8.24.02 | 7pm
August 22, 2002
Home Sweet Home
by Jimmy Mohr
This weekend, the Texans will play their first game ever at Reliant Stadium when the Miami Dolphins come to town. Reliant will cast a shadow over the outdated Astrodome, reintroducing NFL football to the city of Houston.
Last week, the Texans took a step backward in their loss to the Chiefs. Costly penalties and overall sloppy play contributed to a 19-9 loss to a team that is not expected to compete for a playoff spot. QB David Carr had an average game at best, completing 50% of his passes with no touchdowns or interceptions. The Texans biggest problem is scoring points; they have scored only 39 points in three preseason games. Thirteen points per game will add up to the same amount of losses or more. But have no fear, help is on the way. Journeyman QB Tony Banks signed this week, his seventeenth team in two years.
The Miami Dolphins will prove to be a huge test, having qualified for the playoffs each of the past five seasons. The Dolphins feature their most promising running back in years with newly acquired Ricky Williams. Miami has had only two 1,000 yard rushers since 1980, therefore the addition of Williams could be the missing piece to their Super Bowl quest. QB Jay Fiedler on the other hand, is coming under constant fire for his poor performance this preseason. He threw three interceptions last week in a 24-7 loss to the Saints. With Ray Lucas waiting in the wings, Dolphin Head Coach Dave Wannstedt could be faced with a tough decision on his starter for the season opener.
When Houston has the ball
Expect the Texans to continue to focus on the running game. Coach Capers continues to emphasize the importance of the ground game in order to control the clock and to have any chance of winning. Unfortunately, the offensive line will be absent starters Tony Boselli, Ryan Young and Fred Weary for a second consecutive week. Against the Chiefs, the reserves were good enough for a 3.5 yard per carry average. The Dolphins defense will pose a much larger challenge than KC last week. David Carr may be forced into a plethora of third and long situations.
When Miami has the ball
Can you say, “Watch the run!”? Ricky Williams, AKA Little Earl, will be playing next door to the building Big Earl used to shake to its foundation. Miami needs to prove it has a rushing game for the first time since Ric hit puberty. They also need to relieve the pressure placed upon QB Jay Fiedler. He is one or two bad games from becoming the holder of the clipboard.
Stop the run
If the Texans’ defense is successful in stopping the run, then this game could be a cakewalk. The Dolphins averaged only 2.8 yards per carry in last week’s embarrassing loss to the Saints. Due to their ineptness on the ground, Fiedler was forced to throw the ball downfield. This apparently is a bad thing for the Dolphins and a good thing for opposing defenses. Fiedler finished his quarter-and-a-half of play with three interceptions and a fumble.
Field goals are nice, but they won’t get the job done. The Texans must find a way to get the pigskin across the goal line. Without a stud RB to carry the load, it will be up to David Carr and his receiving corps to put points on the board.
Last week, the referees began complaining of carpal tunnel syndrome after flagging the Texans 19 times for 94 yards. Penalties are a part of the game, but the idiotic false starts and neutral zone infractions are inexcusable. Capers should fine any player who commits such senseless acts. Wells
James Allen v. Jonathan Wells
You can talk about it being preseason all you want, but James Allen‘s 1.6 yard per carry average is still a 1.6 yard per carry avearge, and it’s pathetic. Jonathan Wells was one of the only bright spots against the Chiefs last week and has been the better of the two through three games. Is Allen’s starting position in jeopardy? Should it be?
Tony Banks v. Kent Graham
The battle of the spares is on. Newcomer Tony Banks has his eyes set on Graham’s stranglehold on the third string QB job. Why the Texans wasted time and money to sign Banks is beyond reason. Rumor has it that the player who washes Coach Capers’ car the best will have the edge.
Reliant Stadium v. The Astrodome
For all it’s bells and whistles and hundreds of millions of dollars, does Reliant Stadium offer a DomeDog?
HoustonProFootball.com’s hard working… working staff weigh in with their predictions for this week’s game.
Bob: Miami is a playoff contender. Texans will have trouble stopping the run. Fins hungry for a win. Bad sign if everyone’s busy watching the stadium instead of the game. Dolphins 26, Texans 10
Dave: Simple logic: Texans beat Saints, Saints beat Dolphins; therefore, Texans 19, Dolphins 14
Jimmy: Earl Campbell runs for 199 yards in the Reliant opener. Texans 20,
Keith: Reliant Stadium will shine brightest, but Texans have no answer for Ricky. Dolphins 24, Texans 13
Ric: Texans are finally tested by a good team, and have it handed to them. Dolphins 21, Texans 3
Warren: The Texans redeem themselves in front of the home folks after their sloppy performance in KC. Texans 20, Dolphins 13 TEXANS PASS ATT CMP YDS TD/IN Carr 46 26 314 1/1 TEAM 94 52 602 2/4 RUSH ATT YDS AVG TD Wells 33 132 4.0 1 TEAM 95 268 2.8 1 REC NO YDS AVG TD Lewis 5 78 15.6 0 TEAM 52 602 11.6 2 DOLPHINS PASS ATT CMP YDS TD/INT Lucas 28 19 226 2/0 TEAM 87 43 467 2/6 RUSH ATT YDS AVG TD Minor 12 33 2.8 0 TEAM 53 134 2.5 0 REC NO YDS AVG TD Baker 6 111 18.5 0 TEAM 43 467 10.9 2 PRESEASON 8.05 GIANTS 17-34 8.10 @ Saints 13-10 8.17 @Chiefs 9-19 8.24 DOLPHINS 3-24 8.30 BUCCANEERS 13-17 REGULAR SEASON 9.08 COWBOYS 19-10 9.15 @ Chargers 3-24 9.22
3-23 9.29 @ Eagles 17-35 10.06 OPEN 10.13 BILLS 24-31 10.20 @ Browns 17-34 10.27 @ Jaguars 21-19 11.03 BENGALS 3-38 11.10 @ Titans 10-17 11.17 JAGUARS 21-24 11.24 GIANTS 16-14 12.01 @ Colts 3-19 12.08 @ Steelers 24-6 12.15 RAVENS 19-23 12.22 @ Redskins 10-26 12.29 TITANS 3-13 OVERALL 4-12 click on a team to read the GameDay Preview; click on the score to read the GameDay Review