Some Praise For the Houston Texans (No, Really!)

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Many of you out there probably think that I hate the Texans. But I don't. I just hold them to a high standard. A standard that I think everybody should apply to them. That said, I'm not here to criticize the Houston Texans today. No, I'm actually about to say some nice things.

The Texans made three moves this past week that pleasantly surprised me, and they're on the verge of making what I think is another good move. Now will these moves make the team a playoff team next year? I don't think so. But for once, I actually like something that Gary Kubiak is doing.

I can't say how thrilled I am about the Texans signing Dan Orlovsky to be Matt Schaub's backup QB. Orlovsky is no Jeff Garcia, to be sure - and damn, I wanted to see Mrs. Jeff Garcia sitting in the Reliant Stadium stands - but seeing as how he played for one of the worst teams in NFL history last season, he actually put up decent stats when he got the chance to start for the Detroit Lions. Orlovsky wants the chance to be a starting QB, but with Matt Schaub's injury history, there's a damn good chance that he'll get the chance to start games here in Houston. And seeing as how the Texans are a far more talented team than the Lions, Orlovsky might actually get the chance to prove he's a decent quarterback. Plus, he's not Patrick Ramsey, and I can't tell you how happy I am that, for once, Gary Kubiak bypassed a Denver Broncos reject, especially a reject that has proven to be a bigger bust than Joey Harrington.

Then the team made what appears to be a good move on the defensive front line, signing free agent end Antonio Smith to play opposite of Mario Williams. The reports are that Smith is a good guy and a good teammate, and that he's damn good on the field. I think I've been honest in the past when I've said that I wasn't thrilled by Mario Williams when he started, but the guy impressed the hell out of me last season, and it's good to see that he's getting some help. And a good defensive line, one that can put on a quarterback, can make a bad secondary look good, and Dunta Robinson aside, the Texans secondary isn't that good.

But I think the best move the Texans made last week was in hiring NFL Hall of Famer, and former Houston Oiler, Bruce Matthews to be an offensive assistant. He's supposedly wants to learn about coaching from the bottom up, and he hasn't been hired as an offensive line coach, but having one of the greatest offensive linemen in history - and perhaps one of the greatest players in NFL history - on the staff can't do anything but help the players on the offensive line. Plus, on a personal note, I actually met Bruce Matthews years ago right before the Oilers moved to Nashville, and he was just a great, friendly guy. So damn, it's exciting to have him associated with Houston football once again.

And according to yesterday's papers, the Texans are trying to sign former Longhorn running back Cedric Benson. Benson flamed out as the number one choice of the Chicago Bears, and he had some legal difficulties last year - though, in fairness, all charges against him were dropped - and he put together a decent season for the inept Cincinnati Bengals last season, while staying out of legal trouble - which really says something considering the Bengals and their history of legally troubled players. And if the Texans do sign Benson, he could be a perfect compliment to Steve Slaton.

I'm also happy to see that, by considering Benson, the Texans seem to be dumping that "good guys only need apply" policy of theirs because, truthfully, can anyone out there think of a team of all good guys that has ever won in the NFL? Seriously? Even Tom Landry's Cowboys had some members of the criminal element. I'm not saying that the Texans need to become the Bengals, the Raiders, or the Dallas Cowboys, but they shouldn't automatically reject players with troubled pasts.

I'm not going soft on the Houston Texans, but I really am pleased by the moves they made these past several days. But if Gary Kubiak starts talking to any more Denver Broncos about playing here, then he better be speaking with Jay Cutler.

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