H-Town Sports

Houston Sports Blog - Real sports cities have TWO Conference USA teams

Monday, September 18, 2006

Carr Ain't The Problem, Folks

Confession--I did not get to watch the Texans take on the Eagles on 09/10/06. I was on my way back from Austin after watching my beloved Horns receive a kick square in the pills from Ohio State. Nevertheless, I was nervously checking scoring updates on my phone and nearly swerved off the road when I saw Texans 10, Eagles 0. That score wouldn't hold up, of course, but I was eager to see how the pundits would review the Texans' performance in Kubiak's debut. The general consensus seemed to be that Carr looked better; the receivers looked good; Super Mario wasn't the immediate savior the Bush backers demanded he be; DeMeco Ryans was a stud; and the secondary was a disaster. Fair enough; none of that suprised me. Particularly the bit about the secondary. Anyone that watches the Texans knew that was going to be an area of concern this year, especially when Petey Faggins went down in training camp. As I watched the Texans in Indy yesterday, a few things came into focus for me. The biggest, believe it or not, is that David Carr is not the problem.

Scott penned a particularly biting analysis of David Carr last night, and as I expressed in the comments, I could not disagree more. Look at his numbers after two (2) games:

40-53, 75.5% completion rate, 427 yards, 4 TD, O INT, 123.7 passer rating.

Last year? He posted 256-423, 60.5% completion rate, 2,488 yards, 14 TD, 11 INT, 77.2 passer rating.

2004, during the team's high-water mark of 7-9? 285-466, 61.2%, 3,531 yards, 16 TD, 14 INT, 83.5 passer rating. That's been Carr's best season thus far.

If Houston fans can't see the marked improvement in those numbers, Carr has no hope of ever getting a fair shake in this town. I understand that two games is a small sample size, but if you had told any Texans fan before the season that those would be his numbers after the first two games of the season, you'd have been greeted with "No way!" and "That's awesome!" Instead, critics have seized on Carr's numbers being a result of garbage time and thus not a completely accurate indicator of his progress. That's a fair criticism, but it's similarly unreasonable to completely dismiss his statistics on that basis alone. Ultimately, he'll be judged on wins and losses, just like every player should be. But anyone that thinks he's the primary culprit for losses to the Eagles and Colts (two teams, by the way, that have to be considered playoff favorites) is nuts.

So where is the problem? Quite simply, it's in the much lamented secondary. Dunta Robinson is the only player who has the talent to be a starter in any defensive backfield in the league, and he hasn't played up to his potential yet. Lewis Sanders, C.C. Brown, and Glenn Earl have all gotten burned like they are related to Matt Stevens and Phillip Buchanon. Granted, the Colts' wide receivers may well be the best in the league, but there were far too many times that the Texans secondary just looked to be completely out of position. It seems clear that any team that can protect its QB is going to have a field day throwing down the field on the Texans.

The pass rush? Not as good as we hoped with the addition of Mario Williams and Anthony Weaver, but I did see reason for optimism. First off, they consistently closed the pocket. Anthony Weaver was a difference-maker. Unfortunately, they rarely laid a hand on the biggest freaking witch in the game today (and I mean that as a compliment), Peyton Manning. Is the pass rush that bad, or is he that good? Put me squarely in the camp of the latter.

The injuries to Spencer (or "Warren," as Scott would like to call him) and Flanagan hurt, but how nice is it to actually have the luxury of seemingly capable back-ups (McKinney, Salaam, Weary, and/or Winston) to plug in? The Texans have never been able to do that before. I really don't foresee a huge drop-off in O-Line play, which, by the way, seems improved this year. That may simply be a result of shorter drops and quicker throws, but the Texans did move it down the field yesterday far more than they did at any point last season.

I can't honestly believe I'm saying this, but I feel really good about my 0-2 team. It's not going to happen overnight. But I firmly believe that the Texans are on the right track.


Blogger Scott said...

154 of Carr's 219 yards passing (70%) came in the 4th quarter, after the Texans were down 30-3, facing essentially a prevent defense being executed by the Colts' second-string secondary. Likewise, against Philly, Carr had 62 yards passing in a nice opening drive, then produced a grand total of 109 yards through the air in the remaining 54:33 of the game. His stats this year are about as misleading as Justice using a comparison of the Saints and Texans' records after two weeks to crown a winner in the Bush/Mario sweepstakes. When Carr leads his team on a consistent basis to well-played, well-executed wins, he'll convert me. Until then, he's Zack Morris in Cleats.

Mon Sep 18, 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

So you're saying there's a chance...

It begins this weekend. The Redskins are toast.

Mon Sep 18, 05:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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Tue Mar 31, 03:00:00 AM  

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