What? Me Worry?

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August 13, 2007
What? Me Worry?

by Ric Sweeney

I’ve found this helps: “It was only a preseason game.” Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

We shouldn’t be worried that the 2007 Texans busted out of the starting gates Saturday night in their first preseason game looking an awful lot like the eventual 6-10 Texans of last year. And why, pray tell, should we stifle our earned inclination to assume the worst when it comes to this franchise?

“It was only a preseason game.”

And that means we can dismiss any concerns that the offense didn’t appear to have taken a single baby step forward since January of last year. Nope. “It was only a preseason game.” Sure the running backs racked up 59 yards, averaging 3.3 yards a carry with the longest run covering 7 yards, but not a single bone in my body is worried about what a non-factor they were because (repeat after me): “It was only a preseason game.”

Meanwhile, our highly-touted new quarterback, Matt Schaub, opened with a two-yard completion. He was then rushed on his second throw as protection broke down and roughly 52 Bears got in his face. He did manage to get the pass off, however, only to watch his receiver drop what would have been a first down conversion. He later horribly missed a wide-open Kevin Walter that would have gone for six. Overall, he looked for and found All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson once. And through his entire uninspiring, “We gave up how many draft picks for this guy?” performance, I smiled and reveled in the fact that none of this counts.

“It was only a preseason game.”

So while you might, I really don’t care that the offense generated just three plays of 10 or more yards in the first half (six all night) – “It was only a preseason game.”; failed in four attempts inside the red zone to do something other than kick a field goal – “It was only a preseason game.”; rung just 6 points out of Von Hutchins’ interception inside Chicago’s 20-yard line and Jerome Mathis’ electrifying 78-yard kick return to the Bears’ 24.

“It was only a preseason game.”

I wasn’t even bothered, after pushing the ball to the Chicago goal line, that Gary Kubiak elected to kick a field goal from Chicago’s 3-yard line – why should I be? Isn’t that what the preseason is all about? Making sure your kicker can nail 20-yard field goals when the games don’t count? Yep. “It was only a preseason game.”

Let’s gather our things and come in off the ledge, people, because there’s not a single, viable reason to fret that our defensive front four failed to rattle a quarterback who’s spotting most of the teams he faces about 1/3 rattle as is. We don’t care that Brian Griese and Kyle Orton tore apart our 2nd and 3rd stringers to the tune of 22/32, 223 yards, one touchdown and an interception.

Do I even need to say it at this point? “It was only a preseason game.” In fact, I bet you didn’t know this, but if a player were to get shot during the game and die, he’d be alive the very next day – that’s how insignificant these games are.

Because lord knows, last year’s stumble out of the gate (documented here), which came on the heels of 2005’s stumble out of the gate (documented here), had absolutely no bearing whatsoever on how those seasons would eventually play out. I was wasting both time and energy last August when I typed:

Because here we are, eight quarters into arguably the most important preseason in the team’s history and the best quarterback on this team thus far is Sage Rosenfels, not David Carr. And frankly, it’s really not even close.

…Oh sure, it’s only preseason – no one’s reading too much into anything right now (mainly because we’re conveniently ignoring all the signs last year’s supposedly meaningless preseason performance eventually predicted). And no, I don’t think Sage Rosenfels is Tom Brady in red, white and Texan blue. But then again, this isn’t really about Rosenfels anyway. He could go Joe Montana on us for all we care and it wouldn’t make an ounce of difference if Carr wasn’t busy going… well, David Carr on us.

Ridiculous, right? Meaningless preseason games. Oh, and check out this drivel I killed an evening coming up with two years ago:

You can only discount preseason games so much. When presumably simple tasks – like staying onsides and throwing to players wearing the same uniform – fall off a steep cliff and things begin to look an awful lot like 2002 all over again, there’s plenty of justification for being concerned.

…I’m finding it harder and harder to have much faith in what the team is trying to do. Last week, Carr didn’t look like a quarterback going through the preseason motions; he looked like a guy that had reached his breaking point. Frustrating to think four years may be wiped out if the team doesn’t get its act together, isn’t it?

See? All is well. The Texans started the regular season in 2005 and then again in 2006 and erased each and every one of those concerns. So why are you getting upset after their lackluster loss to the Bears Saturday night?

It was only a preseason game.

Ric Sweeney will now create a hole in his desk that measures roughly the same circumference of his head.

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