Standard Deduction

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October 2, 2007
Standard Deduction

by Bob Hulsey

One has to tip their cap to Brett Favre. The Green Bay quarterback, who recently set all-time records for most wins and most touchdown passes by an NFL quarterback, has his Packers at 4-0 to start the 2007 season. Over the last few seasons, Favre has had seemingly as many farewell performances as Roger Clemens and looked at times like he ought to retire – painfully so. Arguably, he is working this magic with less talent than the Texans started the year with.

If you were an NFL quarterback, who would you rather have in your huddle – Andre Johnson or Donald Driver? Jacoby Jones or Greg Jennings? Ahman Green or Brandon Jackson? Ron Dayne or Vernand Morency? Owen Daniels or Don Lee?

Favre is a special player and not every team can be blessed to have a quarterback of his talents. The Houston Texans have yet to find such a signal-caller.

Whoever it was who first said, "The quarterback gets too much of the credit when they win and too much of the blame when they lose" certainly had it nailed. I know it is tempting to think that changing quarterbacks changes everything but, as the Bear fans can tell you, it ain’t necessarily so.


Players GMS Comp Att Yds Comp % TD Int Fum Scks QB Rate QB1 4 81 111 865 72.9 7 2 8 15 109.1 QB2 4 91 123 1,005 74.0 5 3 4 6 101.2

The second quarterback listed above is our own Matt Schaub in his first four games with the Texans. The first quarterback listed above is our quarterback last year, David Carr, in his first four games from 2006. To hear Texan fans, you would think releasing Carr and acquiring Schaub was like dumping Rex Grossman for Favre. Reality is far different.

So would be the opinion that there’s no difference between the two. Schaub shows better pocket presence than Carr and more elusiveness in the pocket. He seems to have a quicker release and a cooler demeanor. I think the reduction in sacks from last year to this has more to do with Schaub feeling the pressure and getting rid of the ball more than the offensive line being perceptably better. But Schaub is far from a polished quarterback and my jury is still out on whether he’s the guy who can lead the Texans to the playoffs. I need to see more.

Schaub has lost several important offensive weapons since the season began but there wasn’t much available to Carr either. Remember Wali Lundy? Remember Corey Bradford?

Let me be clear about this. My argument about the two quarterbacks is not to exonerate or excuse Carr, nor to be overly-critical of Schaub. My hope is to push the debate so that Carr’s detractors hold Schaub to the same standard they did to his predecessor. When I criticize Schaub, I’m pointing out the same things people said about Carr as they were running him out of town with pitchforks. Schaub has made some bad reads, thrown bad interceptions and fumbles too much. He’s young and can still improve or he can implode the way we saw it happen to Carr.

The dumbest retort I hear from the Schaub supporters is "well, he’s better than Carr". Would you be impressed if the best somebody said about Gary Kubiak is "well, he’s better than Dom Capers"? Would your second wife be impressed if you told her "well, you’re better than my first wife"?

Winning the first two games was glorious and brought a lot of goodwill. Heck, even the national wags were giving us some respect – although I suspect much of it was to save face for trashing the Mario Williams pick last year. But two losses have wiped the gloss off the new season.

A .500 season for the Texans is not assured much less a playoff appearance. The rest of the AFC South appears tougher than most thought in the preseason. Losing Tarik Glenn hasn’t slowed down the Colts. Losing Byron Leftwich hasn’t hurt the Jaguars much either. Tennessee is just two points short of being undefeated.

At this point, we are 2-2. Same as the Raiders. Same as the Browns. Same as the Cardinals. Same as the two teams we’ve beaten this year, the Chiefs and Panthers. We’re last in our division. We’re 23rd in rushing offense.

Actually, I think the fate of the Texans will come down to how well their defense plays, not the offense. The last two weeks, they’ve been picked apart like a flock of buzzards pick at a carcass. That’s to be expected when facing the Colts but it was not when facing the Falcons whom the previous three opponents found easier to stop than did our troops.

Unless we find a solution for the leaky secondary, Schaub is going to find himself playing catch-up more often and that means throwing more which means getting out of the game plan and taking more chances which means ultimately more sacks and more mistakes. Sound familiar? It should.

Meanwhile, Brett Favre is doing more with seemingly less. That’s why he’ll be in Canton not long from now.

Bob Hulsey wishes to thank Craig Biggio for his wonderful career and hopes he has a happy retirement. If either of his sons can play as well as Craig did, he hopes the Astros can get them under contract.

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