'What, Me Worry?' (Yes, If You're 0-2 Texans)
Optimism is hard to come by and therefore appreciated, especially when it comes from my astute friend Peter King of NBC Sports.
But "optimism'' doesn't make 0-2 OK. Nor does "astuteness.''
"I think,'' Peter writes, "I wouldn’t fret too much about being 0-2 if I were a Texan. It’s a hole, of course, But honestly: Did you think the Texans would win at Kansas City? No one did. Did you think they’d beat a powerhouse Baltimore team, the same team that slapped them around 41-7 last year? Maybe a few thought they’d win, but that was a long shot, too.''
All true. The Texans were underdogs in both these games, and therefore 0-2 isn't "shocking.'' But 0-2 still sucks, and this 0-2 especially does, for three reasons. ...
1) As I point out here, teams that start 0-2 rarely rebound to an NFL Playoff berth. It's pretty much a 90-percent "no'' there.
2) Good teams need to beat good teams ... and the Texans entered 2020 believing they are a good team. ... one that is in the same class with the Chiefs and the Ravens.
King asks, essentially, "Did anybody really think Houston was going to beat the Chiefs or Ravens?'' And the answer inside the Texans headquarters damn well better be, "Yes. We did.''
As coach Bill O'Brien said on Monday, "No one goes into the game looking to lose. Everybody goes in there trying to do their best to win the game.''
It is therefore discouraging - in the standings and in the psyche - to be 0-2.
3) Coach Bill O’Brien's club didn't just lose two games; Houston got badly outclassed in both, and by the time we reached the end of the Ravens' manhandling, Texans watchers couldn't help but wonder about "effort'' and "intensity'' and "passion.''
READ MORE: Texans Lose: Back To The Drawing Board
The Texans have been 0-2 before; in fact, it's the second time in three years for them, and it doesn't always have to mean doom. Nor should it in any way mean "panic,'' which does no one any good.
Said O'Brien: “We’ve been in this position before, unfortunately. Many times we’ve gotten out of this position, but it’s a different year. We just have to improve in every area. That’s pretty much all I can tell you.''
So, no to "panic.'' But "worry''? I disagree with Peter when he writes, "After a sobering but understandable start, they head into three reasonable games: at Pittsburgh, then Minnesota and Jacksonville at home. If they’re 1-4 in three weeks, then it’s time to worry. But not yet.''
No 0-2 team has earned the right to view a game against, for instance, against the Steelers as "reasonable.'' Houston should be worried about Pittsburgh. Then it should be worried about the Vikings. Then it should be worried about the Jaguars ...
Oh, and the Texans might as well start worrying about catching Tennessee in the AFC South, too.
"What, me worry?'' Yeah, Houston Texans ... you.