Anatomy of a Shocker

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May 1, 2006
Anatomy of a Shocker

by Bob Hulsey

For almost four months, the battle raged in H-town and throughout Texanland. Reggie Bush or Vince Young?

Bush, the Heisman Trophy winner (at least for now), had a legion of Bushbots bug-eyed about the thought of a J.J. Moses on steroids darting all over Reliant Park unable to be corraled by less than eight defenders. He could score every time he touched the ball. He ran a 4.1/40, claimed the Bushbots (it turned out to be 4.3). He was the best runner, the best receiver, the best returner, the best sex partner, ever, ever, ever, they panted. He’d revolutionize the position.

ESPN promised us that.

Young, meanwhile, was the hometown hero, the Prince of Vince, the guy who you couldn’t stop on the ground and you couldn’t stop through the air. He ran a 4.3/40, claimed the Youngbloods (it turned out to be 4.5). He’d shown those sissified Californians how we played ball down here in Texas and he’ll show them all over again at the next level, the Youngbloods promised. He’d be what Earl was to the Oilers, what Rocket was to the Astros, what Hakeem and Clyde were to the Rockets – the local hero proving yet again that everything is bigger and better from the Lone Star State. He’d revolutionize the position.

John McClain promised us that.

Across fences and chat rooms from Waco to Brownsville and from Port Arthur to San Antone, the Youngbloods and the Bushbots screamed at each other. Friendships were torn asunder. Epithets were hurled. Logic was thrown under the bus.

"We don’t need a new quarterback," yelled the Bushbots. "We have David Carr and Kubiak knows how to fix a quarterback. Carr just had his contract extended and he makes too much money to trade. Carr needs weapons. We NEED Bush."

"We don’t need a new running back," shot back the Youngbloods. "We have Domanick Davis and Kubiak knows how to build a running game. Davis had his contract extended last summer and he makes too much money to trade. Carr sucks. We NEED Vince."

When Young scored poorly on his Wonderlic test, the Bushbots chortled. "See? He’s dumb as a rock. Somebody’s going to need to read him the playbook."

The Bushbots got cocky. Wasn’t Bush the reason Kris Brown missed all those field goals in December? We tanked all those games just to draft this guy. "Reg-GIE! Reg-GIE! Reg-GIE!" they drooled.

The Youngbloods then got nasty, profane and somewhat unintelligible. They threatened protests. They threatened revoking their PSLs. They took out ads in the Chronicle. Worse, some threatened to become Titan fans.

Yet, somewhere in the dark crevices of Reliant Park, a voice of reason cleared his throat. Maybe it was Dan Reeves. Perhaps Gary Kubiak. Maybe it was the ballboy, just like the scene from the "Emperor’s New Clothes."

"We don’t need a new running back," said the voice. "We don’t need a new quarterback, either. The two things we need are the two things this franchise has always needed from day one. We need somebody who can sack the quarterback and we need somebody who will keep ours upright. Why don’t you take a look at this guy named Mario Williams? He’s a beast. He’s what you need."

The voice’s words probably needed repeating a few times through the din of Bushbots and Youngbloods but, eventually, they took root. The Old Man and his henchmen wined and dined Mr. Young and Mr. Bush. Both probably came across a bit too arrogant and a bit too full of themselves to the Old Man who, after all, would be the one signing the paychecks.

I don’t know if they did the same with Mr. Williams but, the longer they thought about choosing him, the more they liked what they saw. They began negotiating with Mr. Williams and a deal was struck.

When the Bushbots found out about the deal, they became as surly and profane as the Youngbloods. Their amen chorus at ESPN joined in. "How dare they? They must be nuts!" More threats soon came.

The Youngbloods are still miffed but there is a quieting satisfaction in knowing the Bushbots didn’t get their guy, either. The Bushbots can at least be happy that the Old Man didn’t cave to the Youngbloods. In that, both sides might be willing to hang around long enough to allow Kubiak time to put a winning product on the field. The Old Man is brilliant. Solomon could not have done any better. Now both sides can hate him, but still give his Texans the benefit of the doubt.

The game of football is won by forcing your will on the other team. That usually happens with a strong defense. Ask Peyton Manning (the 800-pound gorilla of this division) how many times his razzmatazz offense has gotten him to the Super Bowl. Trust me, he won’t need to look it up.

It’s defense that puts big gaudy rings on the fingers. And somebody at the Texans has at last figured that out. Their first two draft picks are guys who will pressure the quarterback. The next two picks are guys expected to keep opponents from pressuring Carr. This game can be pretty simple when you break it down to its basics.

Expect another four-to-eight months before the Youngboods and Bushbots get over their disappointment. Surely the pain will flare up again during the next ten years every time Mr. Bush or Mr. Young makes a dazzling play mere mortals aren’t supposed to do. And yet, if the Texans reach a Super Bowl before the Saints or the Titans do, you’ve read it here first. And, if that happens, I hope the Old Man is there to give a hug to Mario Williams, the team’s savior.

Somebody at Reliant Park figured out what wins championships. And did so just in the nick of time.

Bob Hulsey would still have preferred a trade down to select D’Brickashaw Ferguson or Vernon Davis, so what does he know?

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