It’s Baaaaack…Sorta

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August 13, 2007
It’s Baaaaack…Sorta

by Blake Gifford

All I ask out of my sports teams is that they stay competitive long enough to interest me until the beginning of my next team’s season. The Astros had somehow made their season interesting again until their loss to the Brewers Friday night. The good thing is that I watched that game knowing that whether they won or loss, my Texans would be starting their sixth campaign at Reliant Stadium the following night against last year’s NFC representative in the Super Bowl, the Chicago Bears.

So many questions surround the this team that has struggled to find an identity after passing on a couple players in the 2006 draft who would have helped that problem. OK, that’s the last time you’ll hear me reference the 2006 draft in this space. It’s not a sore spot with me as much as it’s just annoying. Sure, we could be looking at the second year of Baby Vince or Reggie “Somehow my transgressions in the NCAA don’t matter” Bush, but we’re not. No use worrying; I’m just going to root for Super Mario and the rest of the bunch with all my gusto, especially now that we’ve pulled a sheet over the ’07 Astros.

Going into Saturday night’s game, the questions I had were a) how would the revamped offense look?; b) could the defense keep up the momentum they had going towards the end of 2006?; and c) how could I keep my interest after the second or third series? Some of the position battles interest me, but honestly… it’s a Saturday night. As excited I am about the start of the football season, there’s only so much I can handle. You see, I now write for a website devoted to an NFL team, but I’m just not into all the X’s and O’s. Chances were pretty big that I would find a poker game to play before the final snap (sorry bosses).

After a 20-19 loss in the preseason opener, it’s hard to say how my first two questions were answered. Matt Schaub and company only participated in about a dozen plays. He failed to connect with a wide-open Kevin Walter in the end zone in a play that pretty much summarized the entire evening for the good guys. They had plenty of chances in the red zone but could only muster one touchdown in the 60 minutes of play. Kris Brown had more work than he probably expected connecting on four field goals. In fact, our special teams looked pretty good, highlighted by an exciting, 78-yard kick return by Jerome Mathis and a nice punt return by rookie Jacoby Jones. From the sounds of my fellow fans last night, Jones seems like he could become a fan favorite quickly if he produces. Seems like an easy guy to root for.

The defense played fairly well; however they may have lost a contributor in the secondary when Glenn Earl left the game with a foot injury. Early reports have him missing a month (note: he’ll actually miss the entire season). Considering that’s probably the biggest area of concern on the defensive side of the ball, it’ll be interesting to see who steps up in Earl’s absence.

The lowlight of the night, outside of the Texans inability to produce in the red zone (and their lack of running game…only 75 yards total), was the absence of Jared Zabransky. As an UT fan and OU hater, this just adds to the disrespect the Texans have shown UT fans. First they pass on Vince Young (oops, I mentioned it again) and now they’re not playing the hero of the Fiesta Bowl last year.*

All in all, it was good to see some real-live NFL football again. While it’s hard to take too much from the first preseason game, this is the time of year when hope springs eternal. One down, three to go before the real ones start. The good guys switch from the humidity to the dry heat as they travel to Glendale, Arizona, to take on the Cardinals next Saturday at 2:00 pm.

* Tongue. In. Cheek.

Preseason Week 1 Amobi Okoye made his Texan debut in Saturday’s loss to Chicago. Final Score Houston Texans 19 Chicago Bears 20 Lookin’ Good

Jacoby Jones
If you root against graduates of Lane College, you’re enabling the terrorists.

Oh, my eyes!

Bradlee Van Pelt
When your only pass completion is to yourself and your name’s not Brett Favre, you’re not having a good night.

2007 Schedule Date Opponent Result 08.11 Chicago 19-20 08.18 at Arizona 33-20 08.25 Dallas 28-16 08.30 at Tampa Bay 24-31 Regular Season 09.09 Kansas City 20-3 09.16 at Carolina 34-21 09.23 Indianapolis 24-30 09.30 at Atlanta 16-26 10.07 Miami 22-19  10.14 at Jacksonville 17-37 10.21 Tennessee  36-38 10.28 at San Diego   11.04 at Oakland   11.11 BYE  — 11.18 New Orleans   11.25 at Cleveland   12.02 at Tennessee   12.09 Tampa Bay   12.13 Denver   12.23 at Indianapolis   12.30 Jacksonville     Overall Record 3-4