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Sports Columnist Smackdown: John Royal Writes Back

For those of you just tuning in: John Royal said this. Jason Friedman said this. And now John Royal responds below.

Um, we appreciate your zeal, Ms. Cheerleader, but did you even bother to read this post?

Wow, now I know what move.on.org feels like after that General Betray Us ad. I’m expecting the Senate to pass a resolution condemning me. So let me get this straight:

I’m not supposed to criticize the Texans?

That’s what

I seem to be reading


The Texans played hard. They got to within a touchdown. They had injuries. And the poor Texans had to play without Andre Johnson. And the poor Texans lost Ahman Green to an entirely predictable injury in the second quarter. Then they lost Steve McKinney. And Jacoby Jones.

Tell you what. Cry me a freakin' river.

Yes, I know, the Colts are the defending Super Bowl champs. It kind of makes you wonder how the Texans were able to defeat them last year. After all, David Carr was quarterbacking that team, and I somehow understand that he’s not even fit to carry Rex Grossman’s jock.

Look, there’s only one reason the Texans were even as close to the Colts as they were: Jerome Mathis was incredible. I would hate to think about how pathetic that offense would’ve looked without Mathis getting them exceptional field position (seven returns for 233 yards total) on his kick returns – and he had to do that an awful lot because the defense failed to stop the Colts. Time after time after time. In case you can’t do the basic math, the Colts scored six times. They only had the ball nine times. That’s not a very good percentage. The Texans, by the way, scored on three of nine possessions. That’s a shitty percentage.

Yes, the Texans played hard. But the Colts didn’t seem to be trying. There’s a lot of talk about Marvin Harrison being shut down, but it looked more like a deal of Peyton Manning taking advantage of the awful Texans defense to try and get in some real work with rookie receiver Anthony Gonzalez (and if Brandon Stokely would’ve still been around, some of those drops of Gonzalez’s would’ve gone for touchdowns, so open was Gonzalez).

The score was 27-10 at the start of the fourth quarter. It would’ve been 27-3 but for the incredible work of Jerome Mathis. The Colts somehow remembered that the Texans ran the ball last Christmas Eve, so they stuffed the line and dared Matt Schaub to throw the ball. One of Schaub’s interceptions wasn’t his fault, but if David Carr would’ve thrown an interception into triple coverage right after a Jacoby Jones 74-yard punt return, he would’ve been booed out of the stadium.

This wasn’t a close game. It wasn’t even close to being a close game.

And yes the Texans didn’t give up, like presumably they would’ve done under David Carr. But the coaching sure seemed like Dom Capers-era coaching. Capers, I mean Gary Kubiak, lost a time-out because he went for a replay challenge on one of Schaub’s interceptions. I could tell from my seat high upon the almost next to the next to the next last row that he was going to lose the challenge – that’s how obvious the interception was. And I wonder how much Kubiak would’ve liked to have to that time out back when the Texans got the ball back with only 19 seconds on the clock because he so mismanaged the clock during the Texans last possession. He looked as clueless as Dom Capers.

But, but, but, you say, Kubiak didn’t have his weapons. So what? What weapons did Dom Capers have? Not that I’m defending Dom Capers. Or David Carr. But I want the same standards applied to everybody. Dom Capers and David Carr would’ve been crucified if they turned in performances like Kubiak and Schaub did on Sunday, and if nobody else is going to hold them to that same standard, then it’s going to be me. Somebody’s got to tell the Emperor that he’s got no clothes.

Really, some of the stuff that I’ve read makes Jesus Ortiz sound tough and objective. [Editor's note: Oh, snap!]

I’ll tell you what, do you want me to say some nice things about the Texans? Will that make everyone feel a little bit better? Okay, Jerome Mathis was incredible. You could tell Adam Vinateri was placing the kicks so that Mathis would have to run down the middle of the field and into the heart of the kicking team, and still he was able to break through. And I’m sorry to hear that Jacoby Jones was injured because he made the punt return game as much an integral part of the Texans offense as Mathis did the kick return game. And I like Matt Turk as the punter. He makes you wonder why the Texans held onto Chad Stanley as long as they did.

There, you happy. I said something positive.

But I think I know what the problem is. It’s not that I’m still able to watch the Texans with an objective eye, I think it’s that many people are so overwhelmed by such an intense hatred of all things David Carr and Dom Capers that they’re unable to see any faults in their replacements.

And, well, reading some of this stuff, it’s kind of like the President telling me how great things are going over in Iraq. But as with Bush, delusions repeated time after time after time don’t make for fact.

The Texans suck. And if not for Jerome Mathis, who I’m willing to praise as much and for as long and at as loud a volume as I am Hunter Pence, the Texans would’ve been blown out of the water on Sunday.

And that’s the facts. So go suck on that. -- John Royal

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