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

Sunday, October 29, 2006

We'll Always Remember Nashville

Like many Houston fans, I felt that the best option for the Texans in the 2006 NFL Draft was to select Vince Young with the #1 overall pick. I have never claimed to have the positional knowledge of Joe Theismann or Ron Jaworski, but I do know that, in my own mind, Vince Young was the most dynamic, dominant college football player that I've seen since Bo Jackson reigned supreme on the plains of Auburn, Alabama. Additionally, it is well documented that Vince is a proud Houston kid who longed to play in front of his hometown fans and that the Texans' incumbent QB was not exactly setting the world on fire. Maybe he had not gotten a fair shake, but no one any longer felt 100% confident that David Carr was going to live up to his status as a #1 overall draft pick. With a new coaching regime taking over and coming off a complete disaster of a season, what better time to start over with a new face-of-the-franchise QB, and what better fit for that role that Jesus in Cleats himself. Gary Kubiak & Co., however, disagreed and selected Mario Williams #1 overall. While admittedly disappointed, I still strongly supported the pick, interpreting Mario as a tremendous talent who could potentially have a Vince-like effect on the Texans' porous defense, which is absolutely a defensible decision. In my mind, any pick other than Reggie Bush was a good pick, and I think that the early play of Vince, Mario and Reggie has proved my theory quite correct.

Fast forward to late October. Vince v. Mario, sure. But really, today was Vince v. David Carr, and for Texans' fans, sadly, today was a chapter in Texans history that will not soon be forgotten, as much as we'll try to forget it. Mario and Vince both lived up to the hype. Mario got a nice sack and racked up four tackles total. Vince did exactly what he was asked to do offensively, managing the offense proficiently and making several outstanding plays with his legs. As rookies, not much more could be asked of either player. Then there was the veteran of the group, the fifth-year QB of the Texans, David Carr. Much has been made of Carr's progress, or lack thereof. As Tim and I illustrate routinely, there are certainly vast differences of opinion when it comes to evaluating DC's play. His numbers have certainly improved, though some would argue (myself included) that those improved numbers are not directly indicative of improved performance as a QB. Better scheme, better offensive weapons, yes. Better quarterback play? Not really. My opinion has been that Carr's numbers coming in to the Titans' game were inflated from (a) piling up easy completions and meaningless yards in mop-up time of games that had been decided hours before and (b) an overabundance of dump-down completions to Jameel Cook and friends, a result of Carr's inability to compose himself in the pocket and make precise reads downfield.

Today was a prime example of what David Carr has not ever brought to the table. He racked up eight completions in his first nine throws, and Wally Lundy was running the ball very effectively. Things looked good on paper for Houston. However, the offense was unable to put points on the boards in bulk because of Carr's lack of poise and intelligence as a QB. Under the slightest hint of pressure, Carr made decisions that negatively impacted the Texans, be it a bad throw into quadruple coverage or a desperate dive into congestion, giftwrapping a Titan sack. He continues to lack the ability to feel presure in the pocket and adjust accordingly. I'll leave the whole 'intangibles' argument out for now, for the sake of my blood pressure, but to me, David Carr is to Vince Young what Pauly Shore is to George S. Patton, Jr. Carr's on-field tendencies and technique are bad enough that his immaturity and inability to lead his teammates become almost immaterial.

Sage Rosenfels is not the long-term answer, but he absolutely must be the starter for the rest of 2007. Rosenfels looked like a damn good quarterback throughout most of the preseason as well as in the second half today in Nashville, which is obviously a bit of tease because, well, he is still Sage Rosenfels. He's always been a reserve, albeit a quality one. But here's the thing- following David Carr's spastic play, Rosenfels' consistency and pocket presence seem like Joe Montana, Tom Brady and Troy Aikman all rolled into one. He is a breath of fresh air, which is implicitly an indictment of David Carr. Rosenfels exhibited the ability to feel out pressure in the pocket, to step in a direction that allows him more time (not less), and most importantly, to have his head on a swivel, reading the entire field and checking all of his options before making a timely decision. Carr unquestionably has the physical tools of mobility and arm strength, but he has never exhibited the poise, IQ and composure that an NFL QB must have. He makes hurried steps, focuses on one or two receivers at a maximum and allows the defense to influence his tempo and decision-making process rather than capitalizing on the opportunities that the defense presents. Come NFL Draft 2007, all eyes will be on the crop of available college QBs, which is too bad because a perfect pick presented himself on a red carpet in 2006, and there are plenty of other positions who need attention as well. But for the remainder of 2007, the Texans owe it to their players and their fans to give their team the best chance to win games week in and week out, and without a doubt, Sage Rosenfels is the QB that gives them that chance. The running game is improving, and the young defense is exciting and shows considerable promise. Peyton Manning would be nice, but he is not coming through that door. The Texans can win games now with effective, proficient quarterbacking from an efficient, competent QB. David Carr is not that man, and hopefully Kubes has seen the light now once and for all.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because the past can't be changed, they can make amends if they keep Rosenfels and draft Troy Smith. By then, he'll have led his team to a national championship--just like Vince, he's a winner; he exudes confidence and calm; he's a leader! Already he's more a polished quarterback than Vince, despite Vince having more physical skills.

Vince was not the reason the Titans won, although he contributed greatly. However, one could argue Carr was the primary reason the Texans lost.

Mon Oct 30, 08:44:00 AM  

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