Seeing Red

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August 2, 2007
Seeing Red

by Ric Sweeney

It’s recently (and repeatedly) been brought to my attention that I’ve yet to officially weigh in on the changing of the #8 that took place this spring. And that’s true though the accusations that it’s because I’ve been hiding while licking my wounds after spending five years defending the old #8, David Carr, are simply not true. Entirely.

Part of the reason I’ve been quiet is that I don’t really have a lot to say about the new #8, Matt Schaub, yet other than I’m glad we traded for the Falcon quarterback that isn’t an irrefutable scum bag. Yea!… I guess. Until Schaub hits the field and renders us all either, “David who?” or “Wait a second – I thought we cut Carr,” there’s really not a lot of substantive information to process. For now, he seems like a smart, motivated, hard-working guy.

As for Carr, I have to be honest – there is some disappointment on my end. I rooted for the guy, and not just because he was the quarterback of my favorite team. I sensed as far back as 2003 that he was receiving a raw deal from the Texans’ original regime and that did endear him to me. I felt sorry for the guy from a football perspective (he obviously made millions off the field) and wanted to see him succeed in spite of the little (if any) support he received here.

Sure enough, after a seemingly hopeful start to the 2004 season, things inexplicably got progressively worse in Houston and Carr soon became the face of and reason for all the losing, culminating with him not being Vince Young. And I always felt that was ridiculously unfair. Still, with so much animosity aimed in his direction, it was definitely time to move on. Good riddance and good luck – hope there’re no hard feelings about the ample, useless beatings you absorbed here for five solid years… Our bad.

Fortunately, in the wake of Carr’s departure, the Texans are doing their best to smooth out the waves the franchise has made in its first five years with a plethora of moves (both this and last year) easy to like. On paper.

First of all, there’s good reason to be excited about #8.1 Schaub, like Carr, seems like an easy guy to like and cheer for. If he can prove to be a better football player then Gary Kubiak and company should be commended for finding him and having the urgency and tenacity to land him, especially in light of the Michael Vick situation. Keep in mind: Federal authorities first visited Vick’s Virginia home on April 25th, roughly a month after the Texans had acquired Schaub. Had Kubiak and/or the team’s brain trust shown even a moment’s hesitation, they might have lost their guy and we’d all be nervously awaiting the start of the Trent Green era.

Meanwhile, other additions should help as well: Mario Williams, Demeco Ryans, Eric Winston, Amobi Okoye and Jacoby Jones are among a group of new faces that bring a lot of promise and potential to a roster that has been in short supply of both for far too long. The team’s also starting to accumulate a nice collection of veterans such as Ahman Green, Kennan McCardell and Jordan Black.

But if the Texans are really serious about moving on from their less than distinguished past then there’s still one move left that they absolutely must make.

It’s time to make the battle red jerseys permanent, ditching the blue ones. Relegated thus far to "special occasions," the red jersey would signal a clean slate, a fresh start. After all, if you truly want to change the perception of your perpetually losing franchise why not – you know, literally change perception?

I never liked the blue jerseys, anyway – it was such a safe, easy choice. (coughnot unlike drafting Carrcough.) Besides, the Texans are 4-2 all-time when they wear their battle red jerseys and Russell A. Hill and Robert A. Barton of the University of Durham would argue that’s no coincidence. During the 2004 Summer Olympics, Hill and Barton observed four events in which the athlete or team wearing red (opposing a player or team in blue) won 60% of the time. Seriously*.

Sixty percent, people. Can I interest you in a 10-win season?

I realize a uniform change has zero-point-zero impact on wins. But I also recognize that, even given their relatively short existence, the Texans have a lot of baggage – the kind that’s being held together by pieces of duct tape. And thus far, they’ve done a fairly decent (and quick) job of investing in some kick-ass Samsonite carry-ons under Kubiak’s leadership.

But how are you going to feel when good ol’ #8 in his steel blue jersey settles under center this September? Is it going to feel like something new and exciting is taking place or will you start battening down the hatches in a Pavlovian anticipation of the same ol’ same ol’?

The Texans have slammed the door on their past. Casserley, Capers, Carr are all gone. If they want to truly complete their make-over, however, the next and last step needs to be cosmetic.

That, or get Schaub a new number.

* Thanks to Stephanie Stradley

Ric Sweeney is real good at makin’ two things one. Oh, yeah. Matt Schaub Matt Schaub Home

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