Posted on: November 29, 2008 5:38 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2008 5:39 pm

Off Topic: What Is Wrong With America

I did my best to keep politics off this blog. One way or another, i have managed to keep this about sports, with every blog I post.
And maybe I can even make this relate to sports.
Yes, I can.
Because greed is what this is about. Selfishness is what this is about. And sports has its share of greed and selfishness.
But ask yourself after reading this news article:
Who are we to say anyone else is selfish and greedy? When we are willing to kill someone to be the first person in line with an item on sale?
This is something that quite honestly shames me to call myself an American.
Folks, we really need to reexamine our priorities because, even though this death is an isolated event. the attitude that led to this death is not. This was not about inadequate security but about a group of shoppers so consumed with their own wants and desires that they transformed themselves into subhumanoids with despicable behavioral tactics and thoughts.
Have we really sunk this low as a society?
Category: General
Tags: Black Friday
Posted on: November 27, 2008 10:36 am
Edited on: November 27, 2008 10:40 am

Give Thanks

Today is Thanksgiving Day. Giving thanks is what today is all about. Big things and small. And as it relates to sports.
So many times, we envy professional athletes, especially the money they make. But, those lives come with a heavy price. And, I give thanks that I've never had to pay that price.
I am thankful that, when I am Earl Campbell's age, I won't be in near tears because of how much pain I will be in just trying to get out of bed to go to the bathroom at 2 in the morning.
I am thankful that I have never been shot multiple times and then had to have my leg amputated. Richard Collier is only 27 years old and is now missing a leg.
I am thankful I have never woken up and had burglars in my house who were armed. Sean Taylor wasn't that fortunate.
I am thankful I can go to a restaurant and sit down and eat a meal without having my picture taken and being mobbed by total strangers.
I am thankful that my body never hurt so bad due to the job I do that I became addicted to painkillers or that I was forced to use other drugs just to have the ability to be competitive with the other athletes doing the same thing.
I am thankful that I have never been in an incident at my work that has left my paralyzed, like Kevin Everett was, or with an eye injury or needing my knee scoped or needing any type of surgery.
I am thankful that these athletes have paid that price to provide me with entertainment and escape from the real world.
And I am thankful that I have another year of pro sports to look forwards to.
Category: General
Tags: Thanksgiving
Posted on: November 26, 2008 7:03 am

A Real Christmas Present

“A lot of people [in Galveston] just pretty much lost everything, and to help them have a Thanksgiving, I think it’s very great. They can have a smile on their face on Thanksgiving." - Andre Johnson

Now's the time when we start thinking about the holidays. Some of us would think about what we want for Christmas. Some of us will think about how will we be able to afford what kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, husbands, wives etc want for Christmas. Tomorrow we will sit around with relatives (some we might not really care for) and eat food and watch football and think about how nice it will be not to see some of these people for another year.

Will we think about the fact that some people will not have a Thanksgiving or a Christmas?

Thanks to Hurricane Ike, many people lost everything. Their homes. Their security. Their hope. Last week, three Houston Texans tried to give some of that back. Johnson teamed with DeMeco Ryans and Dunta Robinson in donating 750 Thanksgiving meals to families in need. During their “Giving Thanks With Andre, DeMeco & Dunta” event across the street from Reliant Stadium, the players packaged and distributed turkeys along with soft drinks, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls and browniesThey were joined by a few teammates, the Texans cheerleaders and TORO (the Texans mascot) as well as volunteers from H-E-B and Texas State University. Frenchy’s Chicken provided refreshments for the workers during the three-hour-long event.

Johnson and Ryans hosted a similar event last year, donating groceries to 200 families prior to Thanksgiving. They approached Robinson about joining their efforts, and he was happy to join them and help provide Thanksgiving meals for more than triple the amount of families this year.

“We’ve become a part of Houston and a part of this community,” Robinson said. “Houston has been through a lot with the storm coming through a couple of months ago, so we know for this time of the year, a lot of people are in need. And we’re happy to be able to come out here and do our part.”

“We can definitely relate to this,” Ryans said. “[As kids], we were in families that didn’t have much. But when people came around to help, we were appreciative of the help we got from other people. It just shows how people working together can do a lot of things and can help each other.”

The Lady Texans, a group comprised of Houston Texans spouses and female front office members, teamed with HEB to help raise money to feed families for the Thanksgiving holiday. The Lady Texans presented a check for $5,697.00 after their first-ever Lady Texans Turkey Drive. All proceeds from the event will go to purchase turkeys for area families in need through Target Hunger, an affiliate of the United Way. The funds will help to feed more than 350 Houston families that otherwise would not have had a meal this holiday season.

That brings me to a 7-year old boy from Bolivia named Fernando Veizaga. Fernando lives on the plains of Minero, home to approximately 13,000 residents. Typical houses are constructed of cement with corrugated iron roofs. The regional diet consists of bananas, bread, cassava, beef, plantains and rice. Common health problems in this are include malnutrition, parasites and colds. Most adults in Minero work on plantations or as taxi drivers and earn the equivalent of $87 per month. Fernando's parents are separated and he lives with his mother who sometimes is employed. There are so many interesting things about Bolivia. January is their heat wave month and July is their cold weather month. Many Bolivians who attend school only go for six years. It is considered a privilege to have an educated person in the family.

But the most important thing about Fernando Veizaga is that he is now my own personal Christmas present. Through an organization called Compassion, I am now sponsoring Fernando.

Many times we applaud stories about pro athletes who take the time to give to charity or do other things for the community. Other times we criticize them for wasting money "making it rain" in a night club when that money could be used for better things. But then what do we do ourselves? The truth of the matter is that the poorest poor person in the United States has it better than the families of those like Fernando Veizaga. And I am far from being that bad off.

It's easy to sit back and complain about anything. Whether it be the economy or the play calling, the president or the head coach, the weather or the trunovers, but so many things we complain about we really have such little impact on. But there are so many things we do have an impact on that we can do to better ourselves and the world around us. Whether it be a sick neighbor in need of some yard work or a fund raiser to help students improve their educational opportunities, we can do something.

Kudos to all the professional athletes who are doing something positive this week and the next month to encourage the spirit of the holidays. But you don't have to be Andre Johnson to feed someone who won't eat tomorrow otherwise. Even a Toxic Blogger can pitch in and help.

(sources: , )



Category: General
Tags: Charity, Holidays
Posted on: November 18, 2008 12:47 pm

Vote For Slaton

“I think they’ll bring him out there at some point this week and let him throw the ball around, set his feet. But I guess I’m beginning to think and feel more confident that he will play this year.”  - Gary Kubiak on Matt Schaub

Quarterback Matt Schaub will be throwing this week in practice, but Kubiak expects another two weeks beforew he might play again. You’re talking about six weeks right now, so I’m sure hoping that a couple of weeks from now, we’re very close to getting him back on the football field.”

While the Texans were able to fing a running game against the Indianapolis Colts, the defense did not do the job the players or Kubiak believes it can do.  “I just think we’ve found ways to break down, whether it’s breaking down assignment-wise (or) breaking down not tackling well yesterday in the second half,” Kubiak said. “Obviously, as coaches, we can always do a better job. " Dunta Robinson thought blown assignments were a problem as well. “It was sloppy by the defense,” Robinson said. “We didn’t play well, especially in the second half. A lot of mistakes, a lot of blown assignments—so, things that we shouldn’t be doing, things that we do over and over in practice and it’s still going on.”

The Texans are still searching for their first road win of 2008. "First off, it’s tough to win on the road in the National Football League, regardless of where you’re playing. If you’re not playing well, it makes it even tougher. We’ve had our opportunities this year. We had an opportunity at Jacksonville. We had an opportunity yesterday. We had a bunch of opportunities at Tennessee early in the year, but it usually comes down to how you’re playing. Turnovers have been a big part of our problems on the road, not so (much) yesterday until the last few minutes, but you’ve got to play exceptional on the road. You’ve got to play clean. You’ve got to play exceptional and get a few breaks, and we haven’t done that, so no excuses,” Kubiak said.

Kubiak also denied that facing a suspect run defense against the Colts is why the Texans focused on the running game more this week on offense.  “No. I think, first off, it’s part of the formula to winning against that football team. There’s no doubt about that. And I’ve said this before, I think we’ve gotten out of running the ball some because we got behind in some football games and we’ve played some teams that are very good against the run, when I go back and think about Minnesota and Baltimore. The Giants did a good job yesterday (against Baltimore), but that’s not important. But we’ve gotten ourselves behind and had to throw the ball more than we’d like to. Yesterday, we stuck to our game plan and, like I said, if you get in that dome and all of a sudden, whether you’re down by 10 or whether you’re down by seven and you start throwing every down – and we threw it 20 times; we caught 20 passes; we end up throwing it 18 times and still had a couple of tough plays, a couple of sacks and a ball knocked out on the quarterback – but bad things are going to happen to you against that football team. So that was the formula for yesterday. Obviously, it wasn’t enough, but would I like to see our football team run the ball as much as we did yesterday? Yes, I would.”

Kubiak also praised the play of Steve Slaton (more on him later). Well, first off, there’s talk about a lot of rookies in this league, but this kid has got to be having as fine a season as anybody around. Man, he was thrown into the fire in Week 2. It’s not like we brought him along slowly. We threw a lot on his plate, and he has really responded, even responded to the point where he got worn down, which I think we talked about that enough. But he was fresh yesterday. He looked like his old self. There’s still a lot of football to play this year, but he’s putting up some very good numbers. When you average 11 yards a carry in this league, I don’t care where you play or where it happens, that’s a special day. It’s sad because he had a special day as a player, it’s a shame we couldn’t hand him a (game) ball and win a football game.” Dunta Robinson also had nothing but praise for the rookie. “You’re watching a special talent. For a long time, since Domanick Davis went down, we haven’t had a running back with big-play ability. That’s what he brings to the table. He can break any run and he can take it the distance. That’s what you saw yesterday.”

As for the Vote For Slaton Campaign:

Slaton was nominated for the NFLPLAYERS.COM’s Rookie of the Week award for the fourth time this season and will be trying to win it for the second time. He won the award the first time the Texans and Colts played this season. You can vote for Slaton at .


Category: NFL
Posted on: November 17, 2008 1:36 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2008 10:37 pm

Third And Manning

"We had a good effort. We came up a couple of plays short, and it was very disappointing. We are going to keep battling. That effort today, you can win some games in this league." - Gary Kubiak.

For the second time this season, the Houston Texans gave the Indianapolis Colts a gigantic scare. And for the secone time this season, scare was the best the Texans could do as they wound up on the short end of a 33-27 loss in what may have been yesterday's most exciting game. The loss dropped the Texans to 3-7 and puts a dark cloud over an amazing performance by Steve Slaton. Slaton carried the ball 15 times for a team rookie-record 156 yards, including a 71-yard touchdwon run, the longest in team history.

But the difference in the ballgame was the Indianapolis Colts ability in the second half to move the chains on third down. 6 times in the second half, the Colts faced a third down. They converted 5 of them, their lone falied third down being at the end of the game with them already in field goal range. When it was 3rd and 7, Peyton Manning would find Dallas Clark for 9 yards.  If it was 3rd and 9, Manning would find Marvin Harrison for 10.

The Texans had done a good job of bend but don't break in the first half, holding the Colts to 3 field goals. But the Colts began to get their running game working, forcing the Texans to adjust. And that  played right into Manning's hands. “We started to get down into some eight-man fronts, and when we did that, they started picking us apart. Credit to Peyton and their football team and their patience," Kubiak said.

Still, the story of the game from the Texans' side is not so much the loss as it is the reemergence of Slaton. After complaining of fatigue and taking a rest in the blowout loss to the Ravens, the WVU product went wild against a Colts' defense that everyone knows is not one of the best at stopping the run. After facing the top two statistically run defenses in the past two weeks, this was also a break of sorts for the Texans' running game. “It definitely did help me to rest. You really don’t realize how much football I have played so far just being a rookie now. I think last week definitely did help me," Slaton said.

The Texans also did a very good job of protecting the football, up until Sage Rosenfels threw an interception in the final minute. That possession produced two plays where I do have to ask why they tried to force plays. Trailing 33-27 with 1:47 left and no timeouts, the Texans began their last chance at their own 24 yard line. Rosenfles then completed a 12 yard pass to David Anderson. Then, instead of wasting the next first down and spiking the ball to stop the clock, the Texans tried to hurry up and run another play. The result was a sack.Anderson a couple plays later would catch another pass, a 14-yard gain, that gave the Texans a first down at their own 48. Again, instead of coming to the line and spiking the ball, they tried to force another play and that play turned out to be the interception that ended the game. I don't know if that decision is made by Kubiak or Rosenfels but that's what spiking the ball is for. That's why you do it on first down. It still gives you three plays to move the chains and allows you the luxury of getting your offense ready to run a play without having to force anything.

Other than that, I can't complain about the offensive performance in this game.

As for the defense, I'm giving them a mulligan for the 33 points allowed. After all, that was Peyton Manning on the other side of the line of scrimmage.

 (sources: CBS Sportsline,

Category: NFL
Posted on: November 16, 2008 8:31 am
Edited on: November 16, 2008 3:49 pm

Hating To Love To Hate

There is this 20-something year old female I chat with who lives in Detroit. Like most people in Detroit, she has become ambivalent towards the Lions, frustrated with the Tigers and on the Red Wings bandwagon. But her team is the Pistons! Sometimes, just get a rise out of her, I'll smack talk the Pistons. It usually works. I swear sometimes I can look into my computer and see smoke coming from her ears.

Now, it's more than just smoke. There are some serious flames coming out of her red hair.

You see, Chauncey Billups was her favorite Piston. To make matters worse, she detests Allen Iverson. And, not only have the Pistons traded Billups for Iverson, they gave Iverson Billups' jersey number!

This woman is fit to be tied! She has already told me that she's rooting for the Nuggets this year.

She's not the only fan to have this type of reaction. I'm sure we've all read the stories of sports bars in Wisconsin where patrons will enter wearing #4 Jets' jerseys and demand the tv be changed to the Jets game, even though the Packers are playing. There is major discontent in Cheesehead Country now that Brett is a Jet.

I'm going to turn the forum over to you, the reader. Has there ever been an instance where your team did something that angered you so badly that you rooted for them to lose?

I'll give you a personal example that happened to me years ago. When I was in junior high, I was Luv Ya Blue true to the Houston Oilers. Then, after a third straight trip to the playoffs ended with a loss to the eventual Super Bowl Champions, the Oilers fired Bum Phillips. I was so angry, I wanted them to go 0-16 the next year. They didn't. I think they went 7-9. Shortly thereafter, Bum was hired by the Saints and I started rooting for them. They are, to this day, my second favorite team behind the Texans.

Has a favorite player ever been traded away or favorite coach ever been fired that made you so mad you wanted your team to be lousy as a form of retribution? Or have you ever become a fan of another team because your favorite player or coach went there? Or maybe your team hired a coach or signed a player you detest so much that it turned your stomach trying to root for him? As a backup Saints fan, I still cringe at trying to cheer for Jeremy Shockey.

The Toxic One would like to hear from you.

Posted on: November 15, 2008 10:15 am

Rookies To Watch

When the Texans face the Colts, several rookies will be playing in key spots due to injuries or their own progressions. Steve Slaton and Duane Brown have already been alternating in and out of the starting lineups and now add linebacker Xavier Adibi to that mix. With injuries to Zac Diles and Morlon Greenwood, Adibi could be thrust into a starting role this week. "Sometimes these rookies, you know, they struggle and struggle and struggle and all of the sudden the light goes on. It sure looks like it’s trying to go on for him, so we’re expecting to see some good things out of him,” Kubiak said about Adibi.

 Kubiak also said that Dominique Barber and Antwaun Molden should see more snaps this week.

Molden keeps a rookie diary on He is a third-round draft choice out of Eastern Kentucky.

The Texans know one of the keys to this game is to establish the run. “There’s no secret that the teams that have beaten these guys have done a pretty good job of running the ball,” Sage Rosenfels said. “Running the ball does a couple of things. It keeps your offense on the field and obviously moving the ball but also keeps Peyton off the field. That’s as important as anything, because he can’t score many points when he’s on the sideline.”

In order to get that running game going, the Texans will be looking to Slaton to be ready to get some carries. “He’s got some of his legs back, which is what we were hoping for. He was really worn down last week. We were very concerned about him at the end of last week in practice, but in a good way. All you had to do was go back and look how much football he’s played and you’d know why. We backed off of him this week. We freshened him up. He’s been moving around pretty good and, of course, he looked a lot better to me,” Kubiak said.

DeMeco Ryans hopes the defense gets to use more blitzes against the Colts. "Anytime our number is called, we love it. It gives you no responsibilities – you’re just going as fast as you can through a gap and just blitzing, just trying to tear something up."

Indianapolis Colts beat writer Tom James of the Terre Haute (Ind.) Tribune-Star  predicted the Colts to win 28-17.


Category: NFL
Posted on: November 14, 2008 10:09 am
Edited on: November 14, 2008 10:10 am

Hard Work, Pressure Manning And Run The Football

"They only way you work out of stuff like this is to keep showing up for work everyday and keep busting your tail and playing hard and something good will happen to you." - Gary Kubiak

The Texans back-to-back losses have dropped them to 3-6 on the season, but don't expect them to just mail it in. The team is taking this approach and looking forwards to facing the Indianapolis Colts in a rematch of earlier this year when the Texans led 27-10 with 5 minutes left and lost 31-27. The Texans then reeled off three consecutive home wins before losing in Minnesota.

Look for the Texans to try and put pressure on Peyton Manning, something they were successful doing in Houston earlier this season. "We lined up and sat still until he was ready to go and for the most part, we hit him in the mouth. We just didn’t get a chance to finish the game,” Kevin Bentley said, when asked how the Texans reacted to Manning's many audibles and formation shifts and hand signals. Bentley recorded a sack in that game and Mario Williams got Manning twice. “I think people actually let him confuse them,” Bentley said. “He’s not very confusing.  It’s not really confusing if you know what he’s going to do. You know he’s going to do all of the hand movements and all of the chatter. You’ve just got to be able to sit through all of that and be ready to play when he’s ready to play.”

Look for Steve Slaton to get the start at running back but expect to see Ahman Green and Ryan Moats to get some carries as well. With Green able to play, the team is 3-3. When Green has missed games due to injury, the Texans are 0-3. “When he has been up, when he’s been healthy and been up and been a part of the rotation for this football team or when he was a starter for the first few weeks last year, this team played better,” coach Gary Kubiak said. “He’s got big-play ability. He’s a fine player. He’s very good in protection so it does make us better. But we’ve had to deal without him a lot, so that’s just part of it.” 

Moats has played in three games at running back and kick returner for the Texans and led the team with seven carries for 34 yards last Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. "He is a 100-percent-effort guy. He can make some people miss in small spaces, and we’re really happy to have him," said running backs coach Chick Harris.

Moats smiled when he was told how Harris described his all-out, all-the-time effort. “I guess that’s just the way I’ve been bred as far as when I run the ball, I run it,” he said. “I mean, if it’s a walkthrough, I can’t really ‘walk through.’ I know they laugh at me sometimes because I’m going 1,000 miles per hour even through a walkthrough, but I don’t know – there’s just something in my body that tells me, ‘Go,’ and when it’s time to go, I just go.”

The running game for the Texans will be a critical factor in their meeting with the Colts. One of the difficulties in the turnovers in the past two games has been the Texans lack of a running game facing the top two rushing defenses in the league, which was very damaging in both games in the red zone. At least two of Rosenfels' interceptions in the past two games have occurred in the end zone. The ability to run in those situations can only help rectify that problem.

Fittingly, the Texans are picked to lose this game. They are 0-4 on the road, they have lost back-to-back games and the Colts have put together a winning streak against a couple of tough opponents. But the Colts aren't the dominant team they have been in the past years and are vulnerable to being beat here.

The Texans have to get over 100 yards rushing, have to get some sacks on Manning and for crying out loud they have to win the turnover battle to overcome a playoff caliber team such as the Colts.

It can be done. That's how the Texans beat the Colts in 06.


Category: NFL
Tags: Colts, Texans
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or