You want to swim in your frustration over Sunday’s painful loss to the Raiders, have at it. You’re no different than the Texan players. Year six of the Gary Kubiak regime and still this Texans organization has not found a way to build on success and create momentum. That’s what we can take from the Raiders’ 25-20 victory.
For far too many Texans fans, the sentiment heading out into the rain upon leaving Reliant stadium was, “it’s the curse of being a Houston sports fan. Our teams just can’t be successful.” For those with that feeling I say knock it off, this one’s not on you, despite the fact that the stadium was at least 1/3 empty at kickoff and most of the club level stayed in the bar[s] for the second half. (You want the fans to be charged up, try winning consistently!) This loss is on the team. And I can – and will be more specific.
This loss falls at the feet of the team leaders; head coach Gary Kubiak, and quarterback Matt Schaub. These two men, by design if not inherently, are the leaders of this football team. Kubiak and Schaub failed this football team, and all its fans.
Watching the opening drive of the game for the Texans, with misdirection and innovative play calling I thought to myself, “Self, this is a dam hard offense to prepare for. Not only are they talented, but you never know what the f*^# they’re going to do from one play to the next. No wonder Kubiak is considered an offensive genius by his peers.” Yet the more the game wore on the less innovation and misdirection I saw. By the second half this offense was downright pedestrian.
As for Schaub, bluntly, he had a horrible game. He was slow to find the open receiver, off target with his passes, and as we’ll discuss for who knows how long – and may define his career, he failed miserably as a leader on the final play of the game. Whether or not you believe he should’ve run for the touchdown (I’m in that category) or not, you cannot debate his execution on the final play was obviously not the right decision. For Matt, it’s not a matter of physical ability on that play, it’s a matter mental toughness.
War analogy’s in football are overused, but ask any military veteran and they will tell you that the true heroes are the guys who died in the field of combat. Matt Schaub should’ve died trying, but with his lame pass attempt to Jacoby Jones he didn’t. And he’s left his teammates with the responsibility to come to his defense as a leader, again. Great leaders don’t need the men they’re leading to define their leadership, the guidance of a great leader is there for all to see.
Part of the problem with Schaub overall is the general discussion about his ability. It seems we’ve tried too hard to say he’s just below elite level in the NFL and near the top of the “second-tier” quarterbacks, when in reality, he’s nothing more than an above average quarterback. We need to stop defending Schaub by using his statistics. Stats are for losers. Joe Montana’s career stats pale in comparison to Dan Marino’s, yet Montana’s justifiably considered the better quarterback because he owns the hardware.
Selling Matt Schaub as a top quarterback in the NFL has become the proverbial square peg in a round hole. There’s a lot reasons it would seem we can wedge him into that category, but at the end of the day, when the game’s on the line, he just doesn’t fit.
The entire current organization seems to be showing the same signs. Despite all the offseason successes of the front office, and the ability of this talented roster to look dominant at times, they just cannot sustain success.
Certainly, playing in perhaps the weakest division in the NFL, nothing was lost with Sunday’s defeat. Except respect, self-respect and otherwise.