Texans-Ravens: Five Things to Watch

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Photo by Marco Torres
The Texans face a tougher test this week.
"If the Texans are 3-3 after the first six games, then we'll be happy." -- Pretty much every same Texans fan

The statement is a classic example of how the ebb and flow of a season can recalibrate expectations. The Texans are set up to be 3-3 after this Sunday (7-1/2 point underdog traveling to Baltimore), and after getting off to a 3-1 start, including a "hey, this feels like real football!" win over the Steelers, 3-3 would probably feel like a bit of a letdown.

But that's exactly what the Texans are staring at this weekend as they head to Baltimore without their most talented players on each side of the ball (Andre Johnson, Mario Williams). Five quick things to keep an eye on Sunday:

5. Brooks Reed and his "high motor"
NFL draft types have all sorts of cool little dork phrases for telling us guys are good players. Fluid hips, soft hands, quick feet. The phrase that gets attached to Brooks Reed is "high motor," basically meaning that he goes a thousand miles an hour all of the time. The Texans will need every bit of that this weekend in their first full game without Mario Williams. I will say this -- of all the Texans' Pro Bowl- or near-Pro Bowl-caliber players on defense, while Mario may be the most physically gifted, I suspect there is the shortest dropoff from Mario to whoever is behind Mario (in this case, Reed) compared to, say, Johnathan Joseph, Brian Cushing, DeMeco Ryans, Antonio Smith or Danieal Manning.

4. Jacoby Jones having an actual "win" that we can see
Gary Kubiak on Jones's performance against the Raiders: "He played a lot of plays, 70-plus plays him and Kevin (Walter). As I said, we got pressured a lot so a lot of things we were doing, we were having to protect and let he and Kevin go one-on-one with their secondary. He had some wins where we didn't protect as well or didn't get him the ball as well and sometimes we protected well and we didn't get the win."

Actuality, part 1: Jones had one catch for nine yards, and was targeted eleven times. (FUN FACT: The next lowest catch/target ratio last week for receivers with 10 or more targets was 50 percent. Jacoby was at nine percent.)
Actuality, part 2: The Texans traded a draft pick for 85-year-old Derrick Mason this week.
Actuality, part 3: There is no way Kubiak believes what he said. Impossible.



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7 comments
Eric S
Eric S

It seems like the Texans should be worse without Mario, but I think there's a lot of potential for another example of the Ewing Theory. The Texans have an improving defense thanks to new talent and a new scheme. A couple more young guys with everything to gain from the opportunity could really spark them to something great. 

Championshipvinyl73
Championshipvinyl73

my gawd, Kubes wants Holliday to be Danny Woodhead so bad I am surprised he hasn't sent him to Sammy Sosa's skin pigment doctor. If Denver is dangling B Lloyd out there for a 3-5th round draft pick, I say grab ahold of him like grim death. Hell send Jacoby "#winning?" Jones to Denver and a 4th rounder for him. As for "super" Mario, he has been average at best until now, a contract year, it isn't just Wade's scheme. Cut him a fat guarenteed money contract and watch him put it back on cruise control. If we can manage to win the division with Reed and Brayman (sp) spelling Mario, I say let him sign somewhere else and re-up Foster and look for a natural OLB pass rusher in the draft or free agency. Jacoby doesn't make another teams roster if the Texans cut him, and THIS is what we are pinning our hopes to?

I gravy-trained off Jim Rome
I gravy-trained off Jim Rome

did you mean "sane fan" in your lead?

and couldn't resist a backhanded diss of Mario, could you?  I probably agree that the falloff to Brooks Reed on an individual level is likely not that great, but I do feel Mario made everyone else better b/c of the way teams accounted for him.  Brooks will have to show that a) he is a disruptive force as an individual b) he can help the D perform as well as a whole – the latter may be tougher. But assuming he plays fairly well, we should be ok.

Early Cuyler
Early Cuyler

The fact that Ray Lewis is a free man amazes me.  I still don't understand how he beat that murder rap.  I remember it was not long after the Super Bowl incident that MTV went to Ray's house for an episode of Cribs, and he had a body outlined in tape on his floor.  And Plaxico gets two years for shooting himself.  Amazing.

I gravy-trained off Jim Rome
I gravy-trained off Jim Rome

sorry, the career numbers prove that Mario has been much better than average, as much as most hate to admit. and he was poised for a monster year, getting better every week

DarronB
DarronB

They  went to court and got a result. Thats how the law works. I bet you have never done anything wrong. 

Ribalding
Ribalding

"Yeah sure, but Ray Lewis is a good Krishtun.  Even fer a nigra'."

-  Rick Perry.

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