Sunday, December 23, 2012

Arian Foster and the Texans Not Doing So Good

These days it is pretty hard for an offense to be well balanced. It is often the case where they will be really good at either the run or pass while having a stifling defense to boot. When Wade Phillips joined the staff the team brought in some much needed pieces, and Houston got the defense it had been lacking.

The question then became what kind offense they were going to be. Necessity (injuries to Andre Johnson--the only proven receiver they had and one of the best in the game) dictated that they lean on Foster and the run as well as their new found defense.

That has worked, but Sunday's loss to the Vikings has given rise to some serious question marks, not only about the offense but Foster as well.

Foster was already having a tough day against the Vikings defense when he had to leave the game in the third quarter due to what was eventually discovered to be an irregular heartbeat. 

If your thinking that sounds serious, well--it's nothing to shake a stick at. Symptoms can be heart palpitations  dizziness, and chest pain; none of which feel good when you are trying to play in a football game.

Most of his teammates were not aware anything happened. Justin Forsett thought that something was up with his shoulder. Andre Johnson did get to speak with him:
 "It's something he's dealt with before," Johnson said. "It happened once in practice. He was more just frustrated that he couldn't be in there."
Since the end of the game the team has already released a statement with a quote from Foster:
“I’ll be fine,” Foster said.  “I’ll be okay.  It’s a very minor situation, so I’ll be okay.”
What has made Houston an intriguing team these last couple years is that prior to the emergence of Arian Foster they were one of the premier passing games in the league. Ever since Foster's break out season in 2010 he has been the key to the offensive success in Houston. 

Foster was the rushing leader in his first full season as the starter, and the following year he combined with Ben Tate to give Houston over 2100 yards rushing. In case you are wondering, that is pretty darn good.

Houston has shown in some game this season that they are still capable of huge passing games. Andre Johnson is still one of the best in the game, and Owen Daniels is one of the best pass catching tight ends. Beyond them there is not much to speak of in the Houston receiving corps. Kevin Walter has been sufficient at best; otherwise they have some promising rookies (that are still playing like rookies), but that is it.

Losses on the offensive line in the off-season have required Houston to pass more in order to relax defenses and open up some running lanes for Foster, Ben Tate, and Justin Forsett. More often than not, that it is not an issue, but there have been times were Matt Schaub has had some serious issues with accuracy and throwing to the wrong team.

When that happens the team usually leans on their awesome defense to correct for the mistakes made by the offense. Over the last couple years that hasn't been a big issue, but the injuries have piled up high enough for the Texans this year that it finally has.

In spite of the injuries and the lackluster play the Texans are 12-3 and in complete control of their destiny. Say what you want about Matt Schaub, but he still has a solid QB rating of 93.8 (ninth in the league and 8th among starters); 18 other starters have thrown more interceptions and only seven have more touchdowns than him. 

So what is the problem than if it isn't Schaub?

It's complacency. Yep. That's it. Complacency.

Think about it for a minute and it makes sense. The AFC South is one of the weakest divisions in football. The Colts were a surprise, but they are clearly not in the same class as the Texans and not a threat. They haven't had to work too hard to win the division. For the most part they've been leading the pack in the conference as well; the only real set back being the loss to New England.

With a playoff spot a certainty weeks ago and the team in control of most sceanrios leading to the No. 1 seed they had room to mess up. Knowing you have that room can make it easy to accept mistakes and even losses. They'll just make it up next week.

Remember back when Kurt Warner and the Cardinals locked up their division ridiculously early and then floundered the rest of the regular season (in their Super Bowl season)? Same thing.

These guys will be fine.

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