No one can tell what the hell Rick Smith is thinking when he does anything. Or fails to do anything about glaring problems. Or fails to anticipate those problems, even though they’re as obvious as the Duane Brown-shaped hole at left tackle and as painful as Derek Newton’s shredded patellar tendons. Nor can we tell what Bill O’Brien is thinking on game day, or if he’s thinking – this is, after all, the man who runs the same four plays in the same order every time, and needs his punter to tell him when to throw the red flag.
But I’m pretty sure I know what various Texans players are thinking as the latest debacle unfolds:
GAME SITUATION: 1st and 10 on our own 12 yard line, because as always our Special Teams have screwed the pooch. Maybe Tyler Ervin muffed the kickoff. Maybe he decided to run it out from seven yards deep in the end zone, because he’s the kind of guy who lives for challenges and getting gang-tackled by the entire coverage team, including the kicker, builds character. Whatever, we’re in the shadow of our own goalpost, and O’Brien radios in the traditional five-wide shotgun set.
Out wide, DeAndre Hopkins cringes as he realizes he forgot to update his living will. There’s a good chance he’s about to get paralyzed trying to make a one-handed flying catch in triple coverage on a pass that only has to travel sixteen linear feet.
In the slot, Braxton Miller wonders why he didn’t insist on remaining a quarterback. Sure, he never had that great an arm anyway, and MRIs of his shoulder look like something a preschooler drew after chugging a Red Bull, but he can at least get it in the neighborhood of his intended target more often than not. Which makes him easily the best quarterback on this godforsaken squad.
Out wide on the weak side, Some Guy is getting ready to run a meaningless pattern. Since basically every WR we have is injured, this could be anyone. In fact, we’ll just call him “Flounder.” Why Flounder? Buuuuuurp! Why not?!
In the weakside slot, Jaelen Strong is wondering if you can smoke field turf and preparing to turn in a signature zero catch, zero yard performance.
C.J. Fiedorowicz is also there somewhere, because who else is going to catch the panicked dumpoff over the middle? Stephen Anderson? Ryan Griffin? They’re all basically the same guy anyway, and they’re all trying to figure out how to tell each other apart. Besides, they’re all concussed at the moment.
Deshaun Watson is thinking fondly back to his college days, when student interns would flash big posterboards with pretty pictures on them to tell him what play to run. Admittedly “do Deshaun Watson-y things” isn’t technically a play, but they sure were pretty.
Lamar Miller is on the sideline consulting with his spiritual adviser, knowing that the inevitable incompletion means he’ll have to take a handoff, after which approximately 2,000 pounds of angry defensive linemen will paste him from at least four different angles three yards behind the line of scrimmage.
Jay Prosch got lost on the way to the sideline and is currently locked in a broom closet somewhere. The NRG Stadium janitors are required to stock three days’ worth of emergency rations in every closet for just this situation.
Tom Savage is holding a clipboard on the sideline, trying to determine if he looks more like Nic Cage or Jeremy Piven. This is his version of a Zen koan – should he ever figure it out, he will instantly achieve enlightenment.
Brock Osweiler is in Denver, making more money than any of the offensive linemen while being third on the depth chart.
Xavier Su’a-Filo, Kendall Lamm, Chris Clark, Nick Martin, and Breno Giacomini are contemplating the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. According to Heisenberg, knowing a particle’s position means not knowing its direction and vice versa. The Texans’ offensive line embodies this – if you know where they are, you have no idea where they’re going, except it’ll be nowhere useful.
Up next: Second and Ten.