Shooting the Bull: Keenum the right move?
The Texans have a huge game on Sunday Night Football against the Colts. We have some time to kill, so here are a few thoughts on my mind:
1. The Texans need to win. Yeah, yeah. You already know that. But they need to win pretty much every game to have a chance at making the playoffs. After starting 2-5, they realistically need to go 8-1 the rest of the way to get to 10-6 to make the postseason. That was the worst record to make the playoffs last year. According to a team release, in each of the last three seasons, a team that has been three games below .500 has made the playoffs. Could it be the Texans in 2013? Maybe, but it won't be easy.
2. I like Case Keenum. He provided a spark in the Kansas City game but I'm not sold on the decision to start him this week. (And I realize I might be the only person in Houston to think that way.) Like I said, the Texans need to go 8-1 the rest of the way and that's a lot to put on the shoulders of a first-year player who suited up for his first NFL game two weeks ago. Matt Schaub quarterbacked the team to an 11-1 record to start last season. We know he's capable of doing it. If you want to see what Keenum can offer long-term, there would have been plenty of time if Schaub didn't play well. Basically, Gary Kubiak thought Keenum gave the Texans the best shot to win football games. I'm not convinced yet.
3. Have you guys seen Shooting the Bull? It's a weekly show I do with CSN's James Palmer and the Houston Chronicle's John McClain. It's been a lot of fun. The General is awesome.
4. The roof might be open on Sunday? The roof might be open on Sunday! About time.
5. Why can't Johnny Football play in the NFL again? All I see the kid do is make plays and in big moments too. I agree that his game might not translate to the NFL perfectly but why don't we let it play out before declaring him a bust before he sees an NFL field?
6. Glover Quin is playing really good football for the Lions. People scoffed at me when I said he would have better option than Ed Reed. And I'm not just saying that to pat myself on the back (OK, maybe a little ...). Reed certainly doesn't look like the player he once did in Baltimore. If he made a fraction of the big plays he made there in Houston, the signing would have been great. Teams aren't throwing at Reed but he isn't making any plays either.
7. Shane Lechler is so good. Watching him land punt after punt inside the 5-yard line during practice is one of my favorite activities. I tweeted this a while ago and it holds true: I wish I could be as good at anything as Lechler is at punting a football.
8. It's pretty amazing that Ben Tate is gonna play with four cracked ribs. A lot of people labeled him as an injury-prone player last year when he had a hamstring injury. He missed his entire rookie season too. But this game shows how tough he really is. Plenty of people are going to say he's just playing because it's a contract year and he wants to get paid, and it probably doesn't hurt, but I don't see that being the main reason. I think he really wants to try to help the team win.
9. I got out to the Katy-Cinco Ranch game on Saturday morning. And, man, you guys know how to do high school football. I used to cover high school sports in the Philadelphia suburbs and loved it but there are more fans at regular season games here than there are at some championship games in New Jersey, where I'm from. But can we please find another way to exit from Rhodes Stadium? Wayyy too much traffic.
10. Speaking of where I'm from, anyone know where I can get a good hoagie in Houston? Been here a year and I haven't found a good one yet. And if you have to ask what a "hoagie" is, please skip to No. 11.
11. I really like the way Darryl Sharpton plays but the guy just can’t stay healthy. He’s ended his first three seasons on the Injured Reserve and a toe injury has forced him to miss some practice time this year. Maybe it’s a product of the way he plays combined with his undersized stature. He’s in the last year of his deal and the Texans might have a tough decision to make. When healthy, he can play and would be the best option next to Brian Cushing but are they willing to keep giving him chances? Also, Joe Mays isn’t a Pro Bowler but he’s much better than Bradie James was in 2012. When James got to Houston last season, his best football was clearly behind him. Great guy, great guy in the locker room, but just couldn’t play anymore.
12. I’ve never felt worse for a player than I did watching Cushing on the field in pain in Kansas City. It actually made me feel a little sick in my stomach. He’s the most intense football player I’ve ever been around and he worked incredibly hard to get back on the field after the ACL tear. To see all that work go to waste is a shame. Luckily, for him and the Texans, his ACL is fine. He’ll be able to rehab from the broken bone and LCL tear quicker than if it was an ACL. That’ll allow him to be ready for OTAs and mini camp.
13. Remember when a bunch of people thought Keshawn Martin was going to have a big season? Hasn’t quite happened. He has eight catches for 104 yards and hasn’t performed well in the return game. He had such a good training camp, even I was convinced he would break out some. It hasn’t happened. If he continues to underperform, he’s going to lose snaps to DeVier Posey on offense and Deji Karim and Shiloh Keo in the return game.
14. Cornerback Elbert Mack has a Jansport backback that has all the airline tags from every flight he’s been on in the last six years. It’s pretty cool. He also has a body covered in tattoos. He apparently likes to collect things.
15. Greg Jones. Garrett Graham. Wade Smith. Earl Mitchell. Antonio Smith. Darryl Sharpton. Joe Mays. Those are players who are starting this weekend who aren’t signed past the 2013 season. That’s eight of 22. If you add Tate, who might start for Arian Foster, that’s nine.
16. No matter what happens with the Rockets this season, it’s gonna be fun to watch. You have to give credit to Daryl Morey who constructed the team.
17. I blatantly ripped this column idea off my friend Reuben Frank from CSNPhilly. I just changed the number from 25 to 20 and called them thoughts instead of points. I’m shameless.
18. Speaking of Philly, there are six former Texans on the Eagles: Connor Barwin, Roc Carmichael, James Casey, Donnie Jones, Jeff Maehl and DeMeco Ryans.
19. Derek Newton has regressed this season, which is hard to imagine. He had a knee injury last season, which was the given reason for his struggles. But Newton is healthy in 2013 and he’s playing at a very low level. The Texans drafted Brennan Williams in the third round to compete with Newton but Williams was lost for the season and needed microfracture surgery. Then David Quessenberry was lost for the season before Week 1. It’s not unbelievable to think that if Quessenberry would have stayed healthy, he might be the starter right now. But Ryan Harris is playing pretty well when he comes in for Newton in certain situations. If I were Kubiak, I’d bench Newton and play Harris. They obviously want to give the young player enough time to get good but he’s been a liability on the line.
20. Young MC is playing the halftime show on Sunday night. Now, I’m not a big fan of Young MC or Vanilla Ice, who performed at halftime earlier this season, but “Bust a Move” is clearly a better song than “Ice Ice Baby” and it’s not even close.