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Cook’s Top 5: Houston Texans Quarterbacks

The NFL’s newest franchise is still 19 years old, and still has a ranking of their Top 5 QBs thanks to Steve Cook!

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The NFL’s newest franchise is still 19 years old, and still has a ranking of their Top 5 QBs thanks to Steve Cook!

The Houston Texans are the youngest franchise in the National Football League. It’s kind of surprising that the NFL hasn’t felt any need to expand since 2002, but 32 teams seems to work pretty well. Houston was left high & dry when the Oilers made the move to Tennessee, and unlike Cleveland, they didn’t get to keep those records.

Like most expansion teams, the Texans got off to a rough start. Things started to improve though, and the team made six playoff appearances during the 2010s. They trended downward in 2020 though, and there are questions about the team moving forward due to the coaching situation and the quarterback situation. Not so much the quality of the QB on the field as to…other things.

We’re not here to talk about that though, so here are the five best QBs in the brief history of the Houston Texans!

5. Brian Hoyer

Hoyer has had an interesting career bouncing to teams of varying quality. He’s had a couple of stints with the Patriots as Tom Brady’s backup. He finally got to be a starting quarterback with the Browns, and showed enough potential there to get a job with the Texns in 2015. This season saw four different starting QBs due to various injuries, but Hoyer had the best season of any of them, with 19 touchdowns & 7 interceptions in 9 games. Somehow they managed to make it to the playoffs with a 9-7 record, but the less said about Hoyer’s performance in that wild card game, the better.

4. T.J. Yates

(Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

There’s a very good chance that Yates will be the least accomplished quarterback to make one of these lists. He started ten regular season games for the Texans, scattered over five seasons he spent with the club over a span of seven years. A perennial backup, Yates was one of the guys paraded around to franchises that didn’t want to sign Colin Kaepernick. He got a few chances in Houston when people got hurt, and he was…ok. A couple of games that were good, a couple that weren’t, and the rest just kinda there.

The reason I put him here has nothing to do with his regular season exploits. Yates was sent into duty at the end of 2011 due to injuries to Matt Schaub & Matt Leinart, and managed to steer the Texans into their first NFL playoff berth. They faced the Cincinnati Bengals in the wild card round, and since it was the Bengals, were able to win their first playoff game. The second game, against Baltimore, didn’t go so well, but T.J. Yates was the first Texans quarterback to win a playoff game. Hence, he makes the list.

3. David Carr

What happens when you feed a young quarterback to the wolves with no protection, no skill players of any value & expansion team-level resources? You get David Carr. Carr was the first pick in the 2002 NFL Draft, thought to have much potential to be one of the top players in the league. That didn’t happen. Carr set two records in his rookie season, neither he wanted to set. The 76 times Carr was sacked during the 2002 season still stands as a single-season league record. Carr also has the third spot on that list with 68 sacks in 2005, and also led the league in 2004 with 49 sacks. Carr’s 12 fumbles recovered in 2002 also still stands as a single-season league record. He led the league twice in fumbles, with 17 in 2005 & 16 in 2006.

Basically, the guy was beaten to a pulp. Carr’s widely considered one of the biggest busts in NFL Draft history, but how much of that is due to the situation he was thrown in to? Quite a bit, is my assessment. He did manage to lead the league in completion percentage in 2006, but that was the last season the Texans kept him around. Carr ranks this highly mostly because he actually managed to last five seasons as Texans QB1 through a barrage of abuse.

2. Matt Schaub

Schaub started getting hype when he served as Michael Vick’s backup in Atlanta. Houston heard that hype and made a trade for him during the 2007 off-season, intending for him to become their new starting QB after the departure of David Carr. He was an upgrade right away, as the Texans had their first 8-8 season in 2007 and their first winning season in 2009. His best season would come in 2009, when he led the league in passing yards with 4,770 yards and got his first of two Pro Bowl selections. The second would come in 2012, when Schaub helped the Texans win their first AFC South Championship.

Unfortunately, the wheels fell off in 2013. Schaub started the season fine with two comeback victories, but would fall into a streak of throwing pick-sixes. Four consecutive games with one of those, combined with an ankle injury, led to Schaub losing the job to Case Keenum. Schaub got the job back after Keenum got hurt, but did nothing in the last two games to swing momentum in his favor. He was traded to the Raiders in 2014, and would spend the rest of his career as a backup. Including ending his career with Atlanta. Schaub had a good run in Houston, but it seems most fans tend to remember the sour ending. He still holds most of the relevant Texans passing records, and might hold on to them depending on how long our next quarterback remains with the team.

1. Deshaun Watson

After winning a national championship at Clemson, Watson was the third quarterback drafted in the 2017 NFL Draft. He immediately got attention after entering the game during the Texans’ first game, and impressed people week after week. A torn ACL ended Watson’s rookie season, but he picked up where he left off in 2018. Watson’s been selected to three straight Pro Bowls, and led the league in passing with 4,823 yards in 2020, serving as the sole bright point of a miserable season in Houston. Prior to that, Watson’s two full seasons as starting quarterback saw the Texans win double digit games & make playoff appearances.

Things seemed to be going well. Then Watson wanted a trade. Shortly after that, a number of sexual assault allegations came his way. At this time, we don’t know where any of this is going, on or off the field.

So, for the second straight column, we’ve got somebody in the top slot that wants out of their situation. The one before that was Matthew Stafford, who was ejected from his situation. We live in interesting times.

Thanks for reading! Next time, we look at the illustrious quarterback history of the Colts!


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NFL

Cook’s 2022 NFL Gambling Picks: Week 4

Cook’s picks are staying marginally more 50/50 this year. Will we get a few tally marks for the good guys or continue the early season slide?

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Thursday night was a pretty great night for Cincinnati fans! The Bengals got back on track with a win over the Dolphins, putting them at 2-2 and right in the mix. It wasn’t a great night for Dolphins fans, or the NFL quite honestly. Tua Tagovailoa was stretchered out of the game after taking a big hit and what looked like to all the world another concussion just four days after Miami’s game against the Bills where everybody thought he got a concussion but the Dolphins claimed he injured his back/ankle. They said he passed the protocol and was good to play on Thursday, but everybody wondered if that was the best idea. It wasn’t.

Head injuries are a tricky thing to figure out, especially when you don’t even play a doctor on the Internet. I would not want to be the person to make that decision, especially when the player in question is likely demanding to play no matter what condition they’re in. I’d like to think that if I saw my future of the franchise quarterback stumbling off of the field after getting his head smashed into the ground, I would not try to claim it was a back/ankle injury and just plan on my experienced backup quarterback leading the team four days later. Then maybe I’d have a 2-point conversion play set up for him, along with other plays to give my team a better chance of victory. Bad deal by the Dolphins that didn’t give them the best chance to win in Cincy, and compromised the future of their franchise.

Now we deal with the rest of Week 4. Lines are via the Vegas Insider Consensus on Friday afternoon.

Sunday, October 2

Minnesota (-3) vs. New Orleans

Yep, the Vikings & Saints are in London this week, so forget any of that noise about a homefield advantage. The Saints would probably prefer to play this game in the SuperDome, and they’d also prefer to have Jameis Winston & Michael Thomas available to practice. Thomas was declared out on Friday, and it’s not looking great for Winston. Coming off a loss to the Panthers and possibly missing a couple of your key offensive starters? Not great, Bob! That said, there are worse backup options out there than Andy Dalton.

The Vikings went back on the “good” side of the ledger last week with a win over Detroit. They’re still figuring things out on offense, but I expect they’ll get there. I’m liking the Vikings to get some revenge for their ancestors in jolly ol’ England. Did the Norsemen have issues with the Brits back in the day? Probably, they seemed to have issues with everybody.

Cleveland (-1) at Atlanta

After two narrow losses to start the season, the Falcons scored a nice little win in Seattle last week. They seem to be slightly better than expected, and could pose a difficult test for a Browns team that could be missing Myles Garrett. Interesting how the media coverage & public opinion on Garrett has twisted over the past couple of days. It’s gone from “OMG I hope he’s ok” to “OMG this guy drives too fast and must be stopped”. I don’t really have an opinion on it, other than the flip-flop is pretty interesting.

Even without Garrett, the Browns have superior talent and should be able to run the ball all over the Falcons.

Buffalo (-3) at Baltimore

I have to do some travelling this Sunday. It’s one of those things that I’m kind of dreading, but at least I won’t have to worry about missing Josh Allen vs. Lamar Jackson in a battle of two MVP candidates. WKRC would rather have us watch Cleveland vs. Atlanta in a battle of Jacoby Brissett vs. Marcus Mariota. I could be sitting home watching that or Commanders vs. Cowboys, so I guess I can’t get on my friend too much for scheduling a wedding on a Sunday during football season. At least they were smart enough to not do it on a Bengals Sunday.

I might need to find somewhere to catch part of this game though, as it’s two of the best teams in the AFC with some playoff implications down the road if they’re vying for the top seed in the playoffs. Should be a good one. I’ll take the Ravens since they’ll be at home, but wouldn’t be shocked if Josh Allen & company went off after their loss in Miami. They looked pretty mad, didn’t they?

Washington at Dallas (-3.5)

One of the NFL’s most storied rivalries, though I must admit some of the marketability has been taken out of it since Washington stopped using Native American imagery. It’s still two of the most popular/hated franchises in sports going at it, and no matter what the teams look like people will watch them.

I’m done picking the Commanders after last week’s debacle, so look for Cooper Rush’s run of dominance to continue. My plan of setting the media up to talk endless Dak Prescott after the Cowboys go downhill when he returns seems to be working!

Seattle at Detroit (-4)

Awesome Twitter handle. The Lions have gone from being Vegas’s least favorite team over the past few years to being a darling of the industry. Unfortunately, that loss against the Vikings last week wiped out a good bit of their offense. D’Andre Swift doesn’t look good for Sunday, and new WR star Amon-Ra St. Brown will be out. Jared Goff will have to hope the backups are equally as effective. What I’m guessing is a low-scoring game, as the Seahawks weren’t able to score an offensive touchdown the last time they were on the road.

I’ll roll with the Lions, but this should be an ugly one.

LA Chargers (-5) at Houston

The Chargers are falling apart by the day. Joey Bosa has gone on the IL, taking away the best player on their defense. Justin Herbert is somewhere around 60% healthy if I had to guess. Keenan Allen might be playing this week, so that’s nice. It’s a mess of a team, and they’re going to Houston to play a Texans team that there’s no reason to have any confidence in. If I was actually a gambler, I’d stay far, far away from this mess.

Since I’m just making picks, I’ll tell you to go with the Chargers, simply because they actually have some players I’d start in a fantasy lineup.

Tennessee at Indianapolis (-3.5)

This is what the AFC South has been reduced to. Fighting for first place after the JAGS lose a game. Goodness Gracious. We are talking about two teams that rose from the dead last week to beat AFC West teams, so a win for either this week would revive their playoff hopes.

We’ll take the Titans at the current spread. I’m not really sure what to make of either team right now…I think they’ll both be decent at some point.

Chicago at NY Giants (-3)

If you’ve been wanting some of that old school football with three yards and a cloud of dust, this will be the game for you! Neither team passes the ball well, so expect the running backs to get carries early and often. Unfortunately for da Bears, David Montgomery won’t be playing and he happens to be their best running back. I was leaning Bears until that news broke, now I’m forced to go with the Giants. My apologies to Greg & Reby.

Jacksonville at Philadelphia (-6.5)

Those Eagles are rock & rolling right now, and Philly fans are pretty excited about it. They’ll be happy to welcome former Eagles coach Doug Pederson home on Sunday, who now coaches a Jaguars team that looks a bit spicy early in the season. Two early wins over teams projected to be playoff contenders isn’t what most folks were expecting from the Jags. After a struggle in Year 1, Trevor Lawrence is starting to live up to the hype in Year 2. Lawrence’s counterpart on the Eagles, Jalen Hurts, is right in the middle of MVP conversation after the first three weeks. Yes, I realize MVP conversation after three weeks is a bit wild, but it’s what we do in 2022.

I’d like the Jags to come in and make a game of it, but something tells me that the Eagles are going to give them the same treatment Minnesota & Washington received.

NY Jets at Pittsburgh (-3.5)

Zach Wilson should be playing this week! Jets fans are hoping that provides a boost to their offense, and for their sake I hope they’re right. If Wilson can’t do much more than Joe Flacco did the first three weeks (with the notable exception of that 4th quarter against the Browns), it’s a poor sign for their future. Steeler fans are hoping for a boost to their future at some point. Kenny Pickett’s time is coming, but it’s not going to be this week.

We’ll take the Jets to get within a field goal. Should be a bowling shoe type of affair.

Arizona at Carolina (-1)

Got the Panthers winning this one since I have to deal with a couple of Carolina fans on Sunday.

New England at Green Bay (-9.5)

If there’s one thing we know this week, it’s that Mac Jones is day to day. We don’t really know the status of his injury, as Bill Belichick doesn’t know how to read MRIs, and Jones is acting like he plans on playing this week. I assume this is the usual hocus pocus from the Patriots where they act all secretive and force their opponent to prepare for any damn thing. I would hope that the Patriots err on the side of caution and sit Jones this week. Thursday night’s game was Exbibit A for why you don’t run your future of the franchise quarterback out there when he’s not right. Bill Belichick, football genius that he is, should be smarter than that. Fortunately, Jones was ruled out on Friday, proving that Bill Belichick is smarter than the Dolphins organization.

The Packers got a good win in Tampa Bay, though the offense is still a bit of a struggle. It’s fair to wonder if Aaron Rodgers & his team can put up enough points to cover here. I’ll go with the Packers at Lambeau Field since it worked out pretty well the last time we did it.

Denver at Las Vegas (-2.5)

The Broncos, along with the 49ers, set football back approximately fifty years on Sunday night. Some may wish to tell you it was a great defensive struggle. I tend to think it was a battle of two offenses that couldn’t do anything. Even though the Broncos went to 2-1 with the victory, you won’t see as many people talking them up now as you did during the preseason when everybody thought Russell Wilson was Peyton Manning.

Meanwhile, the Raiders sit at 0-3 after a close loss in Tennessee. Doesn’t get much more “must-win” in Week 4 than it is for Vegas. Davante Adams knows the pressure is on and is making some noise about it. This would be a good spot for the Raiders offense to start gelling and get a big win to get back on track. That’s why I’m picking the Broncos to win a low-scoring game that annoys the heck out of everybody.

Kansas City at Tampa Bay

NBC must have had high hopes for this game when it was booked. Mahomes! Brady! Two of the best teams of the past few years! One would have expected both of these teams to roll into Week 4 at 3-0, looking like the Super Bowl contenders they usually are. Then games started getting played. The Bucs offense doesn’t look like the Bucs offense of previous years, mostly because all the WRs are hurt or getting suspended. Tom Brady can’t make everybody a star, as Cole Beasley proved last week. Mike Evans’ return this week should give a boost, and Tampa’s defense did look good against Green Bay, but Aaron Rodgers is in the same position as Tom Brady right now. Looking for people to throw the ball to that might actually catch it.

The football analytics tell you that Kansas City is still the best team in the NFL. They tell you that the Chiefs’ performance against the Colts was one of the best of Week 3, except for the part where they didn’t actually win. Stats are fun, but wins are even more fun. I’m not as worried about that Chiefs offense as most seem to be. Got plenty of faith in Andy Reid & Pat Mahomes to get things at an elite level during the season, and that AFC West isn’t looking as formidiable as it was during the offseason. The Chiefs will make the playoffs and be that team nobody wants to play, as they typically are.

Fortunately this game will be played in Tampa. Our thoughts are with those affected by Hurricane Ian over the past few days & beyond. I think the Chiefs have the more complete team, but sometimes emotion & intangibles play into things, and there should be enough positive vibes going the Buccaneers‘ way to like them this week. The game was a pick ’em at press time, and I wouldn’t be shocked if it stayed that way or even moved in the Bucs’ favor.

Monday, October 3

LA Rams at San Francisco (-1.5)

Yep, it was just last season that the 49ers hosted the Rams on MONDAY NIGHT IS FOOTBALL NIGHT whilst sitting at 3-5 and looking for answers. They romped the Rams 31-10, lost two games the rest of the regular season and made a run to the NFC Championship Game. So you can see why San Fran fans are hanging onto hope here.

Me, I see the Rams slowly but surely getting things right while winning games. They were my pick to win the NFC again, and while it was tempting to balk on that after Week 1, they’re getting on the right track now. Maybe my mind is polluted by that awful SNF game the 49ers found a way to lose, but I’m taking the Rams.

Week 3 Results: 7-8-1
Overall Results: 22-26-1


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Cook’s 2022 NFL Picks: Week 4 TNF Edition

Cook chimes in with his look at the NFL Week 4 Thursday Night Football showdown between the surging Miami Dolphins and his Cincinnati Bengals!

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Tua Tagovailoa

Cook chimes in with his look at the NFL Week 4 Thursday Night Football showdown between the surging Miami Dolphins and his Cincinnati Bengals!

Hi, hello and welcome to Week 4 of the National Football League! I don’t want to make a habit of these TNF exclusive columns, but this Thursday night has a game that deserves such treatment. The Miami Dolphins that have taken the league by storm over the first three weeks. They did a Butt Punt and still won in Week 3. The Cincinnati Bengals that won the AFC last season. They lost their first two games in inexcusable fashion, but came back strong against the New York Football Jets. This game needs the Cook Breakdown, so let’s get right to it! The line is via the Vegas Insider Consensus on Wednesday night.

Thursday, September 29

Miami at Cincinnati (-3.5)

I’ll be honest, as I am 95% of the time in this column. Some of these games will be difficult for me to talk about, as there are certain teams in the NFL that don’t really stoke my interest. Dolphins vs. Bengals on THURSDAY NIGHT IS FOOTBALL NIGHT has all of the things going on. The Miami Dolphins have been the biggest surprise of the first three weeks. Early returns seem to show that Tyreek Hill was the most important cog of the Chiefs offense in recent years. Miami even managed to beat the Bills last week after executing the rarely seen Butt Punt, which is pretty amazing since the media told me Buffalo wouldn’t lose a game this season. They’re a dangerous team with a lot of tools, even if Tua Tagovailoa got hit on his head and somehow ended up with a back/ankle injury in the process.

Everything reported about the Tua injury smells like BS to me. Since he had trouble walking off the field after getting hit in the head, his ankle must have been injured too. OK. That ankle is why he fell down, sure. All I know is that the Dolphins will make sure Tua is on the field Thursday night whether he’s 100% or not. This is a big week for them, as its a chance to defeat the defending AFC Champions on their home turf. A victory here would further solidify the Dolphins in the eyes of football fans. Tyreek vs. Eli Apple seems like a handicap match to me, especially with Tyreek having revenge for last year on his mind.

Vegas obviously thinks that the Bengals got right against the Jets. They also know that the Bengals will be working the White Tiger gimmick, with White Bengal helmets. Isaac Curtis & Willie Anderson will be inducted into the Bengals Ring of Honor. In case you’re not as familiar with Bengal lore as I am, allow me to explain. Curtis was the first great Bengal wide receiver, before Chad Johnson, Cris Collinsworth, A.J. Green and all the folks you see these days. Anderson was the second great Bengal offensive tackle after Anthony Munoz. He got a bunch of Pro Bowl slots and would have gotten more earlier in his career if voters didn’t ignore the Bengals at that time. We’re talking two Cincinnati Bengal living legends here. We’re also talking about some awesome helmets. I know opinion on the Bengals helmets is divisive out in the unwashed masses, but to me the Bengal stripes are iconic. Switch the orange out for white, and it’s a unique look.

I would love to tell you that the Bengals got right against the Jets and are ready to make another run. It’s especially tempting now that Tua is whatever he is. But the Dolphins still have a ton of talent ready to go, and if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that if the Bengals end up against a backup QB they will make that man look good. The Dolphins’ backup? Teddy Bridgewater.

Football fans have varying opinions on whether one should support their college players against their pro teams. My man Hodge immediately cuts off all of his Big 10 favorites once they don’t get drafted by the Bears. Me, I’m a little more sentimental. Louisville has their peaks & valleys when it comes to producing NFL talent. There are some Cardinals I don’t get attached to, and some I do. Lamar Jackson is one for me. Yes, he plays for an AFC North rival, but I still love him like I imagine one loves a son and want him to do well. He gave me too many positive memories. Teddy Bridgewater is in that same boat for me. He’s such a wonderful person that everybody seems to love. Maybe he didn’t become a top notch NFL quarterback, but he established himself as one of those backups that can stay in the league for years. If the Bengals play against him, I can’t bring myself to root against him, even if he’s against the pro team I grew up rooting for. Some of you won’t understand this, others will smell what I’m cooking.

I’m hoping that the Bengals get a win here and turn their season around in a big way. But I see what the Dolphins are doing, and can’t bet against them down more than a field goal on a wild Thursday night game.

Week 3 Results: 7-8-1
Overall Results: 22-25-1


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