Game Time: Houston Texans -- Business Is Good (plus my stab at a 53-man roster)

richcover 9_2.jpg
Playoffs? Are you kidding me? Playoffs!?
At their core, the Houston Texans are a business, just like any other business, and they have customers -- you, the season ticket holders. The Texans have been above .500 for a total of eleven weeks in their history. I mean, let's face it, for the better part of eight years, if the Texans were a restaurant then Bob McNair's bistro (let's call it "Bob's on Kirby") has been serving you the football equivalent of salmonella.

Having had the privilege of hosting a radio show in Houston for over three years and having experienced three full football seasons (and having previewed this season for this week's Houston Press), I think I've heard nearly every flavor of complaint about the Houston Texans.

You have the "finishing games" lament -- "If they're close at the end of the game, you can count on them doing something stupid."

You also have the old "Here we go again" standby -- "See, they're getting killed at the line of scrimmage. SAME OLD TEXANS."

You have the more global complaints about sales tactics -- "I can't believe they're making me pay for these preseason games. This is bullshit!!"

All various flavors of "We've had enough!!" You've spoken loud and clear -- in e-mails, on the phones, on Twitter, drunk in bars...there's only one problem -- you're all full of shit and I've got the numbers to prove it.

If Texan Fan on the whole were as disgruntled as he or she claims to be, they would do what any self-respecting consumer would do -- they'd stop consuming. However, according to a story in the Houston Chronicle today, the Texans have sold 64,355 season tickets, breaking the record set in 2008 when they sold 64,047.

Now, I understand those numbers are based partially in the upward trend the team has been on the past three seasons (granted, the trajectory of that slope is about two degrees) and partially on the caliber of opponents coming to Reliant this fall (about as compelling a home schedule as you'll see), but I just want to point out that while all of you are shaking your fists at the sky after each Steve Slaton fumble or each Gary Kubiak instant-replay brain fart, the turnstile keeps spinning. And faster.

kris-brown-texans-20071104_zaf_cm3_060.jpg
Kris Brown: Not on the roster

So if you've been a season ticket holder for any period of time, just know that you do have a voice -- it's called your checkbook. I'm not saying don't complain, every business deserves feedback. Just don't tell me how sick of it you are, because apparently more people than ever want in on the illness.

Now, with that said, I do want to help make the final preseason game a worthwhile event, never an easy task when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are prominently involved. The bad news about Thursday's game is that, unless you are a sick degenerate gambling fiend, the game and final score thereof mean nothing.

The good news is that most of us are every day, average Houstonians, fighting to keep our jobs and deal with the daily stress of life. The Buccaneers game gives us an outlet to watch someone else do that for a change. The final 53-man roster will be decided after the game; most of it has been decided already, but it's a chance for a few players to make one final push to secure a spot in the first 53 or extend their stay by landing on the practice squad.

So here is my swing at what the final 53-man roster will look like heading into the Colts game (NOTE: Brian Cushing's four-game suspension means that he will not be on the initial 53-man roster.):

I always like to start with the locks to make the roster and fill in from there. Here are the guys who either won't play on Thursday or most of whom will play sparingly so they make it to the Indianapolis game on September 12 healthy:

OFFENSE

Quarterback (2) - Matt Schaub, Dan Orlovsky
Running Back (3) - Arian Foster, Steve Slaton, Jeremiah Johnson
Fullback (1) - Vonta Leach
Wide Receiver (4) - Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter, Jacoby Jones, David Anderson
Tight End (4) - Owen Daniels, Joel Dreessen, James Casey, Garrett Graham
Offensive Tackle (3) - Eric Winston, Duane Brown, Rashad Butler
Guard (4) - Wade Smith, Antoine Caldwell, Mike Briesel, Kasey Studdard
Center (1) - Chris Myers

DEFENSE

Defensive End (4) - Mario Williams, Antonio Smith, Connor Barwin, Jesse Nading
Defensive Tackle (3) - Shaun Cody, Amobi Okoye, Earl Mitchell
Linebacker (4) - DeMeco Ryans, Zac Diles, Daryl Sharpton, Kevin Bentley
Cornerback (4) - Glover Quin, Kareem Jackson, Brice McCain, Sherrick McManis
Safety (4) - Bernard Pollard, Eugene Wilson, Troy Nolan, Dominique Barber

SPECIALISTS

Kicker (1) - Neil Rackers
Punter (1) - Matt Turk

So that's 43 players who are a lock to make the team, in my estimation. Filling in by starting from the top down, I'm going to start by placing John David Booty off to the side. Kubiak historically hasn't put three quarterbacks on the roster (last season being the exception when Rex Grossman and Orlovsky were kept as backups), so I'm going to fill in other areas of need before sliding Booty into the QB "three hole."

Chris Henry has not been able to translate practice success into success on the field at running back; however, he's a solid special-teamer. We need those. Let's add him. Brings us to 44.

Texans will need a fifth wide receiver. My 1560 colleague Lance Zierlein has a theory that they're trying to sneak Dorin Dickerson onto the practice squad by keeping him off the field the last couple games so they can keep both Dickerson and Andre Davis. I'm going to guess the combination of the likelihood of those efforts being unsuccessful (i.e. Dickerson would get picked up by someone if the Texans P-Squadded him) and Andre Davis' salary or health mean that Dickerson makes the team. That's 45. Eight more.

Four tight ends is plenty, even with the injury history of the group the Texans have. As a corollary to the tight end position, I know Gary Kubiak would like to keep Joel Dreessen from having to long snap, so let's put long snapper Jon Weeks on the team. 46. Let's also add another offensive lineman -- going with the "when in doubt, go with an inexpensive rookie from Colorado State" corollary, add guard Shelley Smith. 47.

(It's starting to look like Booty may make this team.) Need at least one more defensive tackle. Frank Okam may finally be reaching a place where talent meets motor. Add him. 48. The staff really likes Malcolm Sheppard; we'll put him to the side for a moment.

Linebacker, they need a couple more. Add Xavier Adibi and Isiah Greenhouse. That's 50. Need one more corner, at least. Antuan Molden makes the team, despite having done nothing in two years. Congrats! 51. So the final two spots come down to a third QB (Booty), another offensive lineman (Stenavich? White?), another body on the defensive line (Sheppard, maybe DelJuan Robinson), or another corner (Jacques Reeves).

I'll eliminate offensive line as a possibility because they've got a few tackles in town on speed dial they can call in a pinch (Ephraim Salaam, Charles Spencer). That leaves third QB, d-line, and corner. I'm going to say that the Texans reward Sheppard for a good camp and keep Reeves over a third QB (no Booty this season).

So my final 53 looks like this --

OFFENSE (25)

Quarterback (2) - Matt Schaub, Dan Orlovsky
Running Back (4) - Arian Foster, Steve Slaton, Jeremiah Johnson, Chris Henry
Fullback (1) - Vonta Leach
Wide Receiver (5) - Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter, Jacoby Jones, David Anderson, Dorin Dickerson
Tight End (4) - Owen Daniels, Joel Dreessen, James Casey, Garrett Graham
Offensive Tackle (3) - Eric Winston, Duane Brown, Rashad Butler
Guard (5) - Wade Smith, Antoine Caldwell, Mike Briesel, Kasey Studdard, Shelley Smith
Center (1) - Chris Myers

DEFENSE (25)

Defensive End (4) - Mario Williams, Antonio Smith, Connor Barwin, Jesse Nading
Defensive Tackle (5) - Shaun Cody, Amobi Okoye, Earl Mitchell, Frank Okam, Malcolm Sheppard
Linebacker (6) - DeMeco Ryans, Zac Diles, Daryl Sharpton, Kevin Bentley, Xavier Adibi, Isiah Greenhouse
Cornerback (6) - Glover Quin, Kareem Jackson, Brice McCain, Sherrick McManis, Jacques Reeves, Antuan Molden
Safety (4) - Bernard Pollard, Eugene Wilson, Troy Nolan, Dominique Barber

SPECIALISTS (3)

Kicker (1) - Neil Rackers
Punter (1) - Matt Turk
Long Snapper (1) - Jon Weeks

Subject to change, obviously, after Friday.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m weekdays on the "Sean & John Show" and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCabinasian.


My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest

Now Trending

Houston Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...