For the last three days, we have heard the entire city call in and blame near one-hundred percent of the Houston Texans‘ problems on Matt Schaub. Not that the criticism isn’t deserved after the last two weeks, but you get my point.
However, the one rare call or gripe about the team that isn’t Schaub related seems to be pointed at Kareem Jackson and the Texans defense — a unit that is currently ranked the second best overall in the league.
I’m not sure if fans wanting to blame Jackson is just a case of old habits dying hard or just people expecting perfection. After his nightmare of a rookie season that saw him get torched week in and week out, regardless of the competition level, he became the scapegoat for the historically bad 2010 defense. If I had to guess, the complaints against him recently seem to be a hangover from then.
I wrote last week that the Houston defense has been way better than most believe, and it has actually improved since then. Sure, the secondary has given up a couple of big pass plays, but one has to remember that a corner is going to get beat sometimes. Not every guy can be Deion Sanders in his prime. The key is that it isn’t happening consistently and numerous times per contest.
After this past week, I understand the frustration. It seems that Jackson has been flagged, for lack of a better word, by NFL referees as a guy who doesn’t turn around and look for the ball and is a pass interference target. Him knocking the lights out of a receiver about once a week hasn’t helped this, either.
I’m not blame the refs guy, but a couple of the calls on him were pretty ludicrous this past week. And if you really think that is the reason Houston lost that one, you need to open your eyes and actually watch the game.
When fans are angry, they don’t rationalize. In fact, Steph Stradley from the Houston Chronicle replied to my tweet asking why fans had a target on Jackson this week and her reply made a lot of sense:
@Zepp1978 Step 1. Unrealistic expectations. Step 2. Bad game. Step 3. Fans trot out favorite goats to blame. Step 4. Repeat. For every team.
— Stephanie Stradley (@StephStradley) September 25, 2013
For a secondary that is only allowing 157 yards per game to opposing quarterbacks while your offense can’t even get in the end zone against an average defense, the blame is definitely ill-placed.
With the top two defenses in the NFL facing off this weekend in Houston when they host the Seattle Seahawks, I’m really doubting that Kareem Jackson will be the reason if Seattle comes away with the road victory.
But who am I to tell people who to tag as their whipping boy? In fact, if it means thirty seconds less time spent on complaining about Matt Schaub, it’s quite a welcome relief.