The Texan trap
First of all, let me again apologize to those of you who did not receive a response to your e-mail. Believe me, I read several hundred of them this week, and I appreciate you taking the time to send your thoughts. As the season flows into crunch time, Patriots fans are sensing another post-season is around the corner. What's noticeable is the popularity around this team from not only New England, but transplanted Patriots fans around the country and abroad. It is staggering.
We had a wide range of questions this week from the aftermath of the Bill Bowl to great concern about Ken Walter's punting, to those of you reveling in the failures of Drew Bledsoe, Lawyer Milloy and Tom Donahoe, and the many great responses to a story I wrote last week about Tyrone Poole's spirituality.
We also had a few E-mailers who wanted to correct a letter from a fellow in Maryland who claimed Colts offensive lineman Ryan Diem had a neo-Nazi tattoo on his right shoulder, when indeed, as the E-mailers correctly pointed out, it was a tattoo of Diem's alma mater, Northern Illinois. Having spent a couple of days with the Colts this week here in Indianapolis, I have seen the tattoo and confirm the Northern Illinois insignia.
The Texans are up. When you think of this team you immediately think trap game for the Patriots. Now a team in its second year shouldn't put up much of a fuss against New England, but the Texans did beat Miami in Miami, beat Carolina, and they beat Buffalo at Orchard Park. This is a rising team with nothing to lose.
"This team right here (the Texans) is the type of team that scares you because they play big in big games. They beat Carolina. They beat Buffalo, which is something we didn't do. They beat Miami. They seem like they know the AFC East pretty well," said Patriots cornerback Ty Law.
Added Coach Bill Belichick about the fact that the Patriots lost to the Bills in Orchard Park, 31-0 and the Texans beat the Bills there, 12-10: "We've gone into Buffalo and we didn't get much done there offensively. Houston went in there and did a lot more than we did. We respect their performance against Buffalo and beating a team like Carolina who was 6-1. Cincinnati and the Jets, the Texans are one or two plays away from winning those games. It's a good football team with an experienced staff and an experienced defense and a lot of young explosive players on the offensive side of the ball and the kicking game."
They play a similar 3-4 defense to the Patriots, and this week they'll have veteran Tony Banks quarterbacking. Banks is mobile and can throw deep. Rookie wide receiver Andre Johnson is an exciting receiver. Greg Randall is the Texans' starting right tackle and is playing very well. The Patriots traded him to the Texans in the offseason for a fifth-round pick which wound up being BC center Dan Koppen. So, a fair swap for both teams. Continued...