January 7, 2006
Way to Go, Vince
by Dave Sabo
At 8:00 PM EST this past Wednesday, Reggie Bush was the consensus #1 draft pick and the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. He was on the verge of claiming an unprecedented third straight National Championship with a team that had people debating whether it was the greatest ever. Four and a half hours later, after gaining 177 yards from scrimmage on 19 touches, including a touchdown on an absolutely breathtaking run against one of, if not the, best defenses in the nation, Bush is being hailed in many quarters as an apocalyptic NFL bust. All thanks to the marvel that was Texas quarterback Vince Young. Sura faints.
This is in no way an effort to disparage Young’s efforts. Anybody watching would agree that his play was, at times, jaw-dropping, particularly in the fourth quarter. What I am wondering is how this, in any way, detracts from Bush’s stellar career and more importantly, how it affects the Texans and the #1 pick.
Other than the ridiculous (and costly) lateral he attempted in the first quarter, Bush was as advertised. Of course, many would have liked for him to have been more involved in the game, but that’s not Bush’s fault; it’s simply an indication of how inept Pete Carroll is as a head coach. Again, Bush has been hailed as the best player in college football, the Heisman Trophy winner and the consensus #1 pick all year… and on 4th-and-2, with immortality on the line, he was on the sideline. In his place, Carroll lined up LenDale White alone in the backfield, playing big. Gee, I wonder who was getting the rock? Undiscovered life forms on undiscovered planets in undiscovered galaxies located undiscovered units of measurement away knew White was getting the ball. I’m pretty sure all eleven Longhorns on the field hit him simultaneously because, like I said, they knew he was getting the ball.
But, Pete Carroll, Suuuuuuuuuper-Geeeeeeeenius that he is, couldn’t figure out a way to get the Heisman Trophy winner and consensus future NFL superstar onto the field. Even if Bush DOES have some kind of deficiency that only Carroll knows about, he can’t figure out a way to use Bush as, oh, I don’t know – a decoy? And even if the ‘Horns KNEW about Reggie’s Achilles heel and didn’t fall for the decoy and thus keyed on White anyway, leaving all kinds of room outside, Carroll can’t figure out how to have Leinart audible? Really??? And this all somehow means that Reggie’s gonna bust? Based on the results of one game? A game in which he played marvelously despite his coach’s ineptitude?
Bottom line, Reggie Bush is as good today as he was before the Rose Bowl and his performance, by any objective analysis, supports this. Again, 177 yards from the line of scrimmage on 19 touches. Against, possibly, the best defense in the nation. And on a night when his head coach flat-out choked.
Meanwhile, Vince Young is apparently exponentially better than believed. The good folks in Canton might as well commission his bust and have him measured for a yellow blazer. Once again, all based on one game. Granted, it was one game the likes of which have never been seen before, but it’s still one game nonetheless. Of course, nobody was talking about Young as the #1 pick Wednesday afternoon. He wasn’t even coming out of school on Wednesday afternoon. But, on the basis of one game he’s all but declared, will flourish immediately in the NFL and is a sure-fire Hall of Famer. I hope someone is telling him that making the decision to declare based on a single game is a huge mistake. If he wasn’t ready before the Rose Bowl, he’s not ready now. Unfortunately, there’s a very real chance that he’ll come out early. And, by the way, there’s nothing stopping Bush from staying another year at USC
The Bush/Young debate is going to rage for the next three and a half months, regardless of who does or doesn’t make themselves available. Young’s otherworldly performance has guaranteed that. The big question is what should the Texans do with the #1 pick?
Honestly, I don’t know. Have no idea. Clueless. The only thing I do know is that, whatever the Texans do, it’s gonna be wrong.
Before I get into this, I just want to state that I purposely posed the question “what should the Texans do” rather than “what will the Texans do” because for the next three and a half months, nobody’s going to be debating what the Texans will do, only what they think the Texans should do. Everybody will be adamant, there will be no changing anybody’s mind and everybody who disagrees will be labeled, in some manner, a “Carr lackey” or “jock-swinger” who’s “looking through burnt-orange glasses,” etc.
Oh, and for the record, not only do I not have any idea what the Texans should do, I’m equally at a loss as to what they will do. Seriously, folks, I got nothing. Except that whatever they do, it’ll be wrong.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s look at the Texans’ options. This is a problem since neither Bush nor Young have declared yet. And, by the way, if anybody mentions LenDale White, they get kneed in the groin. There’s enough going on as it is.
Worst case scenario, and completely within the realm of possibility since this is the Texans we’re talking about, both Bush and Young stay in school. How ‘bout that, huh? Three and a half months of giddy speculation by the better part of the northern hemisphere and both decide that getting pounded 20 weeks straight behind Houston’s non-existent line isn’t worth it and decide not to come out. The Texans are stuck trying to work up a frenzy over Matt “Sore Loser” Leinart, nobody bites and they’re forced to pick him. They still have a decision to make. Do they move Carr, move Leinart or keep them both? It won’t matter. If they move either player, whoever they keep will bust while the other has a Hall of Fame career (with the “Oilers,” most likely, so the Texans have to eat it twice a season for the next decade). If they keep them both, there will be a “quarterback controversy” which is just NFL-ese for “both these guys suck completely”.
If one comes out and the other stays, the scenario will be similar. Whoever comes out will either be a bust of Akili Smith-ian/Ryan Leaf-ian proportions. Or they’ll pull a “Bennie” and never play a down due to injury. Whoever stays in school will be taken first overall in the 2007 draft (by the “Oilers,” most likely, so the Texans have to eat it twice a season for the next decade). If the Texans manage to swing a trade, it’ll be a bad one (with the “Oilers,” most likely, so the Texans have to eat it twice a season for the next decade), something like moving down to #3 this year and just getting a second rounder this season and maybe a third in 2007. Fans will rejoice that the Texans managed to avoid having to throw in Jerome Mathis to make the deal. Whoever they pick at #3 (Hawk, The Brick, whoever), busts horribly. And then they trade the extra picks (to the “Oilers” for an even worse CB than Phillip Buchanon -Adam Jones – most likely, so the Texans have to eat it twice a season for the next decade).
If both come out, the Texans have to decide whether to pick Bush or Young, or trade the pick. This is where the potential to really screw this up looms.
If they pick Young, Bush will turn out to be the greatest running back in the history of the NFL (with the “Oilers,” most likely, so the Texans have to eat it twice a season for the next decade). He’ll be the first player to rush for 300 yards in a game; 2,500 in a season and 20,000 yards for his career. He’ll set the game, season and career touchdown records. During the 2012 off-season, he’ll find the cure for cancer. Even Leinart (picked by the Niners) has a Hall of Fame career.
If they decide to get rid of Carr, he’ll turn his career around immediately. He’ll be named to multiple Pro Bowls and will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2027. He will set numerous team records for his new team. During the 2012 off-season, he’ll patent and market a hybrid engine that gets over 120 miles to the gallon. The kicker is that the Texans don’t trade him, they’ll simply release him and he will be signed as a free agent (by the “Oilers,” most likely, so the Texans have to eat it twice a season for the next decade). If they keep Carr, however, there will be a “quarterback controversy” which is just NFL-ese for “both these guys suck completely”.
Regardless, Vince’s talents, it turns out, won’t translate to the NFL. He’ll be Vick Lite, only a worse passer due to that wacky throwing motion. He’ll never play in more than six games in any of his four seasons in the NFL due to horrifying injuries sustained while running around trying to make something happen. His career will end early in the 2009 season when his lower left leg is torn off at the knee.
If they pick Bush, Young turns out to be the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL (with the “Oilers,” most likely, so the Texans have to eat it twice a season for the next decade). He’ll be the first player to pass for 600 yards in a game; 6,500 yards in a season and 75,000 yards for his career. He’ll set the game, season and career touchdown records. In one game, he’ll account for 11 touchdowns rushing and passing. During the 2012 off-season, he will broker a deal between the Israelis and Palestinians, establishing permanent peace in the Middle East. Even Leinart (picked by the Niners) has a Hall of Fame career.
Meanwhile, Reggie, it turns out, doesn’t have NFL speed or vision. He backs up Davis, Wells and Morency for 4 seasons until 2010 when he’s waived. He’s signed off waivers (by the “Oilers,” most likely, so the Texans have to eat it twice a season for the next decade) and turns out to be the greatest running back in the history of the NFL. He’ll be the first player to rush for 300 yards in a game; 2,500 in a season and 20,000 yards for his career. He’ll set the game, season and career touchdown records. During the 2012 off-season, he’ll find the cure for cancer.
If they trade the pick, they’ll manage to convince somebody (the “Oilers,” most likely, so the Texans have to eat it twice a season for the next decade) to pull a Vikings/Ditka and give up their entire 2006 draft. Further, the “Oilers” trade their entire 2007 draft to take back their 2006 #3 overall pick. Armed with 28 picks over the 2006 and 2007, the Texans will make the exact same drafting mistakes they made in season 1 through 4. Of the 28 picks, only 5 are starting in 2010. Robinson and Johnson are their only Pro Bowlers, neither having been named since the 2007 season. The will not win more than 5 games in any season that any pick from the 2006 or 2007 drafts are on the roster.
Meanwhile, the “Oilers” will take Bush with the #1 pick and Young with #3 (Leinart, picked by the Niners, has a Hall of Fame career) and the Texans have to eat it twice a season for the next decade because both players become the greatest at their positions in the history of the NFL; breaking records, curing diseases and spreading peace worldwide. The “Oilers” will win 12 Super Bowls over the next 20 seasons.
This was all so much easier before Young went and threw a monkey wrench into the mix with all his talent and poise and leadership. Bush would have come out, the Texans would try to steal somebody’s draft in a trade and, failing that, pick Reggie and live happily ever after knowing that even if he DID bust, he was the consensus pick and all 31 teams would have done the same thing.
Now, it’s nothing but a looming disaster that the Texans will screw up massively.
Way to go, Vince.