I'm sure a few of you did a double take or at least had one eyebrow raise after reading this headline; what in the hell should we be thankful for with this garbage season? Obviously not their record, but that doesn't mean there aren't other reasons for Texans fans to give thanks.
J.J. Watt - How could you not be thankful to have the best defensive player in the NFL on your team? Especially after the news that Patrick Starr broke about a draft day trade that almost had the Texans selecting Patrick Peterson in 2011 instead of the reigning defensive player of the year. I like Peterson, but obviously I'd rather have Watt. Peterson is a very good corner, but a 3-4 end with the skills of Watt is a very rare thing. Watt had the best season ever from a defensive lineman last year, and despite not having the same eye popping stats this season, has still played at a first team All-Pro level. This season he leads the league in tackles for loss (17), is tied for 5th in forced fumbles, and tied for 7th in sacks (on pace for 14). He's the best defensive player in the league and is only 24 years old; hope the Texans have their cap in order before he is due a new contract.
Andre Johnson - Year after year he's one of the best receivers in the league; he's a human Timex. With five games remaining, Johnson already has 74 catches (Tied 2nd), 1,002 yards (4th), and five touchdowns. Ranking inside the top five in both receptions and yards is impressive, but when you factor in the quarterback play he's had to deal with and his age (32), it's pretty amazing. Unfortunately, the majority of his career has been wasted on bad teams, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy watching the man do work each Sunday. This season has been a drag, but make sure you enjoy watching him play and appreciate the talent and production level of Andre Johnson . He's on pace to finish (assuming health) in the top five on the career lists for both receptions and receiving yards. He'll be the first player in franchise history to be inducted into the Hall of Fame and we may never see a better receiver wearing a Texans' uniform.
Hitting Rock Bottom Will Force Change - It's never fun to watch your team lose in embarrassing fashion for nine straight weeks, but believe it or not there is a silver lining. Like alot of other fans, my thought after the Texans playoff loss at New England was that they had hit their ceiling with Gary Kubiak and Matt Schaub as their head coach and quarterback. We could all see the deficiencies from a mile away that were holding the team back with that duo leading the way, but I don't think Bob McNair did; until now.
While loyalty is an admirable quality, it has seemed to hurt McNair's ability to assess his team critically. I don't think more than a couple owners, if any, would have kept Kubiak on board after the 2010 season in which the Texans had the same record that they had four years earlier during Kubiak's first season as their head coach. The praise McNair gave the team for their "comeback" in the overtime loss to the Ravens on Monday Night Football in 2010 gave you a pretty good look into his mindset. McNair seems to suffer from, at least in his comments to the public, delusional optimism. His guys are his guys, he loves his guys, and he will give them every chance to succeed unless the need for change slaps him in the face and wakes him up. This season has been that slap in the face.
Most importantly, as painful as this season has been, make sure to keep things in perspective. For most, football is our favorite game, but it is still only a game. Use the holiday as an escape and excuse to forget about the Texans' failures for a couple of days.