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Texans are built to survive Leinart in the short term

Gary Kubiak, Matt Leinart AP

It’s been hard for people to accept the fact that the Texans are a very good, balanced football team.

That’s because they are the Houston Texans. They’ve never been good before.

It’s also because of their schedule. Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Oakland, and New Orleans have been the toughest four teams on Houston’s schedule thus far. The Texans went 1-3 against those teams, but 6-0 against shakier opposition.

Despite that, Houston has an intriguing balance that made them real AFC Super Bowl contenders.  They were good enough to survive losing Mario Williams. They have been good enough to survive losing Andre Johnson for a while.

They are good enough to survive losing quarterback Matt Schaub for the season. For now.

It all depends on what the goal is here.  If the goal is the franchise’s first playoff berth, then Leinart can get the job done. If the goal is winning playoff games, Leinart has a lot to prove.

We think Leinart can keep the Texans afloat for a variety of reasons.

Offensive line: The Texans arguably have the best line in football. Arian Foster and Ben Tate probably form the most dynamic running duo in the league. This is a run-first team that sets up a quarterback for success.

Schedule: Houston’s next six games: @ Jaguars, vs. Falcons, @ Bengals, vs. Panthers, @ Colts, and vs. Titans.

3-3 is a very reasonable expectation for that stretch of games. I think they could do better. They could probably afford to do worse.

AFC South: The Titans lost 38-17 in Pittsburgh. They lost 41-7 at home to Houston and lost at home to the Bengals. They have overachieved to get to 5-4, but there is little reason to think the Titans will win more than eight games. The Texans have already won seven.

Defense: Schaub doesn’t play defense, and Houston has a legitimate top-five group. It’s not just the schedule. They get after the quarterback and have playmakers at every level. Between the defense and the running game, the foundation is there for Houston to compete every week.

Again, it all comes down to expectations. Before the season, plenty of Texans fans would gladly have signed up for a division title and an early playoff exit.  That’s still very likely.  A bye isn’t totally out of the question.

If the Texans hope to compete for a championship, well, they better hope Matt Leinart shows something he has never shown in the NFL before.

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43 Responses to “Texans are built to survive Leinart in the short term”
  1. returnofjags says: Nov 14, 2011 6:44 PM

    Here come the Jaguars! One game at a time!

  2. citizenstrange says: Nov 14, 2011 6:51 PM

    Serious question: Is Matt Leinart any better or worse than Mark Sanchez or vice versa?

    Vote this:

    UP for Leinart being better

    DOWN for Sanchez being better

    See below for TIE vote.

  3. commandercornpone says: Nov 14, 2011 6:52 PM

    they could have a better percentage with leinart over those 6 games than they did with schaub in 10.

  4. ravensarepretendersflaccoisajoke says: Nov 14, 2011 7:00 PM

    This is a shame. Schaub’s not bad, and Houston was on the rise. Too bad.

  5. Zachariah Claybaugh says: Nov 14, 2011 7:02 PM

    This is a long-term injury, so it could really effect the Texans moving forward, particularly as it relates to playoff seeding. But keep in mind, they are in a weak division. The lack of a significant threat in the AFC South should allow them to be competitive with Leinart and still advance to the postseason. The Texans have a dominant running game, a top defense, and talented pass catchers, which can bring them through this storm. Don’t count them out just yet. And who knows, maybe Leinart will be better than most think…

    Check out my blog by clicking at the username at the top of this post.

  6. Nikhil Balakumar says: Nov 14, 2011 7:02 PM

    titans have been handed a chance to take this division but need to be consistent if there gonna have any chance

  7. mogogo1 says: Nov 14, 2011 7:03 PM

    No fan of Leinart, but the last time he was on the field he was putting up some pretty decent numbers in the preseason for the Cards two years ago. He absolutely was not cut by them because of performance. (My guess is Whisenhunt found out his wife/daughter was seeing him on the sly or something.)

  8. Deb says: Nov 14, 2011 7:05 PM

    Can Leinart get them into the playoffs for the first time? With the rest of the talent on that team, yes, it’s possible. But how far could they go in the playoffs with Leinart at the helm? This was a team many considered the best in the conference … until now. Unfortunate situation.

  9. thegonz13 says: Nov 14, 2011 7:07 PM

    Leinart is good as long as he holds a clipboard. Expect a lot of Arian Foster and Ben Tate for the rest of the season!

  10. dafranchise03 says: Nov 14, 2011 7:08 PM

    Leinart could do better cause they already played the worst part of their season. Falcons at home and Bengals on the road are the only thing in the way. Hopefully the run game and defense can keep the pressure off of him.

  11. southridge23 says: Nov 14, 2011 7:08 PM

    @citizenstrange

    I can’t stand the jets and think Sanchez is a joke but even still that comparison is an insult to Sanchez.

  12. mh28102 says: Nov 14, 2011 7:09 PM

    Honestly….its not really close between Sanchez and Leinart. People just vote Leinart because they hate the Jets.

  13. kremis says: Nov 14, 2011 7:20 PM

    With Foster and Tate, they should be able to run the Broncos offense running 55 times a game and only let Leinfart throw 8 times a game, and still win. By the way if they play the Broncos that may be a 2 hour game!!!!

  14. nineroutsider says: Nov 14, 2011 7:22 PM

    mh28102 says: Nov 14, 2011 7:09 PM

    Honestly….its not really close between Sanchez and Leinart. People just vote Leinart because they hate the Jets.
    —————————————————
    Perhaps, but I voted for Leinert because ‘Sanchise’ sucks and is overrated. Leinert sucks too, but he is being paid and treated like it whereas Sanchise is treated like a top 10 QB by most and he clearly is not.

  15. mmcdan133 says: Nov 14, 2011 7:24 PM

    If the 49ers can be 8-1 with Alex Smith, the Texans can win games with Matt Leinart. The running game is as dynamic as anything we’ve seen in the NFL for quite some time, and Andre Johnson is coming back. They’ll keep rolling.

    The only question is can they win in the playoffs against a team that can take away the run? We shall see. I think it will be important for them to get home games in the playoffs. Leinart isn’t going to New England, Baltimore, or Pittsburgh and winning in January.

  16. metalhead65 says: Nov 14, 2011 7:27 PM

    We think Leinart can keep the Texans afloat for a variety of reasons.
    by we you mean you because with the way this site(mike)has trashed the guy no way does the man in charge believe that. I hope Leinart goes undefeated so this site has to write a positive article on the guy. I won’t hold my breath because the man in charge will never admit he was wrong should it happen.

  17. goldrush36 says: Nov 14, 2011 7:28 PM

    I don’t like the Jets or the Texans, Leinart or Sanchez so my opinion is unbiased….. Leinart is better than Sanchez. Sanchez is near the top of the list of most overrated QB’s in league history. Leinart is far superior talent wise. The problem is he has no heart or dedication, not that Sanchez is much better in that area either though

  18. descendency says: Nov 14, 2011 7:30 PM

    Tony Dungy gave them the kiss of death when he called them the best team in the AFC.

  19. fatguystrangler says: Nov 14, 2011 7:32 PM

    Pretty simply put: Let’s see what Matt Leinart is made of.

  20. doe22us says: Nov 14, 2011 7:40 PM

    He wanted his shot at starting again, you are up Sir.

  21. rcali says: Nov 14, 2011 7:41 PM

    No team is built to survive with Leinart at QB. I can’t believe it’s even being suggested.

  22. goldrush36 says: Nov 14, 2011 7:52 PM

    Sorry mmcdan133 but Alex Smith is better than Leinart……… and Sanchez for that matter. Look at ratings. He is better in every category other than total yards but he also has 60 less pass attempts……. 3 less td’s but 6 less picks

  23. straightbiznesses says: Nov 14, 2011 8:23 PM

    Alex Smith is much much better than Sanchez who is a glorified backup at best, hes only starting because he was a high draft pick n Jets dont wanna look like idiots.
    Leinharts is garbage but we gotta see what he can do… who knows maybe he practiced? lol

  24. linvillegorge says: Nov 14, 2011 8:35 PM

    Yates will replace Leinart and soon.

  25. steelcurtain9 says: Nov 14, 2011 8:36 PM

    If the broncos can win with only two completions from tebow, then the texans should be able to win with leinart.

  26. norcalmafia says: Nov 14, 2011 8:40 PM

    Im a Niner fan but always liked the Texans..They were finally gonna make it to the playoffs but they r going no where with the Leinhart at the helm, dude is hot garbage.

  27. flsnupe says: Nov 14, 2011 9:27 PM

    Texans are not the pass happy team they were before. They are hard nosed running team with the top defense in the NFL. ML is quite capable of managing the game and making a play on 3rd with the weapons he has. Time will tell whether he actually does it or not, but I think the team is built to win regardless.

  28. Deb says: Nov 14, 2011 9:32 PM

    descendency says:

    Tony Dungy gave them the kiss of death when he called them the best team in the AFC.
    ———————————————–
    Doesn’t seem to matter who says it. As soon as any team is labeled the best in the AFC … look out!

  29. waitingguilty says: Nov 14, 2011 9:38 PM

    I feel a Brady-Bledsoe-like changing of the guard.

    Actually, no….no I don’t.

  30. mmcdan133 says: Nov 14, 2011 10:21 PM

    I wasn’t saying Leinart is equal to Alex Smith, but will be asked to do a similar task. Manage the game, get the ball into the hands of his playmakers, don’t turn the ball over. Smith is slowly evolving beyond just a game manager, but much of their 8-1 season has happened with him just being asked to not screw it up. I think it’s fair to expect Leinart to be able to handle the same expectations.

  31. mannyicey says: Nov 14, 2011 10:28 PM

    If I was Matt Leinart, I would go to Wednesday Night church service with Tim Tebow. After the sermon, go to the altar and ask Tebow’s pastor to pray for him. Go and get some of that winning anointing.

  32. randomguy9999 says: Nov 14, 2011 10:53 PM

    Leinart will be a disaster

  33. mkuske says: Nov 14, 2011 10:58 PM

    @rosenthal: “It’s also because of their schedule. Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Oakland, and New Orleans have been the toughest four teams on Houston’s schedule thus far. The Texans went 1-3 against those teams, but 6-0 against shakier opposition.”

    I’m not sure of your point here Greg. I mean let’s look…

    Pittsburgh’s toughest 4 has been Baltimore twice, New England, and Houston. Pittsburgh is also 1-3 in those games going 6-0 against shakier opposition.

    New England has only played 2 teams better than middling (Pittsburgh and NY Giants) and is 0-2 against those. They are 6-1 against a sea of 5-4 and 4-5 teams.

    I’ll give Baltimore the credit for going 3-0 against the good teams (Pittsburgh and Houston), of course that is before putting up regular pathetic efforts and going only 3-3 against the weak ass teams.

    So let’s get off that “it’s because if their schedule” thing, because at least 2 of the teams you listed have done any better against the better teams.

  34. nflfan877 says: Nov 14, 2011 11:18 PM

    Titans have overachieved because of Hasselbeck, who’s now the only true starting QB left in the division. It’s not impossible TEN wins this division.

  35. jackhaley1 says: Nov 14, 2011 11:44 PM

    All hot tub parties at Leinart’s place have been cancelled for this week. They will resume next week when he gets benched for the rookie.

  36. bspurloc says: Nov 14, 2011 11:59 PM

    only an idiot IR’s their starting QB when they have a chance for the playoffs….

  37. jvillenole says: Nov 15, 2011 1:14 AM

    Leinart has a chance to see what he is made of against a legitimate top five defense in Jacksonville. Not nly that, but Jacksonville has circled this game since the “punch” on the sideline.

    But…seriously, Schaub is 100x better than Leinart, and all you Texan fans who think that Houston won’t skip a beat need to wake up.

    There is a reason Leinart is a backup QB!

    You guys just woke up. Welcome back down to earth! And welcome to the beginning of the end of your season.

  38. dspohn55 says: Nov 15, 2011 2:33 AM

    I for one hope Matt Leinart does well, he certainly has a fantastic opportunity. He arguably has the best WR in the game, one of the best running games in the league and one of the best play callers in the league in Gary Kubiak.

  39. balledoutdotcom says: Nov 15, 2011 5:04 AM

    Uh oh! Giving Matty Leinart the keys! Houston we have a problem! actually think he does well this wknd add him in fantasy!

  40. luckylosers says: Nov 15, 2011 9:02 AM

    Prediction: Texans won’t miss a beat. Leinert will prove himself… to the consternation of Whizzypants in Arizona who never gave him a chance. Oh yeah, second prediction Whizzypants can find another job after season.

  41. batterychucker says: Nov 15, 2011 9:54 AM

    Sorry, the Texans will still destroy Jacksonville in 2 weeks, no matter who’s the QB. Then we get to hear more Jags crybabies complaining about their feelings getting hurt.

  42. swagjag says: Nov 15, 2011 11:12 AM

    History shows the second Leinart gets touched he folds like a tent. Houston will likely still win the division and do little to nothing in the post-season, but they’re not getting far with Leinart. As soon as he takes his first hit, he starts to get antsy, rushes throws and scrambles prematurely. Jeff George would be a better option.

  43. davesmall1 says: Nov 15, 2011 4:35 PM

    I think you have to give Kubiak and Smith credit for knowing what they’re doing when it comes to personnel.

    They had Leinart for a full year before promoting him to second string, cutting Ostrowski, and giving him a $5 Million contract. They wouldn’t have done that if they didn’t believe that Matt can play.

    They’ve been putting together a terrific roster. When they lost Mario William, rooking Brooks Reed stepped up and he’s been terrific. Jacoby Jones filled in nicely for Andre Johnson. Ben Tate stepped in for Arian Foster and has over 600 yards from scrimmage. Troy Nolan has been filling in effectively for Daniel Manning at safety.

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