Texans Pulse: A Tough Decision
The Houston Texans are in a dire need of getting a win against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday at Reliant Stadium. There have been enough distractions surrounding the Texans, Matt Schaub and Head Coach Gary Kubiak since the loss to the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday night.
The pressure is on for the Texans to get out of this three game skid after two wins to start the season. There was an evaluation process for the Texans and the coaching staff for two days and, according to players, the intensity at practice picked up for both sides of the football.
The Quote Heard Around Houston
“No, it was a tough decision, real tough. But I feel like it’s the best thing for our football team this weekend. A lot of thought went into it, a lot of evaluations and things going on, but I thought it was the best decision going into this game.”
Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak on keeping Matt Schaub as the Starter
It was the second answer to his press conference on Wednesday and the answer media and fans have been waiting for. The Texans are moving forward, for at least this week, with Matt Schaub as their quarterback. This is the first time Kubiak has ever looked distressed like he did at the podium when discussing the situation and Schaub, describing it as a “tough decision”. Take a look.
It is simple in our minds that Matt Schaub is on a short leash on Sunday against the St. Louis Rams and there will be little room for error. The obvious next step for the Texans is T.J. Yates, but not making the move at this critical time is a bit concerning. No one will know the right answer, but Kubiak is rolling the dice one more time with Schaub on Sunday. The only thing left to do is wait and see.
What Does it say About Yates and Keenum
Despite the bad play of Schaub, T.J. Yates and Case Keenum’s names have not been mentioned one time by the coaching staff. There has been zero discussion about them taking over. Yates got some mop up snaps last Sunday against the 49ers where he really did anything but get the game over for the Texans. Is there not enough confidence in either of the two, Yates and Keenum, to make the switch? There have been fans calling for one of the two since the start of Schaub’s struggles, but zero talk from the Texans about them is an interesting dynamic to the equation.
The Loss of Owen Daniels Could Help Schaub
It is no secret at times Owen Daniels is Schaub’s security blanket and that has led to some bad outcomes in the early part of the season. Forced passes that have led to interceptions and throws short of the sticks to Daniels has been a big culprit of the Texans lack of offense. Schaub will be forced to go through his progressions and not depend on one of the few players that has been with Schaub since day one. DeAndre Hopkins, DeVier Posey and Arian Foster could take advantage of passes thrown their way in the absence of Daniels. Once again, only time will tell if this comes true.
Texans To Watch Vs. the Rams
The second tight end of the Texans offense is almost as important as the starter, and with Owen Daniels out for at least 2 months, Ryan Griffin steps into a big role for the team. He is one of the most physically gifted players the Texans have had on their roster at 6-6 and 254 lbs. His time on the field has been limited but he will be put into action quick with the Texans two tight end sets. His ability is not the issue, but if he can handle a full workload on offense. The Texans might ease him into the rotation and work more out of three wide receiver sets. Either way, Griffin will get plenty of time as a rookie and show what the future will look like for the coming years.
The emergence of Mercilus as a pass rusher has been one of the quiet stories of the season. There were questions about who would provide any rush off the edge and Mercilus has provided just that. He is still working to make his run support defense better each week, but that can easily be overlooked with him harassing quarterbacks. The defense has been a bright spot this season and adding him to what J.J. Watt is doing on the interior, Mercilus is getting what it takes to be a consistent NFL pass rusher.
He has slowly regained some of his old form and is turning into the workhorse the offense needs for the season. His vision is returning and he is making the first tackler miss at the point of attack. With the struggles of Ben Tate on holding the football, the production of Foster only becomes even more important. Foster is the one factor that keeps this offense true to it’s roots and that is running the football. Foster almost feels like the forgotten piece of the offense and the more room he gets to operate with the football will only help out his struggling quarterback.
You can follow Patrick on Twitter. He is the Editor of State of the Texans.