Mother’s Day weekend in Houston brought us the first Houston Texans Rookie mini-camp.
This wasn’t the first time for you, the fan, to see them on the field at training camp or in a preseason game. But this was the first time the rookies get to show how fast they are in Coach O’Brien’s system. Maybe get out in Houston a little and explore what this great city has to offer. And to talk to us, the media. So you, the fan, get to know them a little bit better. Or maybe not.
Lets’ hear from 1st round pick Will Fuller. How was the first day? “It was good. Just trying to get acclimated.” How does it feel to be here after putting in all the work? “It feels real good but it’s time to get some work in now. I’m finally out here, so I’m excited to get some work in.” What’s it like working with the coaching staff? “It’s great. I love everybody here.”
Hmmm. Maybe Braxton Miller had more to say? What did you think about the first rookie minicamp today? “Oh man, I love it, it’s football. I’m just happy to be here and just enhance my game, help the guys that are on the team.” Do you have a preference for where you’re going to be? “I’m just happy to be out here. I’m happy to be out here catching balls, running around and being coached by the best.”
OK then. Nick Martin perhaps? Do you prefer playing center or guard? “I played more center in the past, but whatever I can do to help the team, that’s what I’m going to do.”
And just for fun, Tyler Ervin. How comfortable do you feel catching the ball in space? “I’m comfortable, honestly, whatever coach asks me to do, whatever position, I’m just trying to come in here and play a role.”
Well, that was boring. But if they win, it doesn’t matter.
Meanwhile, In Buffalo, under Head Coach Rex Ryan, things are different. Cardale Jones said Rex might be his long lost dad. The younger brother of Rob Gronkowski, Glenn, said he was more intelligent than his brother. And undrafted free agent rookie Eric Striker shocked Buffalo nation by not kowtowing to Buffalo’s wings. “I’ve tasted a great chicken wing.” “I feel like I’ve had some great chicken wings. What else can you do to a chicken wing?” Honesty, personality and humor. What a concept.
Why do we love football? It’s the most entertaining sport on the planet. The drama of the game. The passion we and the players have for the game. The characters in the game. We are fans of them on the field, and we want to be fans of them off the field. Right now, these rookies are faceless, emotionless drones giving cliché by the book answers. At this point it might as well be 3016 and human players have been replaced by robots. Now that sounds compelling. But if they win, it doesn’t matter.
At this point, you may be thinking “What does it matter what they say to you media a$#%^&s anyways!” It’s not about us in the media. It’s about you the fan. Don’t you as a fan want to actually get to know the rookies? It’s not like the rookies came from a different planet and dealing with media is a brand new concept to them. Before being drafted these guys were playing in NCAA football games. I tried to find stories about the rookie Texans when they played in the NCAA, but Bing just couldn’t find anything. I guess they never had to talk with media after playing in sold out stadiums on national TV. Go figure.
Doesn’t it get you more excited if Will Fuller was asked, “How was your first day?” And his response was “It was great to get out there and show off my speed. Coaches want to open things up and I’m the guy for that. I think me and D-Hop are going to have some fun this year”. Now I’m ready for week 1.
If Braxton Miller was asked, “Do you have a preference for where you’re going to be?” And said, “I know I can play anywhere on the field. I saw some of the things the Texans did last year and this year is going to be better. I can play the slot. In the backfield. Maybe some tricks with me at QB. We’ll see.” Just a little honesty and personality to get Texans fans excited for the season.
Or, as Sean Pendergast told me, “The first rookie who says that they’re a ‘certified G and bona fide stud and you can’t teach that!’ will be my hero.” Me too Sean, me too.
But if they win, it doesn’t matter. The problem so far. Two 9-7 seasons is not winning.
If Coach O’Brien is going to handcuff their words and not let them be who they are, then our entertainment will not come in any other way but on Sundays when they suit up and play. Ultimately that is why we are fans. To watch them play. If the Texans win the Super Bowl this year then the boring answers and clichéd press conferences won’t even be noticed. We’ll be happy. If you “Just win baby” it doesn’t matter. Until then. Here we are now, entertain us.