Rick Smith’s Best-Laid Plans

Sometime back in the darkest days of the George W. Bush years, a meme was making the rounds on the Left side of the Internet: “ZOMG! The US military has a plan to invade CANADA!!!!”

canadian-bikini-bottom

At the time, I took it as yet more evidence of the depressing depths to which our political discourse had sunk.  The United States is a real country with a functioning military — of course we have a plan to invade Canada, just as Canada, a real country with a functioning military, has a plan to invade us.  Any country more serious than, say, Luxembourg has plans to invade all its neighbors, plus plans to fight off invasion from America, Russia, Mars, and zombies.[i] “Having a plan” is not the same thing as “having a reasonable expectation of executing that plan,” let alone “really really wanting to.”  Planning for highly improbable scenarios like a Canadian invasion, a zombie outbreak, etc. is how military officers get practice doing important parts of their jobs.  Breathe easy, Saskatchewan — the Marines won’t be storming ashore anytime soon.[ii]

In fact, I thought all large organizations behaved this way.  Banks “plan” to get robbed all the time, right?  Not that they really expect to – you know, given how extensive and expensive their security is – but they’d be fools not to have a contingency plan in place, right?  I mean… right?

The Texans make me wonder.  Professional football is pretty much the definition of a contingency-dependent business.  Teams expect their players to get injured and miss time.  So why do Rick Smith and Co. seemingly have no plan at all for replacing Deshaun Watson?  Or anybody else for that matter?

Consider Rick’s recent free agent moves.  On November 3rd – that’s five days ago – he signed QB Matt McGloin, another graduate of “quarterback guru” Bill O’Brien’s ashram.  But before McGloin could even start deciphering the terminology of BOB’s legendarily complex offense, the Texans cut him in order to sign… Josh Johnson.  In case you’re wondering who Josh Johnson is, don’t worry, the rest of the league is wondering the same thing – he hasn’t suited up for an NFL team since 2013 and last attempted a pass in 2011.  Remember 2011?  Back when Adele ruled the airwaves, Green Lantern was on the big screen, and hair-gelled android Mitt Romney was thinking about maybe running for President?

This is not the work of a man who has carefully considered a basic part of his job.

Current starter Tom Savage has yet to play six straight quarters of professional football without getting hurt.  He’s been on injured reserve more times than he switched colleges.  The dude’s fragile, is what I’m trying to say, and there’s a very good chance that the backup, whoever that might be, will be on the field this Sunday.  A general manager who knew what he was doing would want the backup – again, whoever he is – to get in as much practice as he possibly can.

With Duane Brown, too, Rick seemingly flew by the seat of his pants.  Risking injury by playing a guy one game, against the team he’s about to get traded to, is, upon further reflection, not the Rick Smithiest thing a GM could possibly do.  The Rick Smithiest thing to do is what Rick Smith actually did, which is trotting out the combination of Chris Clark, Kendall Lamm, and Julien Davenport at the second most important position in football and saying “we’re good.”  I’m not saying the dead certainty he’d be running for his life every game definitely blew Deshaun Watson’s knee out, but I’m not not saying it either.

And so it goes down the line.  J.J. Watt was coming off two back surgeries; do you think he might miss another game or two?  Nor is Jadeveon Clowney the paragon of long-term health.  Shouldn’t we have, I dunno, signed a D-lineman or two in the offseason, when a few guys who aren’t Lamarr Houston might’ve been available?  Ditto cornerback, where Kevin Johnson’s walking boot, Jonathan Joseph’s festering corpse, and Kareem Jackson were penciled in to start?  You think maybe there were some depth issues there?  Ditto inside linebacker, where only the magic of discount steroids kept Brian Cushing’s 947-year-old thrice-repaired knees from starting again.

Rick Smith evidently saw none of this.  This is not a man with a plan.  We’re going 3-13 this year.  Can we finally fire this fucking guy?

 

[i] No offense to Luxembourg.

[ii] Wonder if anyone will get that joke?

Monday Wrap-Up

As usual, it’s time to see how our predictions went.  I was sicker than sick and in bed all weekend, so I’m going on internet reports and the box score here.

Our prediction: Texans 17, Seahawks 35.

RESULT: Texans 38, Seahawks 41

Verdict: NO.  We were up until the very end, when the defense surrendered a last-second touchdown, because of course it did.  Like every team in the BOB era, we beat the bad teams and lose to the good ones.  The Seahawks are good.  Gee, ya think they’re going to go to Jimmy Graham in crunch time?  Mike Vrabel apparently didn’t.

Our prediction: “Mike Vrabel will once again blitz like Rommel on speed”

RESULT: Looks that way, with predictable results.  Russell Wilson’s pass chart shows lots of short throws for easy completions, especially on the right side.

Verdict: YES.

Our prediction: “Bill O’Brien will make a potentially game-changing boneheaded call sometime in the third quarter”

RESULT:  This one was a gimme.  BOB always makes a stupid call in the third quarter.  He’s BOB, and that, along with “handing the ball to the smallest RB on the roster on fourth-and-inches,” is just what BOB does.

Verdict: YES.

Our prediction: “Duane Brown will play.”

RESULT: Yep.  Though he might well be back on a plane to Seattle tomorrow.  That would be a fairly Rick Smithy thing to do – play the guy once, risking injury while not shaking off much rust, against the team you’re about to trade him to…

Can the Rick Smithiness of a decision be quantified?  I don’t know how the Pro Football Focus guys do their statistical jujitsu – I was an English major – but we can at least get a rough comparison going.  Here is my first stab at quantifying the Rick Smithiness of any decision, on a scale of 1-10.

  1. (the least Rick Smithy decision): Drafting a guy from a real school with starting experience at his projected NFL position; signing a free agent at a position of need before the start of training camp; basically, doing anything a normal GM of a real football team would do.
  2. Re-signing everyone on what has consistently been the worst special teams unit in football, especially when they are, collectively, 452 years old.
  3. Trading a backup quarterback who is not demonstrably worse than your starter for a 7th round draft pick.
  4. (approaching baseline Rick Smithiness) Signing a clearly washed-up player to the kind of contract he would’ve reasonably gotten in his prime
  5. (baseline Rick Smithiness) Spending more than one draft pick on tight ends, then signing a few more in the offseason just in case.
  6. Spending high draft picks on “project” players from tiny schools nobody but the 200 students who actually go there have heard of.
  7. Forgetting that entire positions, e.g. “strong safety,” exist in the game of football.
  8. Signing a quarterback, sight unseen, to a $37 million contract.
  9. Botching a draft so badly that five of nine picks never played a snap for you, and one of the few that actually played is Ryan Griffin.
  10. (peak Rick Smithiness) Looking at your QB situation in the offseason and saying “Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, Tom Savage… yeah, we’re good.” Or your offensive line and going “who needs tackles anyway? Or guards for that matter?” Or your defensive backfield – which is, collectively, 852 years old and can be timed with a sundial – and saying “we got this.”  Or….

Verdict: YES.

Our prediction: “CBS will cut repeatedly to that one shot of Bob McNair looking like he just got a Sriracha enema while Rick Smith tries to melt into the furniture, because CBS hates us.”

RESULT: They showed that shot all right, I’m sure, but only because of this:

nfl-texans-superJumbo

Verdict:  Who cares?  At this point, I’m pretty much done with pro football.  This shit isn’t going to stop.  ESPN, Roger Goodell, the players’ unions… they’ve all doubled down on the politics.  I, like most Americans, watch sports to get away from politics.  Our Betters in the media, academia, both political parties, etc. have decided that we shall be made to care….. but they forgot that TVs have an “off” button.  There’s lots of stuff I should be doing on Sundays – cleaning up the house, going to church, getting ready for work on Monday, spending time with the wife and kids.  Blowing three hours and thirty bucks on greasy food in a sports bar is, when you think about it for a second, a fairly Rick Smithy allocation of resources.

I’ll still do some predictions, and keep making fun of Battle Red Blog – that’s a public service to the English language – but no, Roger Goodell et al, I can’t be made to care.  It’s been fun, guys, and I wish y’all the best, but I’ve got better things to do with my free time.

Texans-Seahawks Predictions

So far, our prediction record looks like a bad hockey team’s line: 2-5-2.  Let’s see if we can do better this week:

Overall prediction: Texans 17, Seahawks 35.

Specific Predictions:

— Mike Vrabel will once again blitz like Rommel on speed, because hey, it must’ve been the pressure that made Browns’ QB Kevin Hogan spray passes all over the NRG Stadium turf. It won’t go so well this time.  Russell Wilson excels against the blitz, and while Pro Football Focus has had some well-documented WTF moments in the past, I trust them here.  Through week seven, Wilson ranked 3rd against the blitz, 6th against pressure, and 1st in short completion percentage… anyone who has seen our linebackers-not-named-Dylan-Cole trying to chase running backs down in the flat knows how that generally works out.

— Bill O’Brien will make a potentially game-changing boneheaded call sometime in the third quarter, because he’s BOB and that – along with “run the same five plays over and over” and “burn with unrequited love for replacement-level players like Alfred Blue” – is just what BOB does.

— CBS will cut repeatedly to that one shot of Bob McNair looking like he just got a Sriracha enema while Rick Smith tries to melt into the furniture, because CBS hates us (I’m clearly just padding my stats now, as all the major networks have had had a hate-boner for the city of Houston generally, and the Texans specifically, for a long time. I hope the World Series goes seven games, just to make those bastards suffer).

— Duane Brown will play….

Here’s the hard part about writing a “predictions” column, y’all.  It’s not the scrying — I follow Nostradamus’s basic technique of “meditating in front of a bowl filled with water and herbs” (like KFC’s, the specific mix is a closely-guarded secret).  Rather, it’s the predictions that don’t come to me via a bowl full of herbs – the ones, in other words, where I actually try to think it through the way the Texans’ “brain” trust would.

Which is why Duane Brown’s future is so hard to see.  Trying to see things from Rick Smith’s perspective is like trying to guess what your loopy old uncle is thinking.  You know, the one who is “just asking questions” about stuff like the moon landing.  You know he’s wrong in general, but he’s never specifically wrong in any consistent way.

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Here’s what I’d do in Rick’s shoes:  We’re not in “win now” mode, because this team is like every other team in the BOB era – we beat the bad teams and lose to the good ones, and there are more good teams than bad on the upcoming schedule.  The Titans and Niners are probably gimmes at this point, and the Colts should be, but given our track record against Indy I’d count on us dropping at least one of those.  Even if we get all four, that’s seven wins… and that might be it.  9-7 is optimistic; 6-10 is a real possibility.  The AFC South is still a dumpster fire, of course, and if another 7-win team is going to sneak into the playoffs, it’ll undoubtedly come from our putrid division, but that just means getting embarrassed on national TV again.  It’s time to start thinking about next season.

Given that, I’d trade Duane Brown.  He’s frequently hurt and on the wrong side of thirty.  Teams that are in win-now mode might be willing to fork out a huge premium for him.  Ask for the Earth, and settle for a continent or two.  Given that our highest draft pick right now is a third rounder, and given that Rick Smith is to third round picks what Battle Red Blog is to the English language, we might well come out of next year’s draft with no serviceable players at all.  Trade Brown for something, anything, that’s younger, healthier, and cheaper than he… and for God’s sake, sit him this weekend.

Which is why I predict Brown will play.  The franchise isn’t in win-now mode, but Rick Smith most certainly is.  He mortgaged the future trading up for Deshaun Watson, and though Watson has worked out better than anyone could’ve dreamed – for now, at least, and on paper – that’s still not enough to save Rick’s job if we really do go 6-10.  I wouldn’t put it past Rick to trade some more draft capital for an additional lineman, or maybe a corner, in a desperate effort to postpone the inevitable for another season or two.

We’ll see.  Check back on Monday to see how we did.

This Week’s Most Perplexing Texans-Related Statement

 

perplexed-face-450x300

I thought I’d have to do some searching for this one.  ESPN’s Sarah Barshop is usually good for a head-scratcher or two, like this tweet:

Houston has been searching for a franchise quarterback, so regardless of what happens this season — and there’s plenty to play for — more importantly, the Texans have hope for the future with Watson under center.

But nothing really stood out… until Battle Red Blog’s Matt Weston, the Ultimate Metaphor Mangler, decided to write an AFC South wrapup today.  What Pennywise the Clown is to your children’s dreams, this piece is to the written word.  Fair warning: It’ll haunt you, especially if you passed Sixth Grade English.

Here’s the first sentence, in which the Texans not playing football is compared to the Earth’s magnetic field — the reversal of which would, apparently, adversely affect the NFL’s schedule:

Just because the Houston Texans didn’t play football last week doesn’t mean that the poles flip and football stops.

And here’s the followup:

No, it keeps spinning.

“It” being “the poles,” apparently.  Or maybe football, although why any of them would be spinning in the first place is beyond me.  (I majored in History, not astrophysics).

Here’s the third sentence, in which an anthropomorphized schedule moves Ron Jeremy-like into the future:

The NFL season thrusts forward into the invisible future.

As opposed to a visible future, I guess.  Either way, I hope the NFL season bought it dinner first.

That’s a hard act to follow, but our fearless scribe is up for the challenge.  Here are some…. highlights?  Yeah, let’s go with that.  To spare myself a carpal tunnel syndrome flareup, I won’t be typing [sic].

On the Indianapolis Colts’ shutout loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars:

When you get shoved into the locker like that, nothing tastes good.

I never got shoved in a locker — I guess I was just too cool — but I seriously doubt it impacts your taste buds.

The only reason he should play is if Indy hovered around .500 and that cyclops busted through the wall with a club, shooting lasers from that one eye.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I think we’ve found the writer behind The Official Ninja Webpage.  Cyclopes are mammals, too.

[The Colts} have only two pass rushers who can generate pressure on their own….The three pass rushers the Colts signed this past offseason, Margus Hunt, Jabaal Sheard, and John Simon, are all having productive years. Each one has eleven pressures or more. The sacks aren’t there, but they have been generating a pass rush.

So only two of the three pass rushers who are having productive years can generate pressure on their own?  Who is the laggard?  Or are the productive ones two different, unnamed pass rushers?  (Isn’t five quite a lot of pass rushers?  Especially if three — or however many there actually are — aren’t producing?)

Seasons like this hurt. But they become loving purple scars once things gel back together, and the team becomes good again.

Loving scars?  Do you get those from thrusting into an invisible future?

Oh, and that doesn’t even include last week’s shutout of the Colts in the soup.

Statistics are tasty.

Combining him with Malik Jackson has given the Jaguars one of the best interior pass rushes in the NFL, which in turn has given young players like Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler, Jr. calm meadow strolls to the quarterback on stunts and one-on-one matchups to devour.

In his famous essay “Politics and the English Language,” George Orwell advised writers to “[n]ever use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.”  Given their well-documented love for Big Brother, it’s not surprising that a Battle Red Blogger would try to ape Orwell.  And given that it’s Battle Red Blog, it’s no surprise they fucked it up.*

[A.J. Bouye has] been sharing a bedroom with [Jalen] Ramsey

I’m starting to notice a pattern with the mangled metaphors.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

When games are close, or Jacksonville is down, wins aren’t going to happen.

Yes, when one is down in the score, one generally doesn’t win.

The exotic methmouth style is still here.

Apologies in advance for this:

m3_methmouth2

Kinda sums it up, don’t it?  “Congrats” again to Matt Weston, the two-time winner of “Most Perplexing Texans-Related Statement of the Week.”

 

 

*Ten bucks says I’ll now have to go and delete fifty seven comments from BRB fanbois telling me that haha, Orwell didn’t say that the new metaphor has to make sense, so I should shut up and grow a pair.

Most Perplexing Texans-Related Statement of the Week

Pretty much the only reason we write this blog is: Most other Texans coverage, including so-called professionals’ work, is terrible.  They say things that don’t make sense about football.  They say stuff that doesn’t make sense, period.  Some routinely produce “sentences” that are like Zen koans in reverse — should you ever figure out what they’re trying to say, you’ll instantly achieve a lower consciousness.  Here is an example.  What is the sound of one hand clapping?  These guys’ sixth grade English teachers giving it up for their writing skills.

In the spirit of advancing basic literacy, we hereby present a new feature: “Most Perplexing Texans-Related Statement of the Week.”

The Runners Up:

Deshaun Watson is a one-man force, able to over come a questionable offensive line to wiggle the team down the field.  —bigfatdrunk, Battle Red Blog.

Ummmm…..wiggle?  The team. Wiggle the team.   That sounds like a bad parody of Jive from an ’80s movie.

The Texans are 3-3 heading into the bye, but we are a night and days difference of a team at the season opening snap.  –bigfatdrunk, Battle Red Blog.

“A night and days [sic] difference,” even if punctuated correctly, would be…. 24 hours’ worth of difference?  The cliche is “as different as night and day,” which would at least make sense.  This is what happens when the Hooked on Phonics ™ generation tries to do metaphors.  My favorite fuckup along these lines is “taking ___ for granite,” but “a night and days [sic] difference” is still pretty good.  (PS we’ll be skipping the [sic] from here on out, as typing as needed would wear out my keyboard).  Also, from the team at the season opening snap, not of it.  We’re different from that team — not least because that was six weeks ago, not 24 hours ago.

The transformation has honestly been remarkable to the point where I’m astonished at how far my perception of the team has switched within these first six weeks to the point where the rest of the season has me optimistic about the long term future of the team.  — Luke Beggs, Battle Red Blog.

Use the Force, Luke — or, at least, a comma or two.

The Winner:  This entire…. thing… from Matt Weston, Battle Red Blog.  I’ll break it down into smaller sections for you, but be warned….

They are gone. They aren’t coming back. You have to learn to not think about them no matter how casually they come slithering inside your head, to not sit in the residue of memories that once occurred, to not go back and place your feet in Earth that already has your impressions.

We’re writing an elegy, I see… and no, “elegy” doesn’t mean “mishmash of absurd, mixed metaphors,” though you could be forgiven for thinking so.  “They,” I assume, are J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus, but Weston apparently thinks they’re snakes – snakes in leisure suits, which are the only things that can slither casually.  Who then somehow sit in residue… but not just any residue; the residue of “memories that once occurred.”  That’s some redundant residue right there, as memories “once occurred” by definition.  Nor should you stand in your own footprints, Grasshopper.

The Texans’ biggest strength, their front seven, is decimated without J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus. Other players have to step up. Mike Vrabel has to do a better job. But more importantly the offense is going to have to make up for the defense. 30 point games need to be the norm now. Deshaun Watson has to stay spectacular.

Technically a “front seven” can’t be “decimated,” as that’s the loss of one in ten, but forget it, he’s rolling.  The next five sentences are recognizably English, and they make clear (if trite) points, so maybe….

Bill O’Brien has to continue to be an artist and use pure self expression to soak the most out of Watson and his skill players like the light of a spring day.

….aaaand it’s gone.  Forget, for a moment, the idea of a coach using “pure self expression;” just focus on that mangled metaphor.  “Soak” means “to absorb.”  You don’t “soak out of,” you soak into.  Except that’s not right either, because only sponges soak.  He means “squeeze,” of course, which the more literate among us realize is the exact opposite of “soak.”  I honestly have no idea what “like the light of a spring day” means in this context.  Spring days are sponges?  Or they squeeze Deshaun Watson?

Kids-R-Us maybe bankrupt but those skeletons laying in the flesh of strip malls still remain.

Okay now it’s getting reeeeaallly weird.  You mean “lying;” present participle of “to lie.” “Laying” is the present participle of “to lay,” which means “to put something down.”  Either way, dude – “the flesh of strip malls?”  It puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.

Houston’s offense took it to Cleveland and once again proved that Watson and this offense can lit up bad defenses like a witch in a Puritan town.

Can light up bad defenses.  Verbs have these things called “tenses,” and they’re important. They used to cover this in, like, fourth grade.

Hopefully these future difficult endeavors end the same as the easier ones have with more time, practice, and development.

This is what a college professor buddy of mine calls “word salad.”  There’s an idea in there somewhere, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out what it is.

And there you have it, folks – today’s Most Perplexing Fan Statement.  The bar’s been set awfully high.

Monday Wrap-Up: Texans/Browns

Last week, we predicted some things for the Texans-Browns game.  Let’s see how we did:

Our prediction: Browns 24, Texans 21.

RESULT: Texans 33, Browns 17.

Verdict: NO.  As pleasant surprises go, this is a nice one.  Given our long and storied history of playing down to our competition, plus Cleveland owning our draft next year, plus losing being the Texans-y-est thing that could happen, it’s a ray of hope that we not only beat Cleveland, but took ’em to the woodshed the way a good team would.

Our prediction:

Mike Vrabel will overcompensate for Watt’s and Mercilus’s absence by blitzing like Erwin Rommel on meth.  It won’t go well.  If you’ve got a Browns WR on your fantasy team, start him — he’s gonna be wiiiiiide open a few times on Sunday.

RESULT:  Erwin Rommel came calling, and he had a big bag of Blue Sky.  But it didn’t matter, thanks to the Osweileresque* performance of Browns QB Kevin Hogan.  I for one spent the whole game thinking “they cut Brock Osweiler, but kept this guy?”  He was so bad, I wonder why Rick Smith didn’t immediately offer him a $37 million contract…. oh, wait: Rick only does that to terrible quarterbacks he hasn’t seen in person.

Verdict: Draw.

Our prediction: “Will Fuller will drop a sure touchdown, because Will Fuller.”

RESULT:   I’ve always been proud of the world-class medical care available in our hometown, but this is taking it to another level.  Whoever did Fuller’s hand transplant deserves the Nobel in perpetuity.

Verdict: NO.

Our prediction:

Because CBS loves taunting Texans fans, their camera crews will keep cutting to that one shot of BOB on the sideline.  You know the one, where something completely predictable just happened but he looks flabbergasted.  That expression he makes is cranky, yet somehow innocent, like the expression a baby would make if it knew every single curse word in the English language, but couldn’t quite make the sounds.

RESULT: This one was a gimme – CBS hates us, and that’s BOB’s default expression whenever something doesn’t go his way.  I just added it to pad my stats.

Verdict: YES.

Our prediction: “At least two of the interceptions Deshaun Watson has been begging opposing defenses to catch all season will, in fact, be caught.”

RESULT:  And now comes the hard part.  Though only one of them ended up on the stat sheet, Watson threw at least three sure picks on Sunday, bringing his season total of “miraculously missed picks” into the neighborhood of ten…

There’s a balance to the universe, you know?  Call it Justice, Karma, whatever, the fact is, every action has a reaction.  Deshaun Watson has had the Devil’s own luck in getting sure picks dropped… and our defense has been bitten harder by the injury bug than any other unit in the league.  We probably lost Dylan Cole for the season yesterday, and when you consider he’s an undrafted rookie who’s playing considerably better than big-bucks 2nd rounder Zach “What’s a ‘Tackle?’” Cunningham, that’s a huge blow.  And now the offense is getting into the action – the Comical reports that Chris Clark “doesn’t think he has a long-term injury,” which means he’s probably gone for the year, too, because the Comical.  Given that the depth chart behind him goes: “some just-off-the-couch scrub; ‘project’ rookie Julien Davenport; Breno Giacomini in drag,” that’s an even bigger blow.  I can’t bring myself to start openly rooting for Watson to get picked… but Deshaun, if you’ve made some kind of pact with Satan, remember: It’s a buyer’s market.

Verdict: NO.

Season record to date: 2-5-2.

  *That’s another new entry for the OED: “Osweileresque.”  It means “horrible in ways that even people accustomed to horror find horrifying.”  “Horrible” is when Mola Ram rips your heart out; “Osweileresque” is watching it burst into flames in front of you.

temple-of-doom-molaram-flaming-heart

Texans-Browns Predictions

letter jackets
The most disastrous look since Ugg boots and yoga pants.

Last week we went 1-2-1 with our predictions.  Let’s see if we can do better this week, when the Cleveland Browns come to town.

This is the kind of game we should win…. if we were another franchise.  Browns fans undoubtedly feel me here — poorly-run teams’ fans bond over being on the wrong end of “any given Sunday.”  But for maybe one golden stretch back in 2012 — before one too many Matt Schaub injuries, before one too many Arian Foster injuries, before those godforsaken letter jackets — we’ve played like every other Houston team, in every other sport: Down to the level of our competition.

The Browns’ level is pretty low.  Recently their front office has gone all-in on the football version of Moneyball, hoarding draft picks and banking enough cap space to bail out Zimbabwe.  If it works, the Browns will be a juggernaut in 2020…

…but it’s 2017.  And, of course, they’re the Browns, so they can’t help doing Browns things like engineering themselves a quarterback controversy.  Nobody thought DeShone Kizer was NFL-ready coming out of Notre Dame, which is why Cleveland was able to snag him in the second round of this year’s draft.  Knowing he wasn’t ready, and knowing they wouldn’t be competitive this season, the Browns made the smart long-term decision to redshirt him… then went back on it.  Kizer played like you’d expect an unready second-round rookie to play, so they pulled him, and now they’re up to their 28th starting quarterback in 18 seasons.*

Given all that, I’d predict a Texans victory.  Except….

….the Browns basically own our draft next year, in what’s shaping up to be a very deep class.  As with all things relating to our beloved team, ask yourself: “What’s the most Texans-y thing that could possibly happen?”  As JC noted earlier this week, the most Texans-y thing that could possibly happen after finally finding an offense is losing our entire defense (you know how that turned out).  Given the draft situation, then, the most Texans-y thing that could happen this year would be for us to lose to the Browns, thus worsening our overall record and giving the Browns higher draft positions next year…

…positions from which they will take the surefire Hall of Famers that could’ve been ours, had Rick Smith not Rick Smithed the absolute shit out of our quarterback situation last year.**  Think of it like 2011, but in reverse — that year, you’ll recall (unless you’ve washed it out of your brain with several barrels of vodka, and nobody would blame you if you did), our beloved Texans squeaked out a win over the utterly pathetic Indianapolis Colts… giving them the opportunity to draft yet another franchise quarterback who will torment us for decades to come.

So, my overall prediction is: Browns 24, Texans 21.

Specific predictions:

— Mike Vrabel will overcompensate for Watt’s and Mercilus’s absence by blitzing like Erwin Rommel on meth.  It won’t go well.  If you’ve got a Browns WR on your fantasy team, start him — he’s gonna be wiiiiiide open a few times on Sunday.

— Will Fuller will drop a sure touchdown, because Will Fuller.

— At least two of the interceptions Deshaun Watson has been begging opposing defenses to catch all season will, in fact, be caught.

— Because CBS loves taunting Texans fans, their camera crews will keep cutting to that one shot of BOB on the sideline.  You know the one, where something completely predictable just happened but he looks flabbergasted.  That expression he makes is cranky, yet somehow innocent, like the expression a baby would make if it knew every single curse word in the English language, but couldn’t quite make the sounds.

Check back Monday and see how we did.

 

 

*Just for giggles: Rick Smith and Bill O’Brien, the two most hook-happy QB roulette players this side of Lake Erie, have started ten different quarterbacks.  That’s an average of 2.4 starting quarterbacks per season, which is actually worse than Cleveland’s pace of 1.56 starting quarterbacks per season.  Rick and BOB, ladies and gentlemen — making the Cleveland fucking Browns look competent since 2014.

**Anybody got any contacts at the Oxford English Dictionary?  The verb “to Rick Smith” needs to be added to the lexicon.  It means “to fuck up in some bizarre, nearly inconceivable way that is somehow exponentially worse than all the smaller errors that went into it, such that the fuckup is far more than the sum of its parts.”