME BACK FROM THE NECK INJURY, AND THE GENERAL, WADE PHILLIPS, SAID IN HIS PRESSER TODAY THAT OF ALL THE DIAPER DANDIES ON THE DEFENSIVE LINE, CRICK HAS BEEN THE DIAPERIEST!!!!! HE'S AWESOME, BAAAAAABBBYYYY, WITH A CAPITAL A!!!!!
Okay, that hurt my head just typing it. I promise not to do that again
today. However, while we're at it and using our indoor voices, let's look at some of the other guys on this team who may have moved the needle on their careers, one way or the other: STOCK UP:
Trindon Holliday, kick return specialist. Two returns for touchdowns in the first two games, at this point to get cut from the team Holliday would have to muff a punt in each game and sleep with Kubiak's wife.
Derrell Smith, fullback. The depth chart has him listed ahead of Moran Norris right now. We'll see if this holds up. One of the two should make the team, I had assumed it would be Norris, but maybe not.
Jonathan Grimes, running back. He looked really good in the opener against Carolina, and I think, at the very least, has a spot on the practice squad in pretty clear view. He's one of a handful of guys whose chances of making the 53-man roster are effected every time Trindon Holliday touches the ball.
Tim Dobbins, inside linebacker. Continues to make plays on defense as well as being a special teams stalwart.
Mister Alexander, inside linebacker. Sharpton's injury woes help him.
Hebron Fangupo, nose tackle. Cody's back injury and Sonny Harris' season ending triceps injury give Fangupo a great look for an undrafted free agent.
Brandon Harris, cornerback. Finally appears to be living up to the hype of a second-round pick from a year ago. He's been really solid the first two games.
Shayne Graham, kicker. I'm reaching a point where I'm rooting for Graham to get the kicker job, partially because he's been better than Randy Bullock and partially because I'd hate to see an important game come down to a rookie kicker. Let Bullock go kick on a team whose games won't matter this season. Like Saskatchewan's!
DeVier Posey, wide receiver. I think he's still on the team. No catches in the first two preseason games, running with the three's, only targeted twice. If he weren't a third-round pick in the draft, he wouldn't make the first cut right now. Alan Ball, cornerback. Had a rough go in the first preseason game, and with the emergence of Holliday in the return game and Harris at Ball's position, the last cut at cornerback is going to be a tough one.
All right, so taking all of that into account, let's fill out these other 16 spots:
FB - Moran Norris (I think he still wins out) WR - DeVier Posey (not that he's earned it) WR/KR - Trindon Holliday C - Ben Jones (versatility helps) G - Shelley Smith (veteran in the event Brooks is still struggling)
DE - Tim Jamison (will be a lock on the next version) ILB - Tim Dobbins (ditto what I said for Jamison) ILB - Mister Alexander (makes the cut this time around) OLB - Bryan Braman (ditto what I said for Dobbins and Jamison) OLB - Jesse Nading S - Quintin Demps (would have liked to see him reel in that pick-six vs the Niners) S - Shiloh Keo (I still think his value on special teams is a difference maker for him) CB - Sherrick McManis CB - Brandon Harris CB - Roc Carmichael
K - Randy Bullock (like Posey, team's investment of a draft pick helps him)
Final position count: QB: 2 RB: 4 (1 FB) TE: 3 WR: 6 (1 KR) OL: 9 DL: 6 LB: 9 DB: 11 Spec: 3
New in this version: Holliday, Shelley Smith, Alexander, Carmichael Off since last version: Darryl Sharpton (PUP), Bryant Johnson, Alan Ball, Thomas Austin
Jonathan Grimes, Hebron Fangupo, and Case Keenum all headline the eight man practice squad.
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The doctor (of roster-tology) is out.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.