Since I’ve been covering the NFL, I don’t remember a team having as bad a two week stretch as the Houston Texans did (well technically three weeks, but it was two games).
In one week they lost their starting quarterback Matt Schaub in a blowout win, and the next game backup Matt Leinart breaks his collarbone in the second quarter after playing well.
They now turn to TJ Yates, a rookie fifth round draft pick out of North Carolina, to lead them in the playoffs. Sitting at 8-3, the Texans are tied for the best record and are riding a five game win streak.
If there was ever a team that you would feel comfortable with a rookie QB, it would be the Texans. They have the first ranked defense, the second ranked scoring defense, and the third ranked run defense.
They are also second in point differential behind the 11-0 Green Bay Packers.
Head coach Gary Kubiak said Yates is picking up the offense faster than “any QB I’ve ever seen.” He could be blowing smoke, but that doesn’t seem like Kubiak’s style.
Curiously but not surprisingly, the Texans worked out several QBs this week. They landed on former Panthers and Browns QB Jake Delhomme to serve as Yates’ backup.
I actually believe this is more of an insurance policy than an eventual take over plan. Delhomme will remain the backup so long as Yates does not implode.
Local radio has been interesting. Many fans feel the Texans will bow out in the first round, and many believe there will be a Jeff Hostetler situation and Yates will just keep them in games by taking care of the ball, letting the run game and defense win playoff games.
I actually believe it is somewhere in the middle. I believe they can win a home game in the playoffs (depending on who they play obviously), but I’m no where near believing they can win it all.
Texans fans need to remember Hostetler spend several years as a backup to Phil Simms before taking over that year—Yates is a rookie.
Unfortunately they will have to wait another year to compete for the Lombardi trophy, but they are well on their way.