In the wake of a meltdown on Sunday in a game that the Texans should have won against Seattle, members of the 2-2 team conducted a players-only meeting.
The speakers at the players-only meeting included the only player fans are blaming for the loss: quarterback Matt Schaub.
“I just want to clear it up,” safety Danieal Manning told Yahoo! Sports Radio 1560 in Houston, via ESPN.com. “Matt, we’re riding behind him 100 percent. I don’t think anyone — of course we were all pissed off about plays, everybody’s like that. DBs make mistakes, you want the whole team to be upset, even the player that made the mistake, you should say something. Matt has been a man about this whole time. He told us how he felt, what’s going to change, what needs to change. . . . On the defensive side players stepping up saying things. I believe at this point today we really have a change in the way that we’re going to approach the next game.”
Other speakers included, according to Manning, safety Ed Reed, defensive end Antonio Smith, and receiver Andre Johnson.
From Schaub’s perspective, it would be great to know specifically what he said regarding “what’s going to change, what needs to change.” Did he say he’ll stop being more cognizant of the rush and, at times, apparently unwilling to take a hit? Did he say he’ll stand up to coach Gary Kubiak the next time Schaub is in a position where he knows the wrong play has been called but he (according to Kubiak) doesn’t have the power to change it?
Did Schaub say he’ll spend more time studying the team’s tendencies on offense so that players like Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman won’t be able to say that a given play was so predictable Sherman saw it in practice two days earlier and knew it was coming in the key moment of the game?
That’s where Manning’s explanation is a bit inconsistent. Yes, everyone makes mistakes. But Schaub presumably addressed during the meeting his own mistakes, which naturally draw more attention — especially when there’s a bright-line connecting his mistakes and the points that forced overtime.
It’s good that the players are behind Schaub. He likely gives them their best chance of winning more games than they lose, if he irons out some of his rough spots. In the end, though, what the players think of Schaub won’t matter if Kubiak decides that it’s in the best interests of the team to go with T.J. Yates, who led the team to its first-ever playoff win in 2011, or Case Keenum, the undrafted gunslinger from the University of Houston whose jersey fans would be ready to buy and wear, not buy and burn.
Either way, the Texans will have 11 players only on the field at all times on Sunday night, when they try to beat the 49ers in San Francisco.