For me, at least, the high hopes leading up to the start of the season were dashed several losses ago. In fact, I had a pretty uneasy feeling with the Texans’ 2-0 record to start the season. Needing last gasp efforts for victories over the Chargers and Titans, the Texans didn’t play like the Super Bowl contender I thought they’d be. I’m practically numb now to the pain of any given Sunday's defeat. What hurts is seeing just how dreadful the ending to the Texans’ season is going to be, and how it’s going to affect the futures of players and coaches that I’ve become quite fond of over the last few years.
Most of the harsh spotlight has shone on Matt Schaub this season, and that is not entirely unwarranted. I’m saddened by the way Schaub’s tenure with the Texans is coming to an end, but I do think it’s time. While his teammates were always diplomatic when asked about their former leader, I think their support is now solidly behind QB Case Keenum. When Gary Kubiak chose to bench Keenum (13/24, 170 yds, 1 TD, 1 Int) midway through the 3rd quarter and put Schaub (12/25, 155 yds, 0 TDs, 0 Ints) in at QB, I think he took a big gamble and may have lost more than just this game.
Upon Schaub taking the field, the sparse crowd at Reliant Stadium booed so loudly that the offense had to operate at times as if they were on the road, using a silent snap count. When the Texans couldn’t pull out another last gasp victory after having the ball with a third-and-1 from the 2-yard line, Schaub and star WR Andre Johnson got into a shouting match on the field that carried over to the sideline. Kubiak put all his chips on the table and let them ride on Schaub, and the result was a franchise-worst 8-game losing streak that culminated in a public shouting match between two good men who have been friends and teammates for a long time.
I was totally stunned by Kubiak’s decision, thinking his last, best chance to save his job was to show that he could groom Keenum into a starting NFL quarterback. If I’m right, and I don’t really have anything to hang my hat on that says I am, reinserting Schaub into the lineup may very well have sealed Kubiak’s fate with the Texans.
By no means is the QB position the only one that ails the Texans. Many of the QB woes stem from offensive line issues. Poor play by the special teams and the secondary has also plagued the team. Injuries have decimated the linebacker group for the second season in a row, and even the health of the head coach is in question.
Basically, whatever could go wrong for the Texans has gone wrong, and the coaching staff and the players haven’t adapted in the next-man-up fashion that was needed. I hope this season-to-forget will mercifully end before we start seeing folks pointing fingers at one another. That would just break my Texans-lovin’ heart.
Tune in next week as the Texans and Jaguars battle over last place in