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Monday, October 30, 2006

Texans v. Titans--The Birth of a QB Controversy

As discussed below, I had the good fortune to travel to Nashville this past weekend for the Texans game against Vince Young & Co. Despite the tragic result of Sunday's tilt, I'd still consider the trip an unabashed success. The weather was gorgeous, our seats were great, and a fledgling gameday tradition took flight. Without further ado, my thoughts:

1. I've been there once before (back during the high-water campaign of 2004), but L.P. Field is a heckuva joint. It helped that the weather was fit for a postcard, but there's just something about watching football in an open-air stadium. I know we couldn't really pull off an open-air statdium in H-Town, but it was a nice change of pace.

2. Although the tradition was technically born a few weeks ago, Diddy and I took "Battle Screwdriver Day" to a new level in Nashville. It really is the perfect cocktail for those noon starts.

a. The final tally for Battle Screwdriver Day? $235.00 (before tip). Of that tally, I think my dad put about three beers (at $7.00 a piece) on the tab. That's right...Diddy and I threw down about seventeen (17) screwdrivers between us during our time at L.P. Field. We're not heroes. We were just doing our part.

b. Those seventeen (17) screwdrivers? They were all doubles.

c. The bad news? Battle Screwdriver Day nearly killed me last night.

d. The good news? Thanks to all that Vitamin C, I figure I'm pretty well pseudo-vaccinated against scurvy.

3. The Texans' defense was surprisingly stout; the Titans finished with a paltry 197 yards of total offense, and only 87 of those were through the air.

a. With the exception of a couple lapses in coverage (Bobby Wade's TD reception comes to mind), even the secondary looked good. The continuing lack of takeaways, however, is becoming increasingly disturbing as every week passes.

4. Super Mario's line--4 tackles, 1 sack. I may or may not have started yelping "You're Number One, Mario!" after the sack of Vince. Regardless, Williams' improvement is noticeable every week. Ever since his first sack against Miami, he's playing with renewed vigor. Got to like that.

5. Seven (7) tackles from Morlon Greenwood. He looked far more active on Sunday than he has at any time this season.

6. Owen Daniels--9 catches for 99 yards and 2 TDs. If there was any doubt about him, let it be erased. He's looking to be a GREAT pick-up, especially considering the Texans got him in the fourth round. I wasn't pleased with it at the time (considering the Putzier signing and the availability of Darnell Bing), but I was totally wrong. Daniels should be a difference-maker and vital cog in the offense for years to come.

7. Andre Johnson had another ridiculous afternoon (9 receptions, 78 yards, 1 TD). The sky is truly the limit for him. I know his contract isn't up yet, but I hope Rick Smith is bugging his agent every day about a long-term pact.

8. With apologies to Allen Iverson, Wali Lundy (18 carries, 116 yards and 5 catches for another 33 yards) is The Answer. Take that, Reggie Bush.

9. In a word, the special teams were abhorrent. Edell Shepherd set a new low for returns and seemingly forgot everything he ever learned about when and where to fair catch, much less how to hold on to the ball. Chad Stanley kicked short, and far more egregiously, right at Salivaman Jones. Kris Brown had an extra point blocked. All in all, definitely the worst special teams effort of the season from Joe Marciano's bunch.

10. Vince Young's line--7-15, 87 yards, 1 TD; 4 carries for 44 yards and 1 TD. Pretty pedestrian, right? But it doesn't do justice to the impact he had on the game. I can't even count the number of times he slipped away from a defender in the backfield, and that TD run in the second quarter gave me flashbacks to DKR and the Rose Bowl. I'm admittedly totally in the tank when it comes to VY, but man (wiping misty eyes)...

a. Pretty apparent what Norm Chow's doing with VY--don't ask him to do too much, take an occasional shot here and there, utilize his elusiveness whenever possible, etc. In other words, a pretty smart scheme for a rookie QB, much like what the Steelers did with Roethlisberger during his rookie year (minus the elusiveness factor).

11. Finally, we come to the David Carr-Sage Rosenfels quagmire. At the outset, I'll say this: Carr looked pretty damn bad. The pick he threw into quadruple (!) coverage on what had been a nice first drive by the Texans was inexcusable at any level of football. A junior high school QB would've been benched for that kind of throw. And his continuing inability to hold on to the football is mind-boggling; one of his fumbles even led to a forty yard return for a TD. As the resident Carr-backer here, let's cut to the chase. Should he have been benched? Yes.

a. Why? Quite simply, Kubes had no other choice. He's made it clear that he's not going to tolerate uninspired, stupid play out of anyone, especially his quarterback. And Carr's play yesterday defined stupid and uninspired.

b. Sage(ior) Rosenfels' line: 18-25, 186 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT. And the interception wasn't really on him; it was a rare drop by Andre. Rosenfels looked like the consumate pro out there and nearly brought the Texans back from an eighteen point deficit. As Scott has noted, Rosenfels had considerably more success against the same defense and with the same weapons that Carr had. In short, he couldn't have looked any better. And without a doubt, the seeds of a quarterback controversy that were planted during training camp have officially started to sprout. But do I start Rosenfels on Sunday against the Giants? No.

c. Why not? Carr's play this season has been sufficiently remarkable enough at times to make even the most vocal critic wonder if he can be the guy to lead the Texans. Despite his performance yesterday, I don't think you can write him off yet. For better or worse, the Texans hitched their wagon to Carr when they decided to pass on Young and Leinart. After seven games, we still don't know whether that was a good decision. So let's find out once and for all. Kubes should tell Carr that he's starting, but that he's absolutely playing for his job and his future in Houston (though I have to think Carr already knows that). Carr should be told that he's on a very short leash and that Rosenfels is ready to come in at the first sign of trouble. At that point, one of two things is going to happen. Carr is either going to respond, or he'll crumble in spectacular fashion. If the latter happens, Kubes should admit his mistake and go to Rosenfels for the remainder of the season. But if Carr bows up and uses the Nashville Disaster to get tougher (as he's pledged to do), then he's earned the right to be the Texans' QB.

12. Suffice to say, Sunday's game against the Giants is the most important tilt in David Carr's career. I say he answers the bell. Then again, I thought he'd come up big against the guy who was supposed to replace him in Nashville, so what do I know?

6 Comments:

Anonymous A-Mac said...

Its upsetting to learn you are more mature than your older brother. Battle Screwdriver Day? unbelievable

Mon Oct 30, 07:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Lee said...

Battle Screwdriver Day? Sign me up!

The difference that I noticed between Carr and Rosenfels is that Carr is just traumatized by all the sacks he's taken in his career. As soon as he feels pressure, he gets shaky--and I can't blame the guy! Sage stays in the pocket, and somehow maneuvers his way around defenders to find the open man. Oh, and he throws the ball down the field. Carr still dumps the ball off way too much--another result of the pummeling he's received week after week.

All in all, I hope Carr comes out gunning next week. Not only because I'm a supporter of Carr, but that he has the better physical tools compared to Rosenfels.

Mon Oct 30, 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger worknonjoy said...

Mario's one yard sack was really a highlight!

Mon Oct 30, 11:14:00 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

A-Mac: It is impossible to be more mature than me. I'm a bastion of wisdom and restraint. You're just jealous that I'm such an innovator.

Lee: I agree with you about Carr's past beatings affecting his decision-making this season. The sad part is that his notoriously happy feet really aren't necessary this year; the line has been giving him ample time to throw. At the end of last season, I commented that I thought Carr would take a team to the playoffs, but that it wouldn't be Houston on account of his inability to ever trust his line here. Unfortunately, that's looking more and more like the case. I still hope that he puts it all together on Sunday; it'd be a shame to give up on him after the flashes of brilliance and overall improvement he's shown this year in Kubiak's offense.

Worknonjoy: Hey, we take what we can get around here. And even the most staunch critic of Super Mario has to begrudingly admit that he looks better and better every week, right?

Tue Oct 31, 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

For some reason that continues to mystify me, David Carr has rarely been yanked from a game at all over his 4.5 year tenure as starting QB in Houston. As a result, Houston fans don't know how good another QB would look behind center for their hometown team. Instead, we just keep being fed the same bullcrap about David's numbers improving and the same list of excuses for his poor play.

Rosefels came cold into a game in the second half and played wonderfully, immediately following a half in which the starter, Carr, played absolutely terribly. This is on top of a preseason camp in which all accounts indicate Rosenfels was hands-down the better QB from start-to-finish. The Texans brass has apparently decided that proving David Carr was worth of a #1 pick is more important than winning football games. That is the only rationale for leaving him in as the starter.

Tue Oct 31, 09:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tim,

I'm a Colts fan and I blog the Colts for SB Nation. I like H town's writing a great deal, and I was wondering if you, or anyone else in the H Town community would be interesting in blogging the Texans for the group I blog for: SB Nation. If you are interested, email me: sbnationcolts@yahoo.com.

You can see my blog site, and several other sites, at StampedeBlue.com and SBNation.com.

Thanks.

-BigBlueShoe

Thu Nov 02, 01:05:00 PM  

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