Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

31 Oct 2005

Winning Feeling Returns

Usually when we talk about the Texans around here, it's in a negative light. Well, Houston won its first game of the season yesterday against Cleveland, and I'm noting it here because who knows when it'll happen again. The Browns were actually two-point underdogs going into the game, which prompted FB Terrelle Smith to comment, "I take offense to that." And after the thrilling 19-16 victory, QB David Carr said, "This is one of the ugliest games I've ever played in."

Houston Texans Football: good times.

Posted by: P. Ryan Wilson on 31 Oct 2005

14 comments, Last at 31 Oct 2005, 11:07pm by Mr Shush

Comments

1
by Jeff F (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 11:58am

Andrew - It's largely the offensive line, which was horrible last year and completely broke this year. Look at their stats against Indy, and see how many sacks there were compared to the number of pass attempts.

Adam - Combination of good defense, and sample variation?

2
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 12:10pm

re #2:

Try a combination of Butch Davis winning total control of personnel, the failure to develop Tim Couch (and the Holcomb flirtation started by that playoff game), some really bad drafting luck (the only #1 pick that panned out was Faine, drafted after that playoff year) and a massive dose of Davis' ego, manifested by dumping his starting linebacker corps in his belief he could coach up the baqckups to play just as well.

In 2 years, Romeo and Phil will have that team back up into playoff contention.

As far as Houston winning again, they do play both Baltimore and San Francisco. although the 49ers do appear to have something to prove to people, so maybe the Texans have only one more chance.

3
by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 12:28pm

The Texans were a pretty good 7-9 last year, and seemed headed up. What the hell happened to them?

4
by Adam (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 12:33pm

The bigger question is what the hell happened to the Browns in 2002?

1999-2001 = Nothing
2002 = Playoffs
2003-Present Day = Just as bad as 1999-2001.

5
by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 12:38pm

On the bright side, Houston's special team play this year has been excellent. The FO stats on it are actually a microcosm of the "DVOA: how to handle injuries" problem - the kicking, punting and coverage have been good from week 1, because this year Brown and Stanley are both healthy, which last year they weren't - the FO numbers are therefore representative in these categories. They do not, however, tell the full story where returns are concerned, because the kick return figure of 7.1, good for third in the league, actually represents two games of horrible return play from Vernand Morency, three games of decidedly indifferent play from 4th round rookie Jerome Mathis as he recovered from injury and found his feet in the league, and one (I don't think last night's stats have been incorporated yet) stellar breakout game against the Colts. Mathis was similarly devastating against Cleveland (who unlike Indy are actually good on kickoffs) and if he keeps this up he'll be joining Dunta Robinson in the "Texans who should be going to Hawaii next February" corner. It's a small corner. Possibly more of a nook, or even a cranny.

As for the "Can Houston win any more games?" issue, I'd point out that St. Louis are on the schedule too, and if they have an off day they're capable of losing to damn near anybody.

Also, did anyone actually see the game? Tim? What's with the only two sacks phenomenon? Even Cincy managed seven, when they'd only got two against all previous opponents combined.

6
by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 12:40pm

That's the wierdest thing I've seen this site do so far. Jeff and Kelso's comments (4 and 5) were already there when I posted mine (3).

7
by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 12:40pm

I'm guessing the comments which I now see as 5 and 6 are about to become 6 and 7.

8
by Podge (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 12:50pm

Tell you what, Jeff (#1) is a smart guy. Answered comment 3 before it was asked!

9
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 1:33pm

Just to clarify --

What is now #4 was #2 when I posted. I was actually #4 after the post.

How did they get shuffled, I don't know.

10
by pcs (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 2:57pm

Texans win, the whole Internet gets thrown out of whack.

11
by Capt Trips (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:53pm

Too bad for Carr he didn't pull a "Manning" when the Texans drafted him... ya know, he could of wined and cried, and said "no, I don't wanna play for them -I want to go to a good team.."

12
by Drew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 6:29pm

Re: 11

I'm not sure if that would have been good or bad for Carr. Or for the Texans for that matter.

Considering the cast they've surrounded him with, it's hard to judge whether or not he's a legit NFL QB, even after 4 years. That's probably better than being in Joey Harrington's position.

13
by NF (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 6:32pm

Capt Trips:

In 2002, no one expected that the Texans would be this bad in 2005.

On the subject of the Texans being bad, they are so bad in so many areas of the team that what they really need to do is forget about being good, and work on being average. They should try to trade for middle round draft picks, scrounge average free agents off other teams at as many positions as possible, and maybe they'll become an average team that they can build on, without breaking the bank.

14
by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 11:07pm

#13, I'm not sure I agree. I think a combination of bad coaching and a lack of experienced players (especially on defense) is masking a fair amount of talent at many positions. Other than O-line and LB, I think it's a decent squad, with a particular strength at WR (well, there would be if they'd only cut Corey Bradford and play Armstrong or Mathis). The trouble, as much as anything else, is that a bunch of kids have found themselves in a bad situation and not known how to react (with the exception of Robinson) or had anyone to lead them out of it. I was one of those who backed the cutting of Sharper (too old, overpriced) but it turns out we were wrong. A veteran run-stuffing ILB is a major need for the Texans right now, second only to left tackle. Add those in the off-season, and I think you'll see a radical turnaround.