It’s time to get your jokes about Matt Schaub‘s ear ready, Houston Texans fans.
It has become somewhat of a myth in Houston to talk about how then-Denver Broncos linebacker Joe Mays was fined and suspended last year for a roughing the passer call that cost Schaub a piece of his lower earlobe. That noise is growing ever louder now that Mays is scheduled to have a free agent workout with the team today in town.
For a team as thin at inside linebacker as they are, any hard feelings about said hit from last season will have to take a back seat.
It was somewhat of a head-scratcher when the Texans finished the 2013 NFL Draft without picking up any linebacker help on the inside. After watching the way they got abused there in the playoffs, it would seem to be reason enough to want an upgrade or two at the position.
Brian Cushing is coming off of a serious injury and, as good as he looks in his rehab, nothing is for certain. Relying on Darryl Sharpton has proven to be somewhat of a joke thus far, as the guy seems to hurt himself any time he bends over to tie his shoes. Oh, and, what a surprise — he’s already hurt in training camp.
With all of the attention of how weak the team is inside, most go to the argument of outside linebacker Brooks Reed making the transition to the inside.
Sure, it could work, and sadly he is probably the second-best inside linebacker they have on the active roster right now and he’s never played the position. But, in my opinion, he is best suited opposite Whitney Mercilus on the outside.
So forget about anything that happened last year and if Mays is healthy and looking for a contract that is affordable, I say bring him in.
Only fans make a big deal over what kind of hit is “dirty” or if it was meant with an intent to injure. A lot of the times, it depends only on a fan’s personal opinion of the player. But when you’re moving as fast as these guys and turning your body into a missile, sometimes a hit goes down in a way it isn’t supposed to.
Do I think the Mays hit was dirty? Possibly. It was one half of back-to-back roughing the passer calls, so the suspicion is founded. Does that mean that the Texans, who are desperate for help in the middle despite what you’ve heard otherwise, should pass on Mays? They’d be crazy to.
By no means am I saying Joe Mays is the answer. He lost his job last year due to consistently relaying the defensive calls from the sideline incorrectly. Then, he broke his leg and spent the rest of the season in rehab. He’s not the best in coverage and his tackling can make you want to kick a puppy now and then. He is the very definition of a guy that should be a free agent when camp starts. He’s good enough to play at this level, but not a starter on over half of the rosters in the NFL.
Houston, unfortunately, is on the latter half.
Mays will not be a guy who comes in and makes you think DeMeco Ryans is back, but he’s not Bradie James, either. He’s still relatively young and he won’t cost much. As for any bad blood between him and Schaub, I think no. 8 would tell you that a certain kick from last Thanksgiving was more dirty than anything Mays did to him.
This is the best move for the team and if it doesn’t happen, you’re talking about staring at a full season with Tim Dobbins as a starter. That is, unless Sharton finds whatever miracle cure the Baltimore Ravens have found.
Mike Kerns is a Houston Texans writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” his page on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also subscribe to his Texans podcast on iTunes.