The problem for card-carrying members of PETA that attend bullfights is that regardless of the silver lining they may take away from the contest, in the end they have to admit that the player for whom they rooted never really had a shot, Houston Texans helmet design logo pun intended! In the past, despite some impressive, if fleeting, moments that perhaps included goring the matador, by the end of the day there was no doubt regarding the source of the beef for the dinner upon which our team's opponent feasted: The Houston Texans themselves!
On Monday Night Football's pre-Season 41 premiere at Reliant Stadium, Texans fans were ready (finally!) for some football. With high profile starters (Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Brian Cushing) out of the game to nurse non-season-opener-threatening injuries, there was a chance to see what the younger fresh draft choices and undrafted free agents could do. Of more than a little interest was how new Defensive Coordinator Wade Philips' new 3-4 scheme could provide some degree of hope in the form of improvement for the team's maligned defense.
Pre-season is about making the most of the opportunity to evaluate young talent, and the decision on who to keep so that they in one form or another can contribute to the organization's continued development this season and in the future. Potential players kept on to fill the void in the event of unfortunate injuries to starters, or to be traded to acquire additional talent for a more appropriate fit for the team, have the spotlight squarely on them during pre-season games.
Lester Jean, Matt Leinart, and first round draft choice JJ Watt played very well, but the most impressive stat of the night was Neil Rackers going 2-2 with field goals from 49 and 47 yards. Yet to be determined is if Mario Williams can adequately assimilate into a two-point stance as an outside linebacker and contribute like this team needs. But with a host of athletes competing for the limited number of defensive back positions available, it appears that the one glaring weakness of the team is going to be vastly improved this year.
It is important not to be carried away one way or another another based upon a single pre-season game win or loss. But the Houston Texans prevailing upon the New York Jets 20-16 in the style with which they won is certainly not a reason for concern. So for NFL opponents that have the Houston Texans circled as a day on which to feast upon great barbecue, they may want to first make sure they themselves are not on the menu!