With the injury to Deshaun Watson and the resulting terrible football being played with Tom Savage under center, one of the more overblown storylines is how "nobody will be showing up at the Texans games for the rest of the season." Never mind that every ticket is already sold, so even an empty stadium still rings the cash register for the McNair family, but look at the schedule the rest of the way — there are only three games remaining.
Working in reverse order, the final game is a Christmas Day game against the Steelers, a game for which tickets are probably being given as a present to about half the people who will be there that day. The Niners game on December 10... well, I got nothing. That game WILL be empty.
Then there is this Sunday, the Cardinals game, the day on which the Houston Texans unveil their Ring of Honor by inducting its first honoree, the great Andre Johnson. The possible Hall of Fame wide receiver and first truly great Houston Texan ever will be honored at halftime of Sunday's game, the final salutation in a week full of awards, parties, and speeches on behalf of the 14 year NFL veteran, including yesterday's proclamation by the city that Tuesday was Andre Johnson Day in Houston.
So long as the Texans are going to continue their slide to the bottom portion of the 2017 standings, then why not go to the next level and use the Cardinals game on Sunday as a de facto version of "Andre Johnson: This Is Your Life"? I will credit a Twitter follower and friend of mine, Grayson Skweres, with the tweet that triggered this idea...
The best way to honor Andre would be to start TJ Yates on Sunday, the greatest QB Dre ever played with.— Grayson Skweres (@g_skweres) November 14, 2017
Indeed! Let's do this! Here are six ways to improve Andre Johnson's induction day on Sunday:
6. Start T.J. Yates at quarterback
This is the one thing that actually serves a dual purpose of saluting Andre Johnson AND giving the Texans a better chance to win the football game. You don't have to fly T.J. Yates in and pay him an appearance fee (By the way, how much would a T.J. Yates appearance fee run? Does he charge more for Houston because he is in demand here?), he is already sitting RIGHT THERE ON THE TEXANS' BENCH, and oh yeah, he is (probably) BETTER THAN YOUR STARTER, TOM SAVAGE. On the day he signed his one day contract to retire a Texan, Andre Johnson told John Harris and Marc Vandermeer that his favorite memory was the first playoff win in franchise history back in 2011, which last I checked, was skippered at QB by one Touchdown Jesus Yates!
5. Sign Kevin Walter to a one day contract and start him at wide receiver
Again, credit my guy Grayson Skweres here with a variation of this idea. Anybody who has seen Kevin Walter around the stadium — hell, I think he may have even been an honorary captain for a game this year, if I'm not mistaken — can see that he has been keeping himself in tremendous condition. Also, with Will Fuller out, there is a decent chance that Walter could step right back in at the No. 2 wide receiver spot. At the very least, I think he is probably still better at football than Braxton Miller currently is. Make it happen, Rick Smith!
4. Ignore the wide receivers in the red zone
This one may actually end up happening without trying, not so much because Tom Savage is ignoring the wide receivers in the red zone, but that Savage's combination of overly cloudy field vision and a sieve of an offensive line don't really give him a chance to process a play fast enough to throw it to a wide receiver. Of course, ignoring the receivers in the red zone is an appropriate homage to Andre Johnson because, somehow, a guy who is 11th all-time in catches and in receiving yards is tied for 42nd all-time in touchdown catches. Shameful.
3. Lose to the Cardinals in soul crushing fashion
The Texans are actually 1-2 against the Cardinals as a franchise, and Johnson played in all three of those games. Somehow, the Cardinals managed to lose to the 2005 Texans, a team that went 2-14. However, the 2009 and 2013 losses to the Cardinals are probably more front of mind for Texan fans, and these were two games where Johnson actually scored multiple touchdowns in each game. In 2009, Johnson had 8 catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns, including this beast mode play...
Unfortunately, the Texans lost that game 28-21, when running back Chris Brown fumbled near the goal line late in the game. Then in 2013, in one of Case Keenum's starts in that 2-14 debacle, Johnson had two touchdowns in a 27-24 loss.
2. Fly in Cortland Finnegan and pay whatever his fee is to let Andre beat the piss out of him
Honestly, if the Texans ignore this donnybrook between Johnson and Finnegan in their video tributes, I will be fuming....
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SHOW ME HOW
1. Let Andre leave with a minute to go in the game.
Probably not his proudest moment, but at that juncture, with the 2013 season well down the tubes, I think Andre was speaking for an entire city when he dog-cussed Matt Schaub on the sidelines following a horrific red zone interception....
Happy belated Andre Johnson Day, y'all!
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.