Sunday, August 17, 2014



Written by: Craig Shelton
Date posted: 8//2014

It was a good all-around effort by the Houston Texans on Saturday night at NRG Stadium in their 32-7 preseason victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

With "effort" being the operative word, what we witnessed in the Texans' Week #2 pre-season victory was the "best and worst" of what effort can do for an NFL roster. The positives and negatives were both easily identifiable in all phases on Saturday night. From the serviceable improved play at QB from Ryan Fitzpatrick and Case Keenum to the improved play at safety, and with the special teams units excelling, the  steel-blue halo shined brilliantly over the Texans' sideline. 

Not to be outdone,  the forces of evil made its expected and always untimely dreaded appearance and for the second week in a row took the form of a hive of bone-headed penalties leaving the viewing experience paralyzed at times. 


The road from a 32 point loss to a 25 point win (a 57 point-differential) in victory a week later, reflects dedication to the simplest of fundamental requirements from any NFL coaching staff. Effort! 

Is it possible that much of the effort put forth on Saturday night by the Texans stem from the accountability it appears Bill O'Brien may be installing deep inside the Texans players and coaches? 

We'd like to think so, right?

Is it the fact that the Texans stunk the joint up about as bad as you can stink up a joint vs. Arizona, they refocused in the spirit of professional accountability and pride and subsequently kicked Atlanta's ass up and down Bob's barn to the tune of 32-7? 

We'd like to think so.


Young NFL teams historically have struggled in situations where emotion conflicts with the disciplined focus needed to get the maximum achievement from a team’s maximum effort. A case in point is the Texans porous "effort" in their embarrassing Week #1 pre-season loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

The Arizona loss was followed by a week of roster moves like scat-back, Dennis Johnson, being cut and 10-year veteran, Ronnie Brown, being added at running back. Adding Brown was a double-play for first year head coach, Bill O'Brien, allowing him to add veteran depth to compete in the backfield, and simultaneously send a strong message of accountability in the area of pass protection for his running back troops.

When you add an accelerated media focus and pressure being applied to Bill O'Brien and his coaching staff, as well as individual players like Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB),  Whitney Merciless (OLB), DJ Swearinger (S), Derrick Newton (RT), and Brandon Harris (CB) to name a few, the tone was set for a redemptive atmosphere in the Texans' locker room. A tone that cleanly held up throughout the week leading up to the Texans' Saturday night match-up with the Falcons.


Consistency is the next phase of community accomplishment for Bill O'Brien's first-year roster. It's via the path of consistency that young Texans players on both sides of the ball, in all three phases of the game, will mature to today's winning level of "penalty assisted offensive drive" NFL football. 

Taking into accountability the manner the NFL has become legislated on the field, it's paramount that DJ Swearinger (and others) mature in their ability to decipher through the code of confusion that is the cause and affect of their consistent mis-diagnosis of "focused and disciplined maximum effort" and foolish behavior on the football field. 

Let's face it, you have to play "cautiously-aggressive-intelligent-football" in today's NFL to close out games and win.   

Week #2 of the 2014 NFL pre-season was a huge success, but keep this in mind Texans fans, Atlanta is a bad (soft) football team coming off a 4-12 season in 2013.

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