They say the third preseason game is the one that's supposed to most closely resemble a regular season game. With most of the starters (the available ones, at least) playing a full half, the game against the Saints Sunday was supposed to give Texan fans a decent glimpse at what's in store for 2013.
Of course, Gary Kubiak's squad was missing Ed Reed, Wade Smith, and Whitney Mercilus due to injury, Antonio Smith due to suspension, and Arian Foster, DeAndre Hopkins, and J.J. Watt due to caution.
So we'll hang the 17-16 halftime deficit, the myriad of mistakes in the red zone, and the final score of Saints 31, Texans 23 on the fact that this only looked "kinda sorta" like a real Texans game. That's the healthy and convenient way to look at it.
As always, winners and losers abounded. Here are a few...
4. Ben Tate Tate is one of the more intriguing guys on the team in that I can't think of a guy in a contract year who has less of a chance of returning to his team regardless of the type of year he may have. Think about it. If he sucks, he's gone. If he has a great season, he'll get paid by someone else. Even if something career ending happened to Arian Foster, there's no chance they'd pay Tate what someone else would if he had a big year. (I just don't think they fully trust him enough to pay him.) All of that is a precursor to say that Sunday Tate was an eyelash away from being on the shit list with an early fumble that he was able to fall on. Instead, he then went off for 74 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown. Solid day for the Texans number two running back, and in a weird way a perfect microcosm for why he just can't be totally trusted.
By the way, at this point, Deji Karim would probably need to willingly hand the ball to the Cowboys three or four times in the preseason finale and then leave the building in a convertible with Rhonda Kubiak riding shotgun to lose the number three running back spot. He got the majority of the carries among the backs not named Foster or Tate again on Sunday, and is still easily the best special teamer of the bunch.
Revised third RB Big Board looks like this:
Deji Karim -750 Dennis Johnson +500 Cierre Wood +600 Ray Graham +4000
3. Randy Bullock Three field goals (48, 55, and 21 yards) and multiple kickoffs for touchbacks -- yes, I feel stupid for being aghast that Kubiak chose not to bring in a veteran kicker to compete with Bullock. Part of a long list of reasons I feel stupid. Daily.
2. Jared Crick With the black elbow brace, and the bulky, corn fed Causcasin frame, and the jersey number with the 9 as the first digit, there was almost a "fake Diesel/fake Razor Ramon" thing going on with Jared Crick as it pertains to J.J. Watt. Add to that the fact that Crick actually got to Drew Brees for a sack (finishing move!), and it was full on gimmick infringement! Of course, I'm now waiting for First Take on ESPN tomorrow to propose that perhaps J.J. Watt is a product of the system. Sigh.
1. T.J. Yates As much as the city of Houston is hoping to mentally will Case Keenum to the backup job (Actually, to be clear, a big chunk of Houston is trying to mentally will him to the starter's job, but that's another story for another time.), Yates has done not a single thing to lose it, and on Sunday, if anything, he solidified his hold on the backup role with another stellar outing (7 of 9 for 73 yards and a touchdown) juxtaposed to a decent but unspectacular day from Keenum (10 of 14 for 79 yards and a stalled drive at the end of the game). Yates will need to put up a real clunker in Dallas to get demoted to number three. LOSERS
4. Keshawn Martin On a day where the number one receiver was only going to play a half, and the next two were both out (Hopkins and Posey), Martin had a chance to really solidify himself as a viable option for Matt Schaub. Instead, he wound up with 2 catches for 10 yards and one terrible, high school calliber drop on a crossing route from Schaub on a third down in the first half. Martin's chart of effectiveness for both of his seasons so far has literally peaked on like the second day of two-a-days.
3. News anchors In this day and age of multimedia, versatility might be the biggest key to survival in the television/radio/print businesses. You either need to show a great proficiency in one topical area (i.e. sports) across multiple platforms (i.e. TV, radio, blog, etc.), OR you need to show a great proficiency on one platform discussing a variety of topics. It's just a fact of life, and the ones who aren't very good at that multiplicity get exposed quickly.
Which brings us to Baltimore area news anchor Jeff Barnd. As if his Twitter bio was not already confirmation enough that he is not really a sports guy (He "loves current events, politics and has an aversion to twitchy bug parts when you step on them." I have no idea what that last part means.), on Thursday he tweeted this:
Two weeks from tonight. The season opener! I'm like a kid and its December 24th. Prediction; Ravens/Texans SB XLVIII! pic.twitter.com/pkp9j2Jpmq
— Jeff Barnd (@JeffBarnd) August 22, 2013
Apparently, we are on the cusp of a nuclear holocaust that is going to wipe out all of the teams in the NFC....or Jeff Barnd just doesn't know shit about football. Stick to news, news guy.
2. Dan Orlovsky Poor Dan Orlovsky. Saturday night, he's innocently going about his business, trying to secure his roster spot with the Tamps Bay Buccaneers in a game against the Miami Dolphins, and through no fault of his own, his name blows up and begins ignominiously trending on Twitter in the middle of the game. That was because, back in New York, Geno Smith was doing this...
...which naturally reminded everybody of this...
...which led to reactions like this...
Wait a minute .. Did Geno Smith pull a Dan Orlovsky last night?.. Haha.
— Adio Royster (@AdioBRoyster) August 25, 2013
Did Geno Smith really pull a Dan Orlovsky the other night?
— Ben Wagner (@thebenwagner) August 25, 2013
Geno Smith went "Full Orlovsky" last night http://t.co/UTpR1F4rdw
— Aaron Lowe (@thelowedown) August 25, 2013
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The rule as always -- if your name can be seamlessly entered into the phrase "pull a _____" and people know exactly what's being referred to, it's probably not a good thing.
1. Governor Christie's pants Well, I'll say this -- if Governor Christie becomes president someday and works half as hard as his pants are working in this picture, the economy will enter a boom period the likes of which we haven't seen since the champagne and caviar days of the Reagan Administration:
Gov. Christie isn't leaning as far to the right or left as some might think. #2016 pic.twitter.com/Gi5UiPb6m8
— Karen Howell (@karenehowell) August 25, 2013
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 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.