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By Dave Thomas
Although there is still much football to be played this season, the Houston Texans have dug themselves a hole that may quite possibly be too deep to get out of.
Following a 2-0 start to the season, the Texans have managed to put together five straight losses, setbacks that included blowout defeats in Baltimore (30-9) and San Francisco (34-3), along with a really ugly loss two weeks ago to the mediocre St. Louis Rams (38-13). While the team was much more competitive in losing 17-16 last Sunday at lone unbeaten Kansas City, the loss still stings one way or another.
With that in mind, what can Texan fans take out of the first seven games? Is there hope for a turnaround? Does head coach Gary Kubiak know that the writing is on the wall as far as his job if things do not improve? Lastly, will starting quarterback Matt Schaub be gone next season or carrying a clipboard in Houston behind another signal caller?
Turnovers and Inconsistency Under Center
Two terms that could best describe the first seven weeks of the season for the Texans would be turnovers and inconsistency, most notably at the quarterback position.
A perfect example of this was the 23-20 loss at Reliant Stadium in overtime to the surging Seattle Seahawks. To most fans in attendance or watching on television, Houston certainly appeared like it was on its way to its third victory of the season.
Holding a 20-13 lead late, the Texans only needed to continue control of the ball and eat some more time off the clock. Instead, Schaub served up a game-tying interception to Seattle’s Richard Sherman. The Seahawks would go on to win the game in the extra session, leaving many frustrated Texan fans, not to mention players and members of the coaching staff and organization.
Schaub continued his inconsistent play just two weeks ago when the Texans got steamrolled at home by the Rams.
After the University of Virginia product hurt his ankle, backup T.J. Yates came in. Things got even worse at that point, as the guy that helped direct Houston to a playoff win a season ago threw a pair of interceptions against the Rams, including one that was returned 98 yards for the score. Whether it has been Schaub or Yates, both turnovers and inconsistent play under center have contributed in a big part to Houston’s demise.
In their loss last Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, third-string QB Case Keenum got the start. While Keenum’s numbers were certainly not bad by any means (15-of-25, 271 yards, one TD), they were not enough to pull off the upset.
Heading into this weekend’s bye, Schaub has thrown nine interceptions against eight TD’s and been sacked an alarming 15 times. Yates, meantime, has two interceptions and two sacks in limited duty.
Don’t for one minute think that the quarterback position is Houston’s only area of concern as it rests and prepares for a Nov. 3 date in prime time (NBC) against the AFC South leading Indianapolis Colts.
Injuries to stars such as running back Arian Foster (went out with hamstring injury in first quarter of Kansas City game), wide receiver Andre Johnson (shin injury suffered in week three) and linebacker Brian Cushing (out for season with a left knee injury following loss to Chiefs) have played heavily on the minds of Kubiak and the organization. Although Foster and Johnson are still expected to contribute the remainder of the season, the fact that neither is near 100 percent leaves many doubters out there.
With nine games remaining, the Texans can either circle the wagons as they appeared trying to do in Kansas City, or they can simply play out the string of contests and look to next year.
If you were a betting man (or woman), what would you expect from the Texans over the next nine weeks of play?
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Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.