Things a Houston Texans Fan Says
The followers of this team have gone through a lot of lean times prior to their recent success. Combined with the exodus of the Houston Oilers to Tennessee in 1997, those experiences have created a series of issues, topics and attitudes that are shared by all.
When Texans fans congregate to discuss the current state of affairs and how they arrived at this point, these are the things that are bound to come up.
At Least Bud Adams Is Gone
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Adams changed the face of professional football by being one of the founding members of the American Football League. Known as The Foolish Club, they established teams in cities where the NFL refused to expand.
This pioneering spirit is easy to forget after Adams turned his back on the city that supported the Houston Oilers for 36 years. In 1994, then-Houston mayor Bob Lanier told him there would not be a new stadium initiative placed on the ballot.
This was just a few years after the Oilers' owner wrangled $67 million in stadium upgrades in 1987. The threat of moving the team to Jacksonville was all it took to get Harris County officials to capitulate.
The city fathers were not going to give in once again when Adams demanded he get a new dome. Out of this impasse, the Tennessee Titans were born.
It was bad enough that he not only took the team, but the entire history of the franchise as well. This grievous error was not permitted when Art Modell moved the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore in 1996.
It is just this kind of arrogance that makes Texans fans glad to be rid of the traitor.
Bob McNair Is the Greatest Texan of Them All
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When a man puts up $700 million of his own money to return NFL football to Houston, that alone will buy you a lot of respect.
Bob McNair has conducted himself with class and restraint when compared with other owners (see Jerry Jones). Just by virtue of the initial investment, his commitment to this franchise has never been questioned.
His devotion to Gary Kubiak, on the other hand, has befuddled fans and experts alike. When Houston went 6-10 in 2010, no one could believe that any sensible owner would keep him around.
But McNair stayed the course, and it has paid dividends. His team has won back-to-back division titles and is finally considered a contender, albeit a flawed one.
When Pro Football Talk constructed its Mount Rushmore for the Texans, the owner was awarded the first spot. There are very few fans who would argue with that result.
Matt Schaub Is Not an Elite QB
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When Houston lost to the Baltimore Ravens in 2011 playoffs, most of the Texans’ true believers were convinced all that stood between the Texans and Super Bowl XLVII was a healthy Matt Schaub.
Now, many of those same supporters feel Schaub is the very thing that stands between their team and ultimate glory.
This quarterback has compiled some impressive statistics over his career: 11th in passer rating, seventh in completion percentage and fifth in net yards per pass attempt. Where he comes up short is in the “clutch” column.
After Schaub had two overtime wins in Weeks 10 and 11, he threw just five touchdown passes for the remainder of last season. He only completed one over a four-game stretch where the team could have captured the top playoff seed in the AFC.
Recent history has shown a hot quarterback is essential if you want to “run the table” in the postseason. Joe Flacco threw 11 touchdowns and no interceptions for a Super Bowl- winning Ravens team that went 1-4 to close out the 2012 regular season.
There was nothing in Flacco’s body of work that showed he was capable of such excellence. The time has come for Schaub to do the same and prove his critics wrong.
Gary Kubiak Is Too Conservative
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This claim is made so often; you have to define the term conservative.
Does it mean the offense does not throw the ball enough? The Texans averaged 34.6 pass attempts per game and 34.7 is the league average, so they are neither high nor low in this category.
Or do they not throw the ball deep enough? Their 6.6 net yards per pass attempt ranked 13th, far behind the league-leading Denver Broncos. Their total passing yards of 3,830 placed them 11th, well over 1,000 yards less than the New Orleans Saints.
Everyone knows Kubiak has a run-first philosophy, stretching back to his days as the offensive coordinator with the Broncos. He has a horse named Arian Foster, ranked the No. 8 player in the NFL Network’s Top 100, and he’s going to ride it.
That’s not what makes the offensive mastermind of the Texans “conservative.” In trying to play mistake-free football, Kubiak plays it too tight in the red zone. This explains why Foster has led the NFL in rushing touchdowns two out of the last three seasons.
It is also the same reason why his team is 11th in red-zone scores per game, and first in field goal attempts per game. Not only that, Houston’s wide receivers had just five targets in goal-to-go situations the entire 2012 season.
Looks like the fans are right on this one, too.
Wade Phillips Saved Kubiak’s Job
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Gary Kubiak would now be employed as a simple O-coordinator if Phillips had not come along.
When the head coach got a reprieve after the 2010 season, it was obvious the defense was in need of repair. What this vehicle really needed was a new driver.
He delivered by taking the defense from the near bottom of the rankings to second in yard allowed and fourth in points allowed. Phillips was also instrumental in drafting J.J. Watt.
Without the defensive improvement, does anyone believe the Texans get near the playoffs the last two seasons? Without making the playoffs, Kubiak goes back to the role he currently plays on this team minus the “head coach” in front of his name.
J.J. Watt Is A Beast
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Several NFL players are deserving of the “beast” identifier. Marshawn Lynch runs with such intensity that he operates in “Beast Mode”. When a defensive tackle like Geno Atkins gets double-digit sacks, he can rightfully be referred to as a beast.
But no one since the AFL-NFL merger was more deserving of the title than Defensive Player of the Year Watt. The 20.5 sacks and 16 passes defended were remarkable enough.
To do it as a defensive end in a 3-4 formation is unworldly. It might be more accurate to describe Watt as a time traveler, someone sent from the future to show how football will be played decades from now.
When you are that big, that quick and that strong, the other players at your position look like they are behind the times. However, “time traveler” doesn’t roll off the tongue.
“Beast” will do quite well for now.
Bring Back Eric Winston
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Right offensive tackle is not the most glamorous position. When you cannot be sure who will play it, all of a sudden it gets the attention usually paid to a swimsuit model.
This story has been told before. Derek Newton is coming off of surgery, third-round pick Brennan Williams has been hurt since the rookie minicamp and journeyman Ryan Harris has become the default starter.
Somebody call Eric Winston!
Texans fans remember the 80 straight games he played for Houston before being unceremoniously released for some cap savings in the 2012 offseason. The Kansas City Chiefs did the same thing a couple of months ago in preparation for using the first pick in the draft at his spot.
Winston is still on the streets waiting for some team to make him an offer. Most everyone has been scared off by his price tag, thought to be well beyond the league-minimum for his experience.
If the Texans are seriously entertaining the notion of signing Vonta Leach when they already have Greg Jones, doesn’t Winston seem to be the more necessary addition? As time goes by, Winston’s salary demands are bound to slacken.
What Should Be Done with the Astrodome?
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There isn’t a Texans fan, or for that matter a resident of Houston, who does not have an opinion on what should be done with this relic. For fans of a certain generation, they can recall the days of "Luv Ya Blue" while walking past the Astrodome on their way to Reliant Stadium.
Some want to raze it to the ground, others demand that it be turned into something useful. The Harris County Sports & Convention Corp., who is responsible for its upkeep, has opted to turn it into a convention center for the low, low price of $194 million.
But first this decision will have to be approved by the voters. You would think most are aware that nothing of this nature ever gets done within its budget. Harvard professor Judith Grant Long says taxpayers spent 25 percent more than originally forecast to maintain existing sports facilities in 2010.
A renovation project such as this is destined to have similar cost overruns. How many minds that could change will not be known until the ballots are counted.
Until then, you will hard pressed to find a Texans fan that will respond to this question with “I don’t know”.