I remember a couple of years ago when the Houston Texans were rolling on a four game winning streak and simply crushing their opponents. It looked like the sky was the limit and nothing short of a big injury could stop them. We all know now that this is exactly what happened when it was slowly revealed that Matt Schaub would have season ending surgery on his foot.
The reason I bring this up is because the way that the team keeps everything so close to the vest reminds me a lot of how they addressed the media in regards to the knee problems Pro Bowl left guard Wade Smith is having. They keep making it sound like it isn’t a big deal, but you get the sense that there is something much bigger going on behind the scenes.
Losing your starting quarterback trumps losing a solid member of your offensive line every time, no question. But if this injury to Smith causes him to miss significant time, all the warm fuzzies Texans fans have been getting the past couple of weeks about their chances at a Super Bowl run could hit its first big speed bump of the year.
Smith struggled more than usual in 2012, as did most of the Texans offensive line. He was selected to the Pro Bowl, but even the most ardent fan felt that it was a bit more based off of reputation than performance, something that is becoming ever more consistent with the Pro Bowl. But just as we saw last season, Ben Jones isn’t ready to be a starting guard in the NFL, and he’s the one who would be thrust into the starting role should Smith be out for a prolonged duration.
When asked by local media today about his knee, Smith didn’t have a lot of answers. He indicated that he would know more soon and if surgery would be a necessity. This would be a huge blow to the Texans running attack which, as we learned in the final quarter of the 2012 season, is what makes this offense go. When the running game don’t work, the passing game don’t work.
Hopefully, I’m reading this one wrong. Lord knows I’m wrong more often than not when it comes to injuries and predicting how long someone will be out. But worst case scenario is Jones sliding into the starting spot on Week 1 of the regular season.
More updates as they become available.
UPDATE: The team has just traded wide receiver Jeff Maehl to the Eagles for guard Nate Menkin. If that doesn’t further validate the concerns on Smith, I’m not sure what does.
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 listen to his Texans Luv Ya Steel Blue podcast here.