Tag Archives: Houston Texans

Why December is a Great Month

December is a fantastic month. (Word of caution, fantastic has become my new favorite word to describe something that is good, when I’m too lazy to think of a more creative word.)

There are several things that make December great. The obvious is Christmas. Everyone loves getting (and even giving, sometimes) gifts. But there’s more to it than just that.

 

Time off of work / school

When I started working 40 hours a week after I graduated college, one of the hardest things for me to adjust to was the 40 hour work week. It’s not so much that it is hard to work a lot, it’s that I had trouble spending so much time at work and getting home and only having a handful of hours before I had to go to sleep and do it all over again the next day. It was the repetition, really.

It took me a good seven or eight months before I finally adjusted to working 40 hours. So with Christmas, comes a much-need dose of time off. Most people get a little taste of relaxation during Thanksgiving break, when they get out of work the Tuesday or Wednesday of the holiday and end up with a four or five-day weekend. When you get back to work or school the following Monday morning, you’re already in the mood for Christmas break.

With Christmas break, you get Christmas Eve, Christmas day and some combination of the weekend and days around Christmas off along with New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Some lucky souls (like myself) get Christmas Eve through New Year’s off.

No matter what combination of days off you have, it’s much-needed. Enjoy it.

 

Drinking

Seriously, is there a more drinking-ish month than December? Eggnog and rum/whiskey. Holiday-flavored beers. Hot cocoa and peppermint schnapps. There’s probably more that I’m not thinking of.

And not just the alcoholic combinations offered during December, there’s all the reasons to actually drink them. On Thursday night I went to Wassailfest in New Braunfels and some people had “leaded” wassail containing 151 or whiskey. And then after we stopped by a bar because Wassailfest takes place right next to the bars in New Braunfels.

And because it’s Christmas time, there are a ton of Christmas parties being thrown in December, obviously. There are parties thrown before everyone goes out-of-town, parties thrown by family, office parties, you name it. And chances are, there is going to be some amount of alcohol present. Usually more than none.

Then there’s New Year’s parties. Technically, the majority of the partying goes on before midnight. Therefore, it counts as December. And because it’s painfully obvious how much drinking goes on at New Year’s, I don’t need to explain.

Then there’s reunion parties. If you live close to where you grew up or are going home for Christmas, oftentimes someone is going to throw a party for everyone to get back together and reconnect. Even if you don’t like anyone you grew up with or went to high school with, these parties are great if for no other reason than to see how much fatter everyone got since the last time you saw them.

We had a party with some high school friends a couple of years ago where I caught up with friends who I hadn’t seen since graduation and couldn’t believe how many people put on weight. I’d say about 75%, if not more, of the people I went to high school with put on a significant amount of weight in the few years since we graduated. And the best part, a lot of times it’s the ones you didn’t expect. A lot of the people who were hot shit in high school now just look like shit.

Who wouldn’t want to go to a party and drink to that?

 

The Texans season mercifully coming to an end

Let’s just say this: I posted this in mid-October, and it hasn’t gotten any better since then. Let’s just move on to the next, more uplifting point.

 

The annual Dallas Cowboys collapse

Yes, the annual tradition that is much-celebrated in my household. Thanks to the Tony Tomorrow / Wade Phillips combo, the Cowboys winter collapse ranks up there with opening presents in both enjoyment and consistency.

But one day, the Cowboys are going to fail to show up for Christmas aren’t they? Just like that one family member who comes to Christmas every year and then up and decides not to come the next, the Cowboys will start winning in December sometime. Right?

Probably. But after yesterday’s 31-24 loss to the New York Giants, this year should go as scheduled.

And if it doesn’t, I gotta find something different to get my dad for Christmas.

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The Texans Season is Over… Here’s to 2010

I’ve been holding out hope that the Houston Texans would turn their season around and make the playoffs after opening the season with a 2-2 record. That they were simply going through some early season struggles. They did start last season 0-4 and still finished 8-8.

This is their year to make the playoffs, right?

That was before they came back from a 21 point deficit against the Cardinals, only to throw an interception that was returned for a touchdown and fail to score when they had 2nd and goal at the 1 yard line.

Now?

I’m ready to dive into the college football season and scout possible draft picks. When your team is down a touchdown with 40 seconds left in the game, has 2nd-down-and-goal at the one yard line, and can’t convert on three straight plays, I think it’s okay to start looking towards next year.

That man is awesome.... on third down. (Wesley Hitt / Getty Images)

That man is awesome.... on third down. (Wesley Hitt / Getty Images)

It’s tough to root for a team that gets beat in more aspects than they win. And that’s exactly what the Texans do. They look good because they can put up a lot of points in a short amount of time. They’re sexy. I don’t trust a sexy team just like I don’t trust a sexy girl without getting to know them.

Sexy will win you a few games, but it won’t give you consistent success. You just never know about them.

Well, I’ve gotten to know this girl.

Ground game

Houston’s running game is a weakness. Steve Slaton is a big-play back and fantasy all-star, but he can’t carry a running game. He’s not big enough. He’s sexy (there’s that word again), but he can’t pound the ball and grind out yards. He’s only averaging 46.2 yards per game in his first five games this season. His biggest game was against Jacksonville (ranked 19th in the league against the run) when he ran for 76 yards.

Houston needs to find a power back to pair with Slaton. He’s shown that he’s an excellent third down back because he can catch balls out of the backfield and has learned quickly how to pick up the blitz, but he’s not an every-down back. Slaton needs someone else to take some of the pounding for him. Chris Brown just ain’t cutting it.

In the trenches

Unfortunately, it’s not just this year. The Texans franchise started off on the wrong foot. The best way to build a team is from the inside-out. Taking offensive and defensive linemen and building a foundation where you can add skill position players later and have long-term success. Houston made little effort to build from the inside, other than taking left tackle Tony Boselli with their first pick in the expansion draft. Boselli never played a down for the team because of injury. No argument here, that was the right move. But they’ve spent too many high draft picks over the years on skill players while neglecting the foundation.

Look at the New England Patriots, would Tom Brady be the quarterback he is today if he hadn’t played for the Patriots? No way. He was forced into a starting role because of injury to Drew Bledsoe and thrived because he was protected by the best offensive line in the league and had one of the top defenses to keep them in games. His running backs that season were Antowain Smith and Kevin Faulk. His receivers were Troy Brown and David Patten. Canada has more weapons than Brady had.

In 2002, the Texans made quarterback David Carr their first draft pick ever, taking him first overall in that year’s draft. It was the sexy pick (le sigh). Who was the very next pick? Defensive end Julius Peppers, who has 73.5 career sacks in his eight seasons in the league. Then they took tight end Bennie Joppru in the second round of the 2003 draft and defensive end Osi Umenyiora was taken 15 picks later.

It’s easy to point these things out after the fact, but dang it that’s the point.

Aw, hell.

Aw, hell.

Houston’s front office needs to focus on two things for the offensive and defensive lines: talent and depth. The defensive line has talent, but it’s short on depth. And they can’t stop the run. The offensive line lacks both talent and depth, save for a couple of spots, like left tackle Duane Brown. Houston should spend at least one of their first, second or third round draft picks on a lineman every year. That way, you’ve got a steady stream of talent and youth coming in. Young guys will come to camp every year in a position to compete for playing time. And not just practice squad-talent, legit difference-maker talent. If, say, Amobi Okoye leaves for whatever reason, you’ve got someone ready to step in and take their place.

Secondary Concerns

The secondary is perpetually a problem for the Texans. The team has had a make-shift secondary since its start. Dunta Robinson is the only blue chipper they’ve put in the defensive backfield (And oh-by-the-way, pay that man his money. He’s shown that he’s recovered from his knee injury and that he’s one of the top cornerbacks in the league. Sign him to a long-term deal today, before he bolts in the offseason for the Colts).

Houston has no excuse not to spend a first or second round pick this year on a ball-hawking free safety. Year after year they neglect to find a difference-maker to play that role. And it shows. Even with the pass rush the Texans have, they still can’t defend the pass.

Head coaching

I’d say that Gary Kubiak won’t last the entire season, but I’m pretty sure he’s already been taken out like Joe Pesci in Goodfellas. Mike Shanahan is unpacking in his new office as you read this. I’ve seen very few teams come less motivated and make fewer in-game adjustments than a Kubiak coached one.

Houston was a sexy (NO! STOP!) underdog pick coming into the season. After going 8-8 last season, they were supposed to take the next step in 2009. This team was supposed to compete with the Colts in the AFC South.

Well, at least my fantasy team is 5-0.

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