Every even-numbered year since I got into radio in 2007 (and perhaps even before that, I just wasn't paying attention), the Houston Texans would travel east on I-10 in mid-August (actually, to be more accurate, they probably flew charter) to practice for the entire week against the New Orleans Saints. The culmination of the week would be
me vomiting at 4 a.m. Sunday morning the two teams squaring off in the Superdome in a preseason football tilt.
I made the trip in both 2008 and 2010, and of my five years of radio memories, I would say five of my twenty funniest/most memorable moments occurred on this trip. Also, roughly eighteen of my twenty least sober moments in that same timeframe happened on these trips.
The routine was awesome. Each day, John Granato and I would cover practice in the morning, eat lunch at some famous French Quarter eatery, do our show in the afternoon from the hotel bar, take a nap, and then go out and drink until 4 a.m. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Sadly, the Texans and Saints no longer do the weeklong practice deal, possibly because of the high propensity for guys to get into fights, which was always a highlight, and a great source for underground wagering. Who's gonna start the first brawl this season? Instead, what was once a fantastic week of
debauchery intense football preparation has been reduced to just another preseason game.
The Texans play the Saints this Saturday night in the third preseason game of 2012. The third preseason game is the proverbial "one where we will learn the most about both teams," with starters playing well into the third quarter. I plan on watching Saturday night, so should you! Here are five things I will be watching for:
5. Case Keenum's big chance. It sounds like once Matt Schaub and the starters are done playing three quarters, Case Keenum is going to get a chance to play with the second unit. I wouldn't read too much into this other than a) the team kind of knows what they have in T.J. Yates, so reps aren't as crucial for him, b) Case didn't get nearly the number of reps they wanted to see out of him last Saturday, and c) they do like Case Keenum. Hopefully, Trindon Holliday won't return another punt for a touchdown and eat up another possible Keenum possession like last week against the 49ers.
4. Roger Clemens. I will not be in New Orleans for the game on Saturday, which means I'll be watching on television. At some point during the game, my frisky remote control finger will wander over to ESPN Classic where Roger Clemens is making his debut for the Sugar Land Skeeters in the independent leagues. While I will certainly have recreational purposes for watching Clemens, I'm most interested to see if an ulterior motive for Clemens' comeback will reveal itself, like a decade-long grudge against one of the Bridgeport players that Clemens feels can only be resolved with a beanball. Seems like kind of an elaborate scheme just to plunk a guy over a longstanding beef, but you never know with the Rocket. 3. DeVier Posey, for the love of God, do something. Posey, who by all accounts is working hard in and after practice, is on pace to set the record for least amount of productivity while still making a 53-man roster. In his defense, he's only been targeted twice in two games, but the fact that he's on with the mop-up unit to begin with is kind of an issue. Also, he missed practice this week with a calf injury, so there's that, too.
2. Joel Meyers furry hands. I don't know if any of you have noticed, and I don't normally go out of my way to look for this type of thing so you probably have noticed, but Joel Meyers has maybe the hairiest fingers of a non-Wookiee that I've ever seen. Take a look:
Where to begin? Has Meyers tried to keep his finger hair current with the hair styles of the time? Did he grow it out in the `70's? Feather it in the `80's? Does he realize that the ladies of the new millennium are not big fans of body hair? Is he actually just a really highly functional form of a Sasquatch? Does he store anything inside that hair, a la Captain Caveman's body hair? Do hairy fingers imply anything in the same "recreational family" as hairy palms? I need to know.
Keep in mind, in order to see Joel Meyers' mitts, you'll have to watch the very beginning of the telecast for the three minutes or so when he is actually in the shot, otherwise you will miss them. It's like going to Houston Zoo and making sure you're watching that stupid, fucking albino alligator at feeding time, otherwise if you see it during the other 23 hours and 45 minutes of the day, it may as well be a statue.
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1. Kicking game. I'll have my eye on Trindon Holliday just out of morbid curiosity over whether or not it's possible for a player to return a punt and a kick for touchdowns in the first two games and then do something so catastrophic that he doesn't make the team. Also, round three of Graham versus Bullock for the placekicking duties will happen. It's not sexy, but it matters.
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.