Beyond the Boxscore
Foster & Schaub "worry" way overblown: But 3 truths do matter from Texanspreseason debut
If you're stressing over Matt Schaub throwing a pick and Arian Foster fumbling away the football in the first preseason game, you need help.
Unfortunately for the Houston Texans, so does Gary Kubiak. The Texans coach is the one who's really at fault for both Schaub's interception and Foster's featherweight grip on the football. For neither man should have ever been in the game at that point.
The scariest thing about the Texans' meaningless 26-13 no-count win over the Carolina Panthers Saturday night?
It's not Schaub flinging one into traffic, Foster holding the football like it will shatter with a tight squeeze or even the appearance of red-zone issues. No, it's Kubiak stubbornly continuing to flirt with disaster in these preseason affairs. The only way you can find trouble in the preseason is to get your stars hurt.
So why seek it out?
After Schaub went 3-for-5 — finding veteran wideout Kevin Walter, rookie wideout Keshawn Martin and tight end Owen Daniels — to lead a nice opening field-goal drive, he should have been pulling on a baseball cap. Instead Kubiak sent out the player the Texans can least afford to lose for two more series. Maybe talking about the interception on Schaub's last play of the evening will divert everyone from the fact that the quarterback coming off a crushed foot came perilously close to getting absolutely buried on the play.
Son of Bum can coach up his third stringers to dominate your third stringers as well. The Wanna-Be Bulls On Parade pitched a second-half shutout, absolutely stifling the Carolina Panthers.
Which would have been a lot worse than an INT that the most stats-obsessed fantasy geek is not even keeping track of.
What more did Kubiak want to see from Schaub in game one of the preseason? The quarterback had already rolled out on that opening drive — and he looked almost as comfortable as Schaub ever looks lumbering on the move.
Foster's one and only carry was even worse though. It's Arian Foster, the best running back in football. If his own coach doesn't know what Foster can do by now, a run in a half-empty Bank of America Stadium on Aug. 11 isn't going to make anyone see the light.
Things started so encouraging with regards to Foster too. When Ben Tate received the first handoff of the night, you figured that maybe Kubiak had decided to keep Foster where he belongs in the preseason — seen, but not hit. It makes little sense to put any dings on Foster now (did no one learn anything from last preseason from Kubiak gave Foster nine touches in the first quarter of one of these no-count affairs and effectively lost him for three real games?)
Foster should have been right next to Andre Johnson on the sidelines in Carolina, getting asked to do a TV interview in the third quarter.
That fumble will mean nothing when the Hard Knocks Miami Dolphins came into Reliant Stadium on Sept 9. Hopefully, Kubiak's preseason thinking won't mean anything either.
Here are three truths from Saturday night which will have an impact on the Texans when the games finally count:
1). Jacoby Jones will not be missed — not even a little.
There is little doubt that Jones largely failed as a receiver, but he did give the Texans a threat in the return game (yes in Baltimore when it counted the most that threat turned into a self-inflicted fatal wound, but that doesn't completely erase his ability to take one to the house).
One could legitimately wonder if the Texans might miss No. 12 with the ball in the air. Until Trindon Holliday found a seam in Carolina and brought one back 90 yards for a touchdown.
Now, everyone knows why Martin (no slouch as a kick returner himself at Michigan State) hasn't been as heavily involved in the return game in training camp as expected. The Texans have a return man.
"He's going to have to do some special things as a returner to be a part of this football team," Kubiak said of Holliday in his halftime TV interview, "and he's off to a good start."
Holliday's making the team now.
2). Wade Phillips is still the Yoda of defense.
It turns out that Son of Bum can coach up his third stringers to dominate your third stringers as well. The Wanna-Be Bulls On Parade pitched a second-half shutout, absolutely stifling the Carolina Panthers' backups to the tune of 13 total yards for a half.
More importantly, second-year linebacker Brooks Reed looked almost as good early, playing without J.J. Watt as he did when the two played off each other so well during the playoffs last winter. Reed broke in for a sack and then rookie first-round pick Whitney Mercilus followed with a sack of his own in the second half which showed off his devastating power.
The Texans racked up eight sacks overall and allowed only 137 yards for the full game. Even the guru was pleased. Phillips tweeted — yes, the Texans' 65-year-old defensive coordinator tweets, and does it well — out, "#BullsonParade -awesome."
3). T.J. Yates is pretty good.
Case Keenum's uphill battle to unseat John Beck as the Texans third quarterback will take center stage next weekend in Houston's first preseason home game, but in this one Yates showed he's no ordinary fifth-round pick. Again.
Yates looked as comfortable and confident as ever, going 8-for-12 for 89 yards and leading a 68-yard scoring drive. Last year's season stabilizer also showed a nice rhythm with Lestar Jean (two catches for 50 yards), who was only arguably outplayed by Martin (two catches for 24 yards as a starter) among the young wideouts.
There will be no quarterback controversy for the No. 2 job. Yates is more than a one-year flash. Which is good considering how Kubiak gambles with preseason disaster.