In advance of the Titans-Texans game, I asked award-winning sports columnist John McClain of the Houston Chronicle to respond to five questions, and he was gracious enough to respond. I respect his brutal honesty (the Houston Texans are ranked 31st on his power rankings list), and he certainly pulls no punches in response to my questions.
TT: After being picked by many observers to make the playoffs in 2009, the Texans have quickly deflated the hopes of its fans. What, at the heart of it, is wrong with this franchise?
McClain: Nothing’s wrong with the franchise. They went 8-4 last season after an 0-4 start, including 5-1 stretch. They beat the Titans for the first time in seven games. They played a terrible game in a 24-7 loss to the Jets. They were horrible. It’s one game.
TT: Seems to me that team management is always a step slow in addressing the team’s biggest weakness. Currently, the Texans need to improve its secondary, and Dunta Robinson isn’t happy with his contract. How would you assess Houston’s defensive backfield?
McClain: Top heavy at cornerback and mediocre at safety. They’ve got six corners who can play, but only Robinson has played well in the past. They have two rookies in Glover Quin and Brice McCain, who will play against the Titans, and a second-year CB who was drafted in the third round last year, Antwaun Molden, who’ll play special teams.
TT: Did the Texans give up on David Carr too soon? Tony Boselli’s injury and the lack of quality offensive linemen weren’t his fault. He appeared to do what the new regime asked him to do in 2005, although his quarterback rating wasn’t that great.
McClain: He was terrible, and they should have gotten rid of him a year earlier. They ruined him early in his career. He’s where he should be — a backup.
TT: You are brutally honest (and quite entertaining) in your assessment of the Texans, especially after the team loses. How does the organization treat you?
McClain: The same way the Titans treat me, fair, because I’m fair to them. Teams know when they’re bad. You don’t have to be a skunk to know when something stinks.
TT: What happens to Vince Young after this season?
McClain: I think he’ll be waived, and he’ll sign a one-year deal for the minimum with another team that has a coach who thinks he might be able to develop him. It won’t be the Texans.