As the Houston Texans continue to rack up the wins, despite the loss of key pieces to the puzzle, analysts and football fans alike are beginning to take notice. Needless to say, it is hard to ignore this year’s Texans team who is 9-3 despite losing their starting outside-linebacker, starting running-back, starting and backup quarterbacks, starting wide-receiver, and now starting punter. For any team in the league to overcome such adversity and still have a firm grasp on their division is beyond comprehension. Yet the Texans have done just that this season.
This week’s win against the Atlanta Falcons was, perhaps, the team’s greatest victory of the season thus far. I will admit that even I was skeptical as to how well the Texans would do behind the leadership of a rookie, fifth-round, backup-to-the-backup quarterback. However, T.J. Yates finished the game with no interceptions, a passing TD, a win for his team, and most importantly the hearts of the fans.
Now that the ethereal feeling has worn off let us take a look at news surrounding the Texans this week:
- Looking to secure the depth chart at the quarterback position the Texans released QB Kellen Clemens to the waiver wire and signed veteran QB Jeff Garcia. Garcia will play behind Jake Delhomme who is currently the #2 quarterback for the Texans. He played under the tutelage of QB Coach Greg Knapp at San Francisco.
- NFL.com keeps the Texans at #7 in this week’s power rankings. While it would be easy to argue that the Texans should have dropped a spot or two with the loss of the starting and backup quarterbacks, rookie QB T.J. Yates did a fine job of keeping the Texans high in the rankings. Defeating one of the NFC’s best teams (with the second best rushing defense in the league) was impressive for the hobbled Texans who prepare to visit the Cincinnati Bengals (#8 in the power rankings) this week.
- Speaking of Yates, the rookie quarterback is up for the Pepsi Rookie of the Week Award this week. He became just the fourth fifth-round pick rookie quarterback to win his debut game since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. The other nominees are outside linebacker Justin Houston of the Kansas City Chiefs, middle linebacker Colin McCarthy of the Tennessee Titans, quarterback Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers and quarterback Christian Ponder of the Minnesota Vikings.
- Texans players are blaming the puzzle-piece field for some of this season’s injuries. Reliant stadium uses real grass set atop pallets to comprise the Texans playing field. The problem is that where the pallets meet there is often a rise or bump in the grass. This unevenness and continuity problem can cause tripping which, in turn, can lead to injuries to the knees, hamstrings, ankles, etc.
- Hamstring injuries, as it turns out, seem to be one of the key contributors to the Texans woes this season. This week, while running a route, WR Andre Johnson came up hobbled again. Johnson had just returned after missing six games to a hamstring injury earlier this season. This week’s injury was to his left hamstring, as opposed to his previous injury to the right hamstring, and is now listed as day-to-day. Punter Brett Hartman was injured in this week’s game when he went down, untouched, on a fourth quarter punt. Medical evaluations determined that he tore his ACL and will miss the remainder of the season. The Texans will be looking for a new punter and it is rumored that they will be bringing back former Texan Matt Turk to finish the season.