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ESPN: Texans-Sized Troubles

Discussion in 'Houston Texans' started by Rockets34Legend, Oct 12, 2005.

  1. Rockets34Legend

    Rockets34Legend Contributing Member

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    http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/columns/story?columnist=smith_michael&id=2187361

    Carr still taking a pounding

    By Michael Smith
    ESPN.com

    HOUSTON -- A few weeks ago, Texans quarterback David Carr filmed an HEB Grocery Stores commercial with Astros star pitchers Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte. This is relevant because a few months ago the Astros were 15 games below .500, and now they're in the National League Championship Series.

    Clemens and Pettitte encouraged Carr, whose team had just lost its season opener at Buffalo, by reminding him that Houston's baseball team was 15-30 in May. They told their co-star and golfing partner, "Just remember you're a good football player and you'll make things happen."

    “ My statement's been that I expect us to have our best team. And I still expect us to have our best team. ”
    —Coach Dom Capers

    A lot has happened since. Very little of it has been good for the Texans. After Houston fell to 0-3, Carr was still upbeat despite the fact that he's rarely upright. "With the experience we have," he said, "even though it hasn't been great so far, but with Joe [Pendry, offensive coordinator as of Week 3] coming in and putting in the stuff he has, it's the Astros waiting to happen. We have a nice little plan. We've won at least one game before this time in the last three years and we haven't been this optimistic."

    If the Texans aren't running out of optimism by now, time, most certainly, is running out on them. We're beyond the 2005 season's quarter pole and the league's youngest franchise, in its fourth season, is headed in reverse.

    It's as if the NFL's unofficial slogan, "On Any Given Sunday," doesn't apply here. Parity seems to have passed these Texans by.

    Sunday, Houston suffered the ultimate indignity -- an ugly home loss to the hated (not to mention rebuilding) Tennessee Titans, who have the league's youngest roster.

    "We can't get much lower than that," Carr said afterward.

    At 0-4, the Texans are the league's lone winless team. Recent history tells us they aren't dead (just last year, Buffalo started 0-4, Carolina 1-7 and Green Bay 1-4 before making playoff pushes), although they're playing like a team without much of a pulse right now; cornerback Dunta Robinson even questioned the team's heart after its latest loss. And the road doesn't get any easier: In the next two weeks, the Texans visit Seattle and host currently unbeaten Indianapolis.

    To say Houston has problems would be an understatement. The Texans cannot throw it, mainly because Carr keeps getting tossed to the turf. Houston averages just over 89 yards passing, a league worst, and has allowed 27 sacks, most in the league. Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson averages a fullback-like 7.6 yards on 10 receptions. Running back Domanick Davis is about the only thing the offense has going for it. It all adds up to a measly 11 points per game.

    Defensively, Houston hasn't forced a turnover. Not one. That means no momentum swings their way. The Texans have four sacks. Cornerback Phillip Buchanon, for whom the Texans traded first- and third-round picks to Oakland, has been a disappointment and was benched at one point because (news flash) he wasn't tackling. Robinson hasn't played as well as he did as a rookie. Former first-rounder Jason Babin had a bum shoulder coming into the year and had to be benched.

    Houston isn't particularly good in the return game, so the Texans' struggling offense is getting no help: Amazingly, none of Houston's 40 possessions have started in the opponent's territory, and only 11 have originated beyond its 30.

    Houston won four games in its inaugural season, five in 2003 and seven last year. The natural progression, some assumed, was the postseason, but Texans officials thought that, realistically, they could be an 8-8 ball club. They never imagined such a nightmarish start.

    It starts at the top, and positive vibrations continue to come from the coach's office, even amid speculation that Capers will not occupy the office for much longer.

    "It's not like we don't know what it's going to take for us to get this thing flipped around," Caper said last week. "And I truly believe we will get it flipped around.

    "My statement's been that I expect us to have our best team. And I still expect us to have our best team."

    First and foremost, the Texans had better provide Carr with better protection. Carr was sacked a league-record 76 times as a rookie three years ago. He went down only 15 times his second season and 49 a year ago. The rate of collapsing pockets has come full circle. Shame. Houston was in the Orlando Pace sweepstakes this past offseason. Ask the Texans, and they say they never had a chance at acquiring the left tackle from the Rams. Ask Pace's people and they'll tell you Pace should be a Texan. Either way, Carr is on pace to be sacked a whopping 108 times.

    Pendry, promoted from his offensive-line-coach position after former offensive coordinator Chris Palmer resigned rather than be demoted, was supposed to fix the problem, but the sacks still haven't stopped. Still, players love that the offense has stopped reviewing film in small groups by position and now does so as a unit. (No wonder, then, why the offense couldn't get on the same page -- they were being coached in different rooms.) The Texans had plans to get Johnson the ball on crossing routes rather than the vertical ones Palmer preferred, but then Johnson suffered a calf injury after two plays Sunday.

    Carr said the coaching change -- the roots of which lay in last year's season-ending loss to Cleveland and have grown through the preseason -- energized the team. "Joe doesn't care if he's your friend or not," Carr said. "His big deal is accountability. No matter who you are. Coaches take you where you can't take yourself. Where I was, you can only get on yourself so much."

    Pendry emphasizes a quicker release by the quarterback, a concept Carr has embraced. "As bad as seven sacks were," he said after the Bengals loss, "it would have been 15 two weeks ago against the same defense. So if that's improvement…"

    Another way the Texans can improve their pass protection is using more six- and seven-man blocking schemes; the Titans were able to apply pressure with three- and four-man rushes. So expect schematic and perhaps personnel changes in the near future. "It doesn't matter whose fault it is," Pendry said. "In order for this franchise to go where it wants to go, the sacks, the quarterback hits, they have to be reduced."

    "We can fix [the sacks]," Carr said back when the count was at 20. "The way he's coaching it now, we're going to fix them."

    At the rate he's going down, Carr won't last much longer. He credits a rigorous strength and nutrition program for allowing him to withstand an almost unprecedented amount of punishment (167 sacks in 48 games). And while thus far he might look nothing like the quarterback who started to come into his own last year, the Houston QB says he has neither an overly quick trigger nor is he gun shy.

    "I've been getting hit since I was in the fourth grade," he said. "You think it's bad now, our teams in high school, junior high, I got hit every play. I think it's more frustration not getting it done. I'm not really worried about it happening again, as much as trying to figure out how we can fix it so it doesn't happen again, if that makes any sense.

    "I haven't lost an ounce of confidence since I got here. All the stuff that's gone on, trying to break my own record for sacks, that stuff doesn't bother me. God put me here for a reason. He didn't put me in Houston to go out for a couple of years and just get beat up. I know that something good is going to come out of it.

    "We're going to get it turned around," Carr said. "People in this locker room still realize that we went 4-2 in our division last year. Don't give up on us just yet."
     
  2. Svpernaut

    Svpernaut Contributing Member

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    Please suspend all Texans talk until further notice. IE. who the hell would want to talk about them when you have the Astros 4 wins from their first World Series and the Rockets looking fabulous to begin the season?
     
  3. Rocketman95

    Rocketman95 Hangout Boy

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    I was about to post the same exact freaking thing!!
     
  4. Rockets34Legend

    Rockets34Legend Contributing Member

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    Dude, I'll keep posting about my Texans and whatever public crap ESPN, Fox News, etc. has against them whenever possible.

    I'm all in for the Astros to go all the way, but the Texans are my football team and they aren't going to stop playing.

    Just ignore the article if you aren't interested.
     
  5. Rocketman95

    Rocketman95 Hangout Boy

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    It's called a buzzkill and you're providing it. Just seeing the word Texans and it not be used as "Texans Lance Berkaman and Andy Pettitte helped the Astros claim game 1 of the NLCS" is messing with the mojo right now. :D
     
  6. swilkins

    swilkins Contributing Member

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    Word.

    I feel bad for the Texan's, but I'm not going to ignore them.
     
  7. Svpernaut

    Svpernaut Contributing Member

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    LOL! So true...

    On a side note, the Texans will go NOWHERE with the current front office and staff... fans should have known that from the get go.
     
  8. The Real Shady

    The Real Shady Contributing Member

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    What was the Texans OL when they only gave up 15 sacks in their second season?
     
  9. reggietodd

    reggietodd Contributing Member

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    Are you saying you only support Houston sports teams who are winning? Does this make you a "fair-weather" fan.

    This is why we lost the Oilers.
     
  10. Rocketman95

    Rocketman95 Hangout Boy

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    No, we support and will root for the Texans on Sunday. But thinking of them and how horrible they are currently is taking a little bit away from the excitement garnered by how well the Astros are doing. Speaking for myself here, but I'm not being serious about the buzzkill thing. Well, partly serious.
     
  11. Svpernaut

    Svpernaut Contributing Member

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    Exactly, there are better Houston stories to be talked about... and frankly I'm tired of all of the "talk" about the Texans and no action. I root and watch for the Texans but I came to the realization two years ago that they have no chance with their current people in charge. People b**** all day long about the Astros front office and how horrible it is and how stupid they are, but those same people are so freaking patient with the Texans simply because they love football. Give me a break. The Astros could win a World Series this year and people would still be b****ing about Purpura's moves this off season even know the Astros have put a great product on the field nine out of the last ten seasons.

    The Texans are going to go 4-12 or 6-10 at best this season, and after October you can talk about how much they suck all you want... but for now stop jamming the phone lines on 610 and 790 with your crazy mid-season trades ideas and worthless talk about a currently worthless team. After October I'll be the one b****ing and calling in all day about the Texans because that is what is more important then the first few months of the NBA season.

    I just can't fathom why people would rather talk about an 0-4 team going NOWHERE then a team that came from NOWHERE to do something special... but as Lance would say "Hey, that's just me..."
     
  12. reggietodd

    reggietodd Contributing Member

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    I see where you guys are coming from.

    I really don't think the Texans will win a game, and also I really don't think the stros have a chance against the cards, so to me, their futures are the same from this point on.
     
  13. Rocketman95

    Rocketman95 Hangout Boy

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    Optimistic much?
     
  14. u851662

    u851662 Contributing Member

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    Forget that, I am going to post about the garabage ass texans until my fingers fall off. If its overkill skip the freakin thread!
     
  15. msn

    msn Member

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    Buzzkill? BS!! Did the Astros give up when they were 15-30?? Did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? This is our moment!! Houstonians, buckle your seatbelts as the Astros charge into the World Series and the Texans one-up the 1987 Oilers' 11-0 finish (iirc) to the season and make the playoffs. We talked Astros in May and we shall talk Texans in October! Book it, this is the Year of the Comeback.
     
  16. Rocketman95

    Rocketman95 Hangout Boy

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    I love it!!! :D

    "It all gets turned around on Sunday".
     
  17. msn

    msn Member

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    Well, some people realize that they can do both. And, it's Lance's job to do both (although I'm not a big John/Lance fan.
     

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