After a solid start to the season, the Texans find themselves in a spot they know all too well.
The Colts picked the Texans apart Monday night in a 30-17 victory. Ten points was the closest the Texans got from early in the second quarter on. It never seemed like they were capable of winning the game, even with another dazzling performance by Arian Foster.
Now 4-3, and dwelling at third in the division, the Texans are quickly shifting back toward their old tendencies of mediocrity. The Colts now sit atop the division after Peyton Manning went surgical on Houston’s secondary for 268 yards and two touchdowns.
When your team is only one game back in their division, and there is still over half a season to play, it is difficult to count them out. But with the current state of the Texans, is anyone really a believer?
The Texans have not finished better than 9-7 in their eight year history, and it’s naive to assume that they will improve upon that this year. The Texans remaining schedule is highlighted by games against San Diego, at the Jets, at Philly, home versus Baltimore, and two games against the Titans mixed in.
Believing that Houston will win half these games seems like wishful thinking at this point. Two divisional bouts against the Jaguars is not a joke, either. The Texans bear striking resemblance to their squads of the last few years. The improvements that were apparent early on have either fizzled out as early-season speculation or have taken big hits due to injuries.
The bye week clearly did not fix any of the team’s core issues, and the current state of the team has to have fans scratching their heads as to what the real problem is.
There are the obvious reasons.
The Texans defense remains the worst in the league and a plethora of injuries is only cementing that status. The loss of DeMeco Ryans to a torn left achilles leaves the Texans without one of their defensive backbones for the remainder of the season.
Andre Johnson has struggled with ankle problems and had another small tweak last game. Owen Daniels only logged one reception against the Colts after recently looking like he was returning to form. Johnson is the receiving core’s most reliable option with Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones suffering from severe inconsistencies. The Texans hoped that Jones would experience a coming of age year with his degree of athletic talents, but that has yet proved the case.
Matt Schaub has also suffered from inconsistencies and an offense that looked to be pushing towards a more well-rounded approach has still been stifled during critical moments. In previous years the Texans offense helped to make up for their defensive follies by winning shootouts, but that dimension is bleak as well.
It’s always easy to point to the coaching staff when problems are persistent, but it may just be that time. With an arsenal of offensive talent, and ample time to build up a team, failing to build up a playoff-worthy squad over the course of 4+ years would be unacceptable in many organizations.
In week two I watched Gary Kubiak pass on attempting a 51-yard field goal on a fourth and four and the Washington 34. So, the choice would then be to attempt to get the first down by going for it to establish better field goal range right? Wrong. Kubiak decided to take a delay-of-game penalty and punt the ball. Matt Turk punted the ball for a touchback in what essentially wound up being a 14 yard change of possession. Fortunately, the Texans still wound up coming away with the victory.
I wrote an article last week that included points about the Cowboys’ problems with lack of passion. The Texans exhibit some of these traits as well. They have played incomplete series and have given signs of losing focus/grit during games.
The Texans have rarely looked like a team representing a never-say-die mentality, and their inability to overcome difficult situations points to a lack of character that can sometimes only be instilled by a coach with the right leadership/disciplinarian qualities.
Would Bill Belichick turn this team into a winner? If the answer is yes, it might soon be time to start the search for the next chapter in Texans’ coaches.
About the Author
Written by Zachary Stanley
By the end of the fall I will have obtained a Bachelor's degree from Ithaca College. I have been blogging for quite some time and am greatly enjoying my various responsibilities in this field. I am currently a Feature Celtics Columnist and a Featured Sports Contributor for two different sites. I am also a couple weeks from opening up my new blog site, CelticsNotes.com.