Archive for Houston Texans

Wrapping Up The First Weekend Of The Year As Fast As I Can

Posted in NFL Football, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2011 by thelasthonestman

The key word for me is: busy.  As in, I’ve had a busy weekend to start 2011, and the next couple of days are going to be equally as hectic.  But enough happened this weekend that I needed to touch on it, so here’s a quick wrap-up before I get to my NFL Playoff picks later in the week.

— A hearty congratulations to TCU for their victory in the Rose Bowl against Wisconsin, culminating a 13-0 season and a chance to win the national title in their next game against .. oh, that’s right.  There is no tomorrow for this year’s Horned Frogs, thanks to the eternal stupidity of the B(C)S.  Still, it was nice to see one of the non-BCS conference teams yet again prove that they’re as worthy of playing for the title as the teams from the traditional “power’ conferences.

— And speaking of those “power” conferences, I wonder if we’ll hear Ohio State president Gordon Gee spout off again about the strength of the Big Ten and disparage teams like TCU the way he did back in late November when he dismissed the credentials of schools from non-BCS schools as unworthy.  “We do not play the Little Sisters of the Poor. We play very fine schools on any given day,” Gee had said at the time — conveniently ignoring the cream-puff part of Ohio State’s schedule that featured Marshall and Eastern Michigan, two schools whose football teams might have had their own trouble beating the Little Sisters of the Poor in 2010.

What Gee should have said then was “We play very fine schools on any given day — and we usually lose royally to them.”  Or at least, that’s what it seemed like the last couple of days, as the Big Ten embarrassed themselves this weekend going 0-5, with Michigan and Michigan State getting outscored 101-21 in their humiliating losses — that’s in addition to Wisconsin’s loss to those “undeserving” Horned Frogs.  The Big Ten has proven itself to be over-matched more often than not in recent years when it comes to the Bowl Season, and this year was just more of the same.

"Let's see if I have this straight -- if there's no 2011 season, I can't lose any more games, right?"

— After my piece on Friday on coaches that I thought should be headed for the unemployment line, reports leaked that two of the head men in question — Gary Kubiak from Houston and Jason Garrett from Dallas — were probably going to be retained for 2011.  If true, there’s drastically different reasons for those decisions — Kubiak’s retention after he signed a two-year extension after last season screams out “There’s a lockout coming and I don’t want to pay two head coaches” from Texans owner Bob McNair, while Garrett earned his retention by going 5-3.

I still think neither is the answer for their teams.  Assuming both come back next year and that there’s actually an NFL season for us to watch (a big assumption at this point, as crazy as that should sound),  Garrett may last longer than a year in his new position, but I think I have a better chance at getting hired as an NFL coach myself than Kubiak surviving yet another season of disappointing results — which is exactly what he’s going to bring to the Texans if he stays.

Not pictured: A team deserving of a trip to the playoffs in 2010

— And finally, the NFL has to be thrilled to see a 7-9 team in the Seattle Seahawks backing into making the playoffs after beating the equally hapless St. Louis Rams on Sunday night in a game that I frankly has trouble sitting through and watching.  Even my fantasy football leagues have a rule that says you have to finish at least .500 to make the playoffs — but the NFL doesn’t?  Mercifully, the Seahawks playoff run should be as brief as it will be painful for Roger Goodell to watch.

Later this week, I’ll be back with my 2nd Annual Crappy Playoff Predictions — be sure not to miss it!

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It’s Almost 2011 — Time For These NFL Coaches To Start Looking For New Jobs

Posted in NFL Football, Sports, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2010 by thelasthonestman

It’s the last day of the year that was, and first off, I hope everyone reading has an enjoyable day tomorrow and a wonderful new year in 2011.

That said, there’s a bunch of guys who, in the week that’s upcoming, will be looking for  new jobs — or at least, if their employers have any sense, will be.  While the preceding sentence could apply to any number of people, in this instance, I’m talking about a number of NFL coaches who will be entering the unemployment line shortly.

Last off-season was a relatively quiet year for coaching changes in the league, but this off-season could result in a bloodbath — already, four teams (Dallas, Minnesota, Denver, and San Francisco) have canned their top men, one more coaching change than we saw all last season.  And that’s only the beginning.  There’s a good number more who should be cleaning out their offices — or would be, if I was the one making the decisions for these teams (surprisingly to me, one of those is not Lovie Smith, who shocked me completely by reigning in Mike Martz’ worst tendencies, inspiring his charges in Chicago, and leading my Bears to a first round playoff bye — I’m happy to admit I was way off on my prediction for the results in the Windy City this year).

So who should go?  Four of my top candidates are:

Norv Turner — San Diego

Norv's been wearing this expression for most of 2010

So let me see if I’ve got this straight:  the Chargers have had, for the entire season, one of the top-3 offenses and defenses in the NFL — yet they might now finish better than am embarrassing and underachieving 8-8?  Well, at least Chargers fans have the playoff successes of recent years to fall back on.  Or not.

The 2010 Chargers have been a mess since the Chiefs thoroughly handled them way back in Week 1.  You can blame it on the injuries (to Antonio Gates and others), you can blame it on one o f the worst special teams in NFL history (which seemed to give up at least a touchdown a game), or you can blame it on the holdouts (like Vincent Jackson).  But in the end, the ultimate blame lies with Turner, who has accomplished in San Diego pretty much what I expected him to do — less than what the talent dictated he should have.  The Chargers mailing it in last week against the Bungles should have sealed his fate.

Jack Del Rio — Jacksonville

Speaking of mailing it in, how does a team playing for it’s playoff life at home against one of the most dysfunctional organizations in the NFL manage to put up the absolute stinker that the Jaguars did last week?  Especially when their opponent was undermanned and less talented and led by Rex Freaking Grossman at QB?  Has there been a bigger no-show by a team in a crucial game this season so far?

Like milk, picking Jacksonville last week was a bad choice

I was so certain of Jacksonville winning last week (admittedly, as much due to Washington’s failings as the Jaguars’ strengths) that I selected them in a Survivor Pool I was in (for the uninitiated, that’s a contest where you pick an NFL winner every week, but can’t select the same team twice).   Much like Ron Burgundy and milk, I immediately regretted that decision as soon as the game started.  As I posted elsewhere about the game: [The Jaguars are] a thoroughly mediocre team with mediocre personnel and a mediocre coach and led by a mediocre QB.  Ownership can fix one of these problems on Monday by handing Del Rio his pink slip on Monday.

Mike Shanahan — Washington

Which brings us to the team that beat Jacksonville last week.  That victory should do nothing to wipe away the unquestionable stench of what’s been the Redskins season, a season that may have resulted in a few more wins that last year’s debacle under then-coach Jim Zorn, but in many ways, has regressed the once-proud franchise even further.

Maybe Daniel Snyder should have hired this guy to run the Redskins instead

It’s hard to believe now, but back in week 7, Washington beat the number two seed Chicago Bears in Soldier Field to raise their record to 4-3.  The next week resulted in the surreal benching of Donovan McNabb in Detroit for Rex Grossman when the Redskins still had a chance to tie the game on the game’s final series — and ever since then, Washington has seen their season implode.  The Redskins are 2-5 since then, they were embarrassed on national television by the Eagles, they have no quarterback for next season, they threw away draft picks to acquire McNabb, their talent level on both sides of the ball is lacking, and they have several malcontents on the roster stirring up trouble.  Other than that, everything is rosy.

Shanahan is still living off the rep of having won two Super Bowls — it’s getting more clear every day that the credit to those belongs to John Elway and Terrell Davis, and far less to Shanahan’s “genius”, which has resulted in a whopping one playoff win in the eleven seasons since Elway retired.  There’s no way Daniel Snyder will fire Shanahan after only one season of his five year deal gone — but for the sake of his team’s future success, he should.

Gary Kubiak — Houston

"Even if I win this week's meaningless game, I'm not coming back again, am I?"

This entry shouldn’t surprise readers of the blog — I was detailing reasons why Kubiak should be fired last season — and once again, the Houston Texans coach is feeling the pressure of being on the hot seat.  The Texans late season charge that resulted in four straight wins and the franchise’s first winning season saved Kubiak’s job then — though a meaningless winning streak when the team had all but been eliminated from the playoffs shouldn’t have blinded owner Bob McNair to the reality that Kubiak isn’t the man to lead the team to the next level.

There’s certainly plenty of talent on the Texans — Arien Foster’s emergence at running back has been one of the top stories in the NFL this year (though it should be noted that without the injury in the pre-season of Ben Tate, Foster would probably have been buried on Kubiak’s depth chart, just like he was last year), and the ultra-tough Andre Johnson is still one of the best receivers in the game.  Matt Schaub’s play is still inconsistent, however, and the defensive performance this year has been a disappointment.  The Texans’ performance can be summed up in the season’s third week, when following two victories (including one over their arch-rival Colts), Houston lost at home to Dallas — a simply inexcusable loss that exemplifies why Kubiak should be gone — even if it’s a year too late.

Other coaches I think should be fired?  Jason Garrett (his unwillingness to discipline Marion Barber or Roy Williams during his tenure as top man shows he’s simply Wade V.2.0), Eric Mangini (overrated in New York, and he’s not Holmgren’s hire), and John Fox and Marvin Lewis (two guys who have worn out their welcome, and both of whom are in the last years of their contracts anyway).  (UPDATE — Not long after I published this, Carolina announced that as expected, Fox would not return in 2011).

With that, I’m out of here.  Happy New Year to everyone, and I’ll be back next week with my 2nd annual playoff predictions!

Quick Thoughts For A New Week

Posted in News/Current Events, NFL Football, Politics, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 22, 2010 by thelasthonestman

Being too busy to post on a daily basis — or even sometimes a weekly basis — makes it a pain to keep tabs with so many of the things going on around the world that I’d like to comment on when they’re still fresh on everyone’s mind.  But it is what it is.  That just means, instead of in-depth commentary from yours truly on any given subject, you’re left with more of the Cliff’s Notes version of what I think in its place.  But that’s better than nothing, right?  Right?  Nah — don’t answer that …

brad— In today’s news, Brad Childress is gone as the Minnesota Vikings head coach.  Like the firing of Wade Phillips a couple of weeks ago, this move seemed long overdue.  While it comes too late to save the Vikings’ season — frankly, even if it had been made weeks ago, Minnesota would still be headed for a seat on their couch come playoff time — replacing Childress with Leslie Frazier is a step in the right direction for the franchise.

It’ll be interesting to see if Frazier is able to put his stamp on the team or not — and the best way he could do that would be to sit Brett Favre in favor of Tavaris Jackson.  Jackson isn’t anything special, but Favre’s imitation of a turnover machine is absolutely killing the team, and the offense’s over-reliance on Favre’s arm — particularly in the red zone — has been a problem all season.  The best weapon the Vikings have is Adrian Peterson, yet Childress underutilized him all year.  Of course, that decision-making is why he’s unemployed today.

— Speaking of soon-to-be-unemployed head coaches, I was calling for Texans head coach Gary Kubiak to get the axe last year around this time — but he was brought back instead thanks to a meaningless late-season rally last year that left Houston back at .500 on the season.  And not surprisingly, here the Texans are again: 4-6 and pretty much out of the playoff hunt — again.   I have a feeling that even if Houston can put up a late-season winning streak to get back to .500 once more, this time Kubiak won’t be so lucky.

— While we’re on the subject of comebacks, in the news this past week was the stunning declaration from AP that Lisa Murkowski, the Republican senator from Alaska, looks to emerge victorious in her election campaign as a write-in candidate against Joe Miller, who previously beat her in the Republican primary.  Murkowski’s apparent victory would make her the first candidate to win a write-in campaign for the Senate since Strom Thurmond in South Carolina in 1954. But Miller and his supporters are not going away quietly, as despite the apparently clear voice of the Alaskan people, the Tea Party candidate has vowed to keep fighting, getting an injunction today in court to halt the election certification.

It’s an embarrassment to Miller, the Tea Party, and the Republican Party that though the result seems pretty clear, they’ll attempt anything in order to reverse the election outcome, such as attempting to disqualify votes for Murkowski due to misspellings of her name by one letter, or votes that reversed her name (Murkowski, Lisa) in the wrote-in space.  I’m wondering how many of Miller’s supporters supported Al Gore’s recount efforts in Florida back in 2000?  I’m guessing none.  The people of Alaska have spoken, and it’s been that they want no part of Miller as their senator.  Miller and his supporters — including Sarah Palin — should take the hint.

— Hopefully, I’ll be a little bit more active here again soon — free time permitting of course.  With the holiday season approaching rapidly, I hope everyone reading this stays safe and enjoys themselves this week and beyond.