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May 8, 2002
If You Can’t Say Something Nice…
By Dave Sabo

To quote the great Jim Anchower, “It’s been a long time since I rapped at ya!” I apologize, but I’ve got my reasons.

It may shock ya’ll to discover that a good portion of the e-mail I receive is negative and much of my negative e-mail questions my “need” to comment on nothing but the negative aspects of my subjects. Essentially, some readers wonder why I can’t write anything positive.

Upon completing my column on Buffalo GM Tom Donahoe’s most recent bout of whining, I set out to do just that. The results of that project can be seen in my output between the date of that column and the present. Pretty slim pickings, ain’t it?

I tried, believe me, I tried. I just can’t seem to find much that’s positive about the current off-season. I figured the draft would provide an opportunity to gush over the Texans’ haul, but honestly, after two and a half weeks of careful scrutiny, I’m pretty much clueless as to how they did. Oh, I could regurgitate a plethora of analysis done by others, but that wouldn’t really be honest; especially when you consider that the vast majority of the analysis out there is overwhelmingly positive.

What negativity I have read has dealt mostly with David Carr’s delivery, which appears to have turned out to be much ado about nothing. A “flaw” that Ron Jaworski spent 5 minutes insisting was critical and necessitated the use of a telestrator and the “coach’s clicker” to demonstrate during ESPN’s draft telecast was apparently “corrected” about 2 minutes into the Texans first mini-camp. I’ve lost a lot of respect for Jaws over the past couple of weeks.

So, now that the one big knock on Carr has been neutralized, I should be optimistic that he’ll live up to his status as a number one overall pick, right? Well, unfortunately, I’m not.

While I don’t, envision him as the Second Coming of Ryan Leaf, I’m not at all sure that he’ll be the next Peyton Manning, either. There are just too many variables and I’ve not seen enough of him to judge with any amount of confidence whether or not he can make the transition from college to the NFL. I’d like to think he will, but I’m sure not going to bet my house on it.

Jabbar Gaffney would appear to be a great pickup until you look at the Redskins receiving corps, who passed on him at pick #32, and remember the horrible track record of Florida receivers in the NFL. Did anybody imagine them picking Chester Pitts with pick #50? I’ve got a real bad feeling about that one. About all I could have told you about Fred Weary on draft day was that he went to Tennessee. I’d actually seen Charles Hill play up here at Maryland and can say that he was a respected leader on a surprising defense that often played above their heads. You can never have too many of those guys on your squad, but to take an example from another sport and with the same school, I said pretty much the same thing about Terrence Morris after the Rockets’ draft last year, so…

Lest anybody believe I’m unhappy with the Texans’ draft, I’m not. At least, I’m not any more unhappy as happy. I’ve said it before: I couldn’t be any worse at evaluating college talent, so I can’t honestly make a positive assessment of the Texans’ draft. Let’s just say I’m guardedly optimistic.

What else could I have been positive about over the past month and a half, or so? The Cryboys draft? I actually considered doing an apologetic piece praising Ol’ Yella Teeth and the Cryboys’ draft weekend, but something just didn’t set right with the whole situation. In the course of that project, I uncovered some stunning information about the Cryboys operation during draft weekend. My investigation of the situation is ongoing and should yield results in the near future.

There was the Drew Bledsoe trade to consider. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything positive in that either. At least not in the short run. For what it’s worth, I believe that Bledsoe’s days as an elite quarterback are done. He just turned 30, he’s taken an enormous amount of punishment over the past 3 years (he almost got himself killed last season) and he’s gotten even less mobile if that’s possible. Honestly, he’s Rob Johnson with a bigger contract. Regardless of Bledsoe’s status, he’s now on a team run by Tom Donahoe who could turn winning the lottery into a liability. The whole situation just reeks of disaster.

In New England, they’re gambling on Tom Brady to repeat his 2001 performance. They need to talk to Ozzie Newsome, Brian Billick and the rest of the Baltimore Ravens. I can’t imagine them catch lightning in a bottle twice. They will sneak up on nobody next season and no team can have everything go their way two years in a row the way New England had it last year. The Pats’ 2001 season was magic, but the ball’s over for Cinderella. That first rounder from Buffalo will ease the pain some.

So, what else is there? Tony Boselli’s shoulder surgery. I stayed out of the discussion in Post Patterns on that one, as all I would have done is reiterate the points several others made. This could be potentially devastating and it already calls into question the competence of the medical staff as well as (to an extent) the credibility of the front office. I would like nothing more than to look back on this situation in the future and realize my doubts were unfounded. In the meantime, it’s a definite concern. By the way, for the record, is the Texans medical staff the same as the Astros? If so, we could be in some big trouble.

And that’s about it for the off-season up to now. Fairly quiet and not a lot to be positive about. At the same time, there’s really nobody or anything to take potshots at either, although I’ll be keeping a close eye on Ballcoach and Li’l Danny up here in the D.C. area. Something tells me that situation might turn out to be comedy gold.

In the meantime, I’ll have to be content with looking forward to voluntary workouts and June 1st cuts. Oh, and laughing at deluded Titans fans who are already writing checks their team won’t cash. Of that, I’m positive.

Dave Sabo would like to reiterate at this time that while he does have season tickets and he is only attending 3 games of the 10 games, ALL 7 OTHER GAMES ARE ACCOUNTED FOR! David Carr David Carr Return to Houston Pro Football If you have a question, comment or suggestion, contact Dave Catch up on past installments of The Armchair Quarterback