Houston Texans' Core Players: Who's Better, Who's Worse Compared to 2013

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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Photo by Groovehouse
Houston... where the quarterback's mistakes being merely crippling (as opposed to fatal) net you a two game improvement.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, a collective group effort whose results are ultimately indicative of the time, effort and most of all, capability of those doing the raising.

The same can be said of a 2-14 NFL season. It takes a village to go 2-14. A village of injuries, comedically egregious mistakes, and general under-performance and suckitude. Now, to be clear, not everyone did "his part" in order to drag the Texans into the bottom of the NFL abyss. J.J. Watt had the greatest season ever for a 3-4 defensive end (topping the standard set his previous season), Chris Myers was one of the top five or six centers in football, and somehow Andre Johnson still found a way to put up over 1,400 yards receiving.

But generally speaking, everyone else was pulling the rope in the completely opposite direction of where this team was thought to be headed at the beginning of the season, especially after a 2-0 start.

So now, nine games in, the team appears to be better. Their record actually is better. So where has the improvement come from? Who, of the Texans' 2014 core, is better in 2014?

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College Football Playoff Rankings v 3.0: Judgment Day Shakeout

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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We are three weeks into the brave, new world of not only having a road to a College Football Playoff, but having some degree of transparency on that road, and let me say that I've generally enjoyed the weekly release of rankings for the playoffs so far.

It's given our radio show some decent Wednesday content, it's helped better set up the next weekend's action in college football, and from purely a logic standpoint, I think the committee has actually done a decent job of ranking teams. (It's amazing what happens when you have voters that watch all the games and actually have logical discourse amongst each other about the games, as opposed to head coaches who have their SID's fill out the ballots blindly.)

The only truly bad thing the rankings have spawned is the inane segments of debate on ESPN over things like "Should Alabama or Arizona State be number 5?? DISCUSS!!!" There are so many contrived talking points on these shows that get trumped by mere math. Such as...where Alabama ranks right now is not really relevant since, if they win out, they're in, and if they lose again, they're (likely) out. Who cares if they're 4, 5, or 6 on November 11?

Television cares, I guess. Content is king. Even bad content, it would appear.

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Brett Hartmann Files Revised NRG Turf Lawsuit

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Roy Luck
In a sports world and news cycle that move at breakneck speed, thanks to social media and the 24-hour news cycle, maintaining relevance is a pretty competitive endeavor. It takes a concerted effort to rent space in our brains these days.

That makes it all the more amazing that one of the most prominent ongoing storyline arcs of this Texans season isn't even an actual person (who presumably could make the necessary extra effort to stay front of mind). It's an inanimate object, albeit one that continues to wreak mental and possibly physical havoc upon those who ply their trade on its surface.

Indeed, in the most recent Houston Texans game, at NRG Stadium last weekend, the turf was once again a huge topic after the game, both its condition and the latest non-contact injury to be sustained on the surface.

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College Football Week 11 Recap: We Were So Close to Utter Chaos!

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Before we get to a recap of the weekend that was in college football, a brief PSA on whose opinion to listen to and whose to ignore when it comes to the expansion of the College Football Playoff from four teams to eight teams.

(SIDE BAR: It's hilarious that we haven't even been through the process for a four team playoff and everyone acts as if this glacial-speed moving decision making body is a lock to up it to eight teams in like a year or two. Keep dreaming.)

There are a lot of reasons the expansion of the playoffs makes sense. Some of them are sound reasons, like:

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College and Pro Football: This Weekend's Best Bets

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Joel Kramer via Flickr
The Texans are on a bye this weekend, so in addition to taking a little vacation time in Chicago to see my kids, normally I might take a day off (and weekend off) from dropping my "recreational purposes" football knowledge on all of you (knowledge which would have emptied your pockets with an 0-6 showing two weeks ago, I know...nevertheless).

But as they say in the movie Wall Street, money never sleeps, kid! We need to go make our $800,000 in Hong Kong gold. Or hit a six team parlay on a bunch of home dogs. Same thing.

So with all due respect to the Houston Texans, I hope they have a nice vacation, but we aren't sleeping, baby! We went 4-2 last week. Positive momentum is back!!

Let's do this (granted, I will be doing this quickly, vacation style)....

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Ryan Mallett to Start: Preparing for Change at Quarterback for the Houston Texans

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Photo by Groovehouse

This is one of those posts where I start off by giving the colloquial definition of "insanity." Not the Webster's meaning, in which it's defined as "extreme foolishness or irrationality" (although that would certainly qualify for anyone continuing to trot Ryan Fitzpatrick out at quarterback). I'm talking about the definition where we talk about "performing the same act repeatedly and expecting a different result."

If the benchmark is "competent starter," then Ryan Fitzpatrick sucks at being an NFL quarterback. If the benchmark were "suitable backup," Ryan Fitzpatrick is just fine. Unfortunately for the Texans, he's been their starter the first nine weeks.

Not only has he been mediocre to poor, but he's actually regressed over these past nine games, which is the antithesis of what's supposed to be happening with a veteran "gamer" who is supposed to be highly intelligent. Sending him out there in Week 10 to start against Cleveland would be the height of insanity.

Bill O'Brien is a lot of things. Earlier today, he provided evidence that "insane" is not one of them. Ryan Mallett will be your new Houston Texans starting quarterback.


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College Football Playoff Rankings, Our First Judgment Day Is Nigh

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Dinur
Prior to and even after the inception of a college football playoff (which would be given the creative proper noun name of College Football Playoff), the naysayers said that expanding the postseason to four teams would cheapen the regular season, that games would become less meaningful.

And as anyone with a remote sense for the weekend to weekend drama that is college football's regular season knows, that notion was and still is utterly asinine.

Of course, the people trying to sell the erosion of the regular season's significance as some sort of justification for avoiding a playoff had a vested interest in the previous system. It lined their pockets. But the runaway freight train of cash could not be stopped. The playoff is coming, and the second week of CFP rankings along with the upcoming schedule this weekend illustrate how ludicrous the notion of the regular season's being diminished is.

First, here are the latest rankings:

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Desperation Setting in With WWE and Their WWE Network?

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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Simon Q
There was a time, back in the '80s, where if you asked any of the young WWE (back then called the WWF) fans how much they would pay to be able to watch essentially any relevant moment in WWE history any time they wanted to from any computer or smart phone, the answer would have involved multiple zeroes per month and a one-time payment of a kidney or testicle.

(Actually, the answer probably would have been "What's a smart phone?" Back in the '80s a "smart phone" was one that incorporated the revolutionary touch tone technology instead of rotary dial. "Look, maw...these buttons make smart noises!!" But I digress.)

Now, in 2014, the WWE archive is available to anybody with a computer, smart phone, tablet, Xbox, whatever. Thanks to the WWE Network, an online network launched back in February, you can have access to all that great content. And for how much?

Only NINE NINETY NINE... (WWE fans know.)

So why then are subscribers to the WWE Network lagging behind forecast amounts to Wall Street? Why is the on-air talent having to shill for the network repeatedly on its broadcasts? And why is WWE having to get far more flexible with its subscription commitment?

These are all valid questions. Let's lay the groundwork...

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Adrian Peterson Will Reportedly Plead No Contest to Misdemeanor

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Flickr/Mike Morbeck
The NFL's horrific spate of off-field crimes, and the subsequent public relations disasters that came along with them (through both the sheer quantity and the violent nature of the incidents, as well as the botched handling of them by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell), are well documented.

Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, two of the top running backs in the NFL over the past decade, were the most famous of the perpetrators, Rice in the domestic abuse case against his then-fiancée, and Peterson in his child abuse case in Montgomery County involving his four-year-old son.

And while Rice's appeal to his indefinite suspension is coming up later this week, it appears that a resolution in the Peterson case may be on the horizon.

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Frustrated Andre Johnson: "I Just Need to Go to an Island or Something" (w/ AUDIO)

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Photo by Groovehouse
For Andre Johnson, 2014 and the subsequent next few seasons are about two things -- getting in the best possible position to win a Super Bowl and putting together a few more stellar individual seasons to help fortify his case for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

If you're reading this blog post, you've likely watched enough of the Houston Texans this season to know that Johnson's no closer to accomplishing the former than he has been throughout most of his Texans career. The 2014 Texans are a top-heavy, not all that deep squad that's on its way to 7-9 or 8-8 NFL purgatory.

With Ryan Fitzpatrick as the quarterback, Johnson is playing with a signal caller who is unable to attack certain key parts of the field. I mean, literally, there are portions of the field that the opposing team doesn't really have to defend. Playing offense with Fitzpatrick as your quarterback is like trying to type a term paper using a keyboard with no vowels.

And much the same way he was when he held out of OTA's and minicamp, Johnson appears to be frustrated, bordering on fed up. That much was obvious on Monday during the open locker room media session.

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