September 12, 2005
Send in the Clowns
by Keith Weiland
This is the time when I’m supposed to insert a joke at the expense of the Texans. Kick a man when he’s down. Knee him in the groin. Take away his lunch money. Tongue his girlfriend.
I just can’t. The Texans fail to engender any emotion from this particular fan. Their 22-7 loss to Bills on Sunday was gutless, hopeless, demoralizing, and completely devoid of passion.
But the players are still human, right? If you prick them, do they not bleed?
Of course they will. It’s just that these guys have been behaviorally modified to approach each game like a professional on a routine business trip. The Texans, like any organization, are taking on the persona of their leader, head coach Dom Capers.
The man is unflappable. His schedule is executed with military precision. I bet he even flosses every day. Capers never lets his emotions get the best of him and advises his team of the same.
But that’s just the problem, isn’t it? Capers won’t get the best of his players until he lets them play with some emotion.
Football isn’t business, at least not between the sidelines. It’s a game. It’s energy. It’s pride. And most of all, it’s heart.
If what happened on Sundays was decided by professionalism, then the Texans would be better off fielding Bob McNair’s accountants. Capers ought to let his junior executives play like football is more than a weekly paycheck. If he still wants a stuffy office environment in his team’s huddle, then he has to learn to appreciate casual Fridays, too. Maybe mix in the occasional Hawaiian shirt day while he’s at it.
I am not privy to what Capers says to his quarterback, but it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if it sounded a little like this:
"Ahhhh… we have sort of a problem here, David. Hmmm, yeeaaaahhh… Ahhh… I’m going to have to ask you to come in on Sunday, too. That would be great."
I fall in love with the draft class each year because they play with the energy and emotion that made them stars at the college level. This year, I see rookies like C.C. Brown and Travis Johnson playing hard because they love the game. It’s the same way I remember guys like Antwan Peek and even David Carr playing when they were first with the team, too.
The way the Texans played in Buffalo only reminds me of the embarrassing way they finished the 2004 regular season against the Browns. Actually, their play reminds me of other things, too, like the laundry, the lawn, the dishes, and other chores I could be doing instead of wasting three hours of my Sunday watching Capers’ team mope all over the field.
So I’m stuck begging for the clowns to make it worth my while. I mean, how sick am I to watch the Texans whimper against the Bills and actually hope that Buddy Ryan would return, not to coach up the defense, but to slug Chris Palmer in the kisser?
Maybe we should bring back David Williams for a Babygate II, or maybe someone should tell Charley Casserly to drop his pants the next time he crashes a wedding reception.
Just do something to make me care about pro football in Houston again.
Keith Weiland wants to know what he’s going to do with forty subscriptions to Vibe.
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