HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – What’s done is done. But that doesn’t mean we can’t scratch our collective heads over it all, and wonder what went wrong, why it happened and how the heck it may or may not have helped cause the 2012 Texans season to fall apart.
In order, here are my 10 most head-scratching Texans moments of the year:
10) Going to Kansas City … Kansas City here he comes: Allowing Eric Winston to walk. Was the big, popular right tackle THAT important to Texans; 2011 success? Apparently so. Even though Derek Newton came on at the end of the year — and certainly salary dominoes might have fallen differently had the Texans kept Winston — he was sorely missed.
9) Special teams takes a Holliday: Over the course of just a few weeks, Trindon Holliday went from terrific story, making the team during training camp, to a whipping boy. And then he was missed, sorely, as he became a Pro Bowl-caliber return man for the Broncos. Special teams coach Joe Marciano’s issues started out bad and only got worse.
8) Andre The Giant … and the seven dwarfs at No. 2 WR: The Texans gave everyone from high draft picks (Devier Posey), to supposed proven commodities (Kevin Walter), to receivers off the street (Jeff Maehl and Co.). The challenge was seizing the No. 2 WR job opposite Andre Johnson, or at least be a solid No. 2 target. None did.
7) Seeing red on Thanksgiving: OK, this one worked out in the Texans’ favor. Nevertheless, it was one of the most bizarre no-calls in NFL history, when RB Justin Forsett was down by most all accounts, except the refs’. Then Lions coach Jim Schwartz threw the red challenge flag, inexplicably, allowing the horrible no-call to stand as a game-changing touchdown run.
6) Ben Tate goes to the dogs. He was hurt, then his feelings had to be hurt. Ben Tate could have and should have been a huge asset to the Texans’ running game, bolstering Arian Foster’s rushes and lessening the load. Unfortunately, Tate wound up in coach Gary Kubiak’s dog house and never got out. Next stop? Most likely elsewhere.
5) Letter jackets? Really? While the Connor Barwin-inspired Texans letter jackets were sweeeeeeeeeet, they made the Texans look high-school-ish. And even if they contend it was purely coincidental that the letter jackets were unveiled the week of the first Patriots’ game, they should have known better than to flaunt and preen in front of the big, ol’ Pats.
4) The Theory Of Barwin-ism: Who knows what went wrong. Perhaps Barwin simply is not as good a player as he was in 2011. Perhaps he simply had a bad year — or was just pulled in too many directions. For whatever reason, it was a flop. Ultimately, the entire defense suffered and Barwin’s slump was nothing less than a flop and hard to explain.
3) Manning the return game: Clearly, Danieal Manning is one of the best return men in football — despite Joe Marciano’s team’s horrible year blocking on special teams. Why Manning was not used on kickoffs much earlier than just in the post-season was inexcusable. If nothing else, Manning should have been used when the Texans were trying to secure homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.
2) Arian Foster goes Vegan: Hey, to each his own, I always say. Still, it became a bizarre distraction and ultimately a decision he changed midway through the year, when he admitted eating chicken and fish. It may have been typical Arian, just doing his own thing, but made for some interesting takes on why his yards-per-carry were not the same as before.
1) Houston, you have a Schaub-lem. Who knew Matt Schaub simply didn’t have it in him to show the kind of mettle and play-making ability necessary to carry his team over the hump. Wish I could put it more nicely. But there was no disguising a direct correlation to the Texans’ steady and steep late-season slide with Schaub’s inability to make game-winning plays.