By Maxwell Morgan
The Texans most successful season in franchise history came to a close Sunday, as the New England Patriots defeated the Texans 41-28 in the Divisional Round of the playoffs at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. For any NFL fan, losing in the playoffs is devastating. All Superbowl hopes and dreams are crushed in a single afternoon or evening. Oh how Texans fans wanted to crush Tom Brady and the Pats, but through missed opportunities and poor quarterback play there was no crushing to be had. Which leads to the most important question; How do the Texans improve to make that next step towards winning a Superbowl?
The main concern is at the quarterback position. Quarterback Matt Schaub, did not have what it took to win that game. Costly interceptions, poor throws, and the inability to make any plays with his feet killed the Texans. Anytime Schaub is under pressure, down he goes. And God forbid he scrambles out of the pocket. It seems he only feels comfortable throwing the ball away when outside the pocket. While watching him there is always a sense of impending doom. When is the interception coming? It seems Schaub just does not have that “It” factor, so what do the Texans do to fix this issue?
Running Matt Schaub out of town is not an option. Firstly, he’s guaranteed millions, so Bob McNair will not simply cut the guy. Secondly, where are the Texans going to find a better quarterback? Back-up T.J. Yates? Sorry, I don’t think he is the answer. Frankly, I thought it was idiotic how many people were clamoring for Yates in the third quarter of the loss in New England. You don’t just change the QB 18 games into the season. At that point you are riding what you have. I wonder what peoples fascination with Yates is. The offense was far from explosive last year when T.J. was under center. I’m not saying Yates is crap, but he still needs to beat Matt Schaub for the starting job before I’ll be convinced.
So how about a Free Agent QB? Alex Smith? He was considered a huge bust until Jim Harbaugh resurrected his career, only to pull the plug a couple months ago for the dynamic Colin Kaepernick. No thanks. Matt Flynn? Are you kidding? He lost the starting QB job to Russell Wilson. Wilson is no slouch, but considering that the Seahawks gave Flynn big money to come to Seattle, you have to think they gave Flynn every opportunity to win that job over a rookie. No thanks. Ok, well who else is out there? Jason Campbell? He looked awful for the Bears when Cutler went down. No. Sanchez? Laughable. Tebow? God no. There is not a Free Agent out there that I believe can come in and make this team better. Say what you want to say about Schaub, we’ve won quite a few games with him over the past two years, and he’s comfortable in the system.
The best option is to draft a quarterback in the middle of the draft. Someone that Kubiak can mold into the Texans QB of the future. I don’t particularly like the top quarterbacks coming out in the 2013 draft, so trading up to take a QB wouldn’t be wise in my eyes. It is not the popular thing to do, but sticking with Schaub for the time being is the best option this team has.
Besides drafting a young QB, the Texans need to beef up their receiver corps. and give Schaub some more weapons. Posey, Jean, and Martin, all seem to be potential threats, but they have not had any sort of consistency all season. They need to be better. The offense is just not that dynamic unless EVERYTHING is clicking.
Lets not lay all the blame on Schaub. There were several dropped balls by receivers. Most crushing being the James Casey drop that would have led to an opening touchdown after Danielle Manning’s 94 yard return. Instead we kicked a field goal, which make no mistake about it, was a huge victory for the Patriots. You have to score touchdowns to beat Tom Brady and the Patriots. The team executed poorly when it mattered most. Not to mention, Gary Kubiak has the tendency to be more bland than water crackers with his play calling. Can we stretch the field on 3rd and long? Instead of dump off’s under the first down marker. The goal is to get past the marker, buddy.
It was a solid season, but the way the Texans fizzled out at the end, blew it. They should have locked up a first round bye easily. Instead they dropped 3 of 4 in the final month going from 11-1 to 12-4. And they ended 13-5 after going 1-1 in the playoffs. This team has a lot of really solid pieces making up the roster, and they should continue the success they had this season into the next season. The return of Brian Cushing will be probably the best sight for sore eyes. The Texans were never able to replace him, and the defense suffered massively as a result. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix to the quarterback situation, so we ride Schaub out, and hope Kubiak can find and polish that diamond in the rough. So as we say almost every year here in Houston, next year…