Tag:Matt Leinart
Posted on: January 2, 2012 3:25 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 4:39 pm
 

Bum: Wade had tumor 'the size of a volleyball'

By Will Brinson

The Texans haven't revealed much about Wade Phillips health issue that left him sidelined for two of the team's final three games of the regular season, requesting that everyone respect Wade and his family's privacy. Well, Wade's family -- or, more specifically, his father Bum Phillips -- disclosed some details of Wade's condition recently.

According to Bob West of the Port Arther News, Bum, speaking at a Texas Bowl Gridirons Legend induction on Saturday, said that Wade had "a tumor the size of a volleyball that encompassed his kidney and his gall bladder, so he had them all taken out. He’s got a scar about this long."

Bum then, according to West, held up his hands "about a foot apart."

Bum's a friend of the old blog, so I'm not going to sit here and doubt whether or not his medical recollection is accurate. But I've sat here holding my arms in the shape of a volleyball up to my stomach and, well, it's bigger than me.

So is Wade, of course, and West writes that he's lost a lot of weight.

If Bum's description of Wade's condition is accurate -- or even close to accurate -- it's a good thing he had the surgery when he did, and it's kind of insane/impressive/terrifying that Wade's already back to coaching.


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Posted on: December 24, 2011 9:56 am
Edited on: December 24, 2011 10:09 am
 

Kubiak sticking with T.J. Yates as Texans starter

Yates will keep on starting for Houston despite his struggles. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson


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T.J. Yates was a heck of a story -- a rookie quarterback, drafted in the fifth round, the only Carolina quarterback to start an NFL game -- for a few weeks when the Texans were winning. Now, after two straight losses to the Panthers and Colts, he's the chief concern for the people of Houston.

But Gary Kubiak is riding out the rookie and said Friday that he's going to continue to start Yates over either Jake Delhomme or Jeff Garcia, both of whom were signed when Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart went down.

"Oh yeah, he’s done a lot of good things," Kubiak said when asked point-blank if Yates was starting. "I think T.J. continues to do some good things. I think he continues to get better, and like I said, for where we're heading here, he needs to continue to get better, and we just got to trust him and move forward."

The issue isn't so much Yates as it is the defense, however. The Texans have scored just 29 points in the last two games, but they've allowed 47 points after a stretch of seven-straight games where they didn't allow a team to score more than 20 points.

It shouldn't be considered a coincidence that this happened right after defensive coordinator Wade Phillips took a leave of absence (hey, maybe we should vote him for MVP!).

Yates' decision making needs to improve -- he fumbled against the Colts -- but it's not like he's making a pile of mistakes. Two interceptions against the Panthers were quite costly, but the Texans were losing and he still completed well over 50 percent of his passes. Against the Colts, Yates was 13 of 16.

The offense is more limited because a rookie quarterback's under center, but that's a pretty basic fact of life when you plug a young guy like Yates in with just a few weeks left in the season. The Texans wouldn't become an aerial assault team just because Delhomme or Garcia started taking snaps.

A simpler solution that would've kept these issues from surfacing? Stopping Dan Orlavsky from driving 78 yards in less than two minutes.

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Posted on: December 14, 2011 10:38 am
Edited on: December 14, 2011 3:17 pm
 

Wade Phillips takes 'medical leave of absence'

By Will Brinson

The Texans remarkable defensive turnaround in 2011 has a lot of people talking about Wade Phillips and how he deserves another head coaching chance. Unfortunately, people are talking about Phillips on Wednesday for a different reason, as Texans defensive coordinator will miss the next few weeks for as he undergoes surgery for what the team describes a kidney condition.

According to the Texans, Phillips "will take a medical leave of absence due to a scheduled surgical procedure later this week." Houston's press release also states that Phillips "is expected to return later this season."

"It's not life-threatening," Phillips said Wednesday. "There's no chemotherapy involved ... I don't want to get into it. It's not a vasectomy, in case you wondered."

The Texans made ridiculous strides defensively this season, going from the league's worst defense in 2010 to a top-five unit in 2011. Rightfully so, Philips gets most of the credit for that success.

"We're playing good defense all over," linebacker DeMeco Ryans said recently. "Of course it feels good, to be able to get out there and stop some people. You're definitely not worried about people scoring on you because you know everybody is being accountable. Everybody's holding up their end and knowing what they're supposed to do, so you're comfortable when you're out there."

There's no mention of what type of surgical procedure Phillips will have, but the timing of this is surprising to say the least -- the Texans clinched the playoffs last week and welcome the Panthers to Houston Sunday for their first of three remaining games.

Linebackers coach Reggie Herring will take over the defense while Phillips is gone.

"This is a system," Herring said Wednesday. "I've been raised under Wade Phillips for the last 4 years. "I feel very confident about this. We have a lot of things to finish. We have a lot to play for."

"We've got to make sure Wade's health comes first and get this taken care of so we can move forward," Kubiak told Panthers reporters on a conference call Wednesday morning.

For as much as the Texans have been through in 2011 -- losing Mario Williams, dealing with an Arian Foster injury, dealing with an Andre Johnson injury, losing Matt Schaub and then Matt Leinart, for starters -- having Phillips sidelined might be the most debilitating loss of them all. He's been critical in turning around the Texans defense in 2011 and if there was an award for top assistant in the NFL, a sure-fire lock to win.

Hopefully he'll be healthy when the playoffs role around.

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Posted on: December 6, 2011 6:08 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2011 7:17 pm
 

Texans cut Kellen Clemens, will sign Jeff Garcia

The Houston rookie QB is suddenly surrounded by old-timers. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

In the span of a few weeks, the Houston Texans have gone from having a top-10 quarterback and a quality veteran backup, to starting a rookie and signing former players in various stages of retirement to provide depth behind him.

The latest in the Texans' geriatric version of musical wheelchairs, via CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Brandon Williams: "Quarterback Kellen Clemens was waived (and the team) plans to sign QB Jeff Garcia, the Houston Chronicle reports. Garcia last appeared in the NFL with the Eagles in 2009 and has since played with Omaha in the UFL. Garcia will be the third quarterback behind rookie T.J. Yates and Jake Delhomme." 

The Texans had plenty of questions heading into the season, chief among them how Wade Phillips would fix one of the league's worst defenses. An area that no one was worried about: quarterback.

Matt Schaub, entering his fifth year in Houston, had quietly entered the elite QB conversation. He threw for at least 4,300 yards in 2009 and 2010, completing at least 64 percent of his passes over that time (including 53 TDs, 27 INTs). And then, 10 games into 2011, Schaub suffered a foot injury that landed him on injured reserve.

No problem, though; veteran backup Matt Leinart, a former Heisman winner and first-round pick, would lean heavily on the running game and the Texans' defense would do the rest. Except that Leinart didn't make it to halftime of his first start before he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.

So now it's the T.J. Yates show, with understudies Delhomme (36) and Garcia (41), who have a combined 22 seasons of experience between them. Both players came into the NFL in 1999; Delhomme led the Panthers to the Super Bowl following the 2003 season, and Garcia took two teams to the playoffs on four occasions (2000-02 49ers, 2007 Bucs).

In Week 13, Yates became the first University of North Carolina alum to start an NFL game at quarterback and he helped the Texans beat the Falcons. The plan, at least for now, is for Yates to continue to play with Delhomme and Garcia backing him up, in that order.  

The Texans weren't done signing old-timers; with punter Brett Hartmann on injured reserve with an ACL injury, Houston inked Matt Turk, 43, who was a fan favorite during a previous stint with the team from 2007-10.

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Posted on: November 29, 2011 5:15 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2011 8:53 am
 

Report: Texans to sign QB Jake Delhomme

Delhomme could be Houston's newest quarterback. (Getty Images/AP/US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The Texans placed quarterback Matt Schaub on injured reserve last week. On Sunday, they lost backup Matt Leinart to a broken collarbone. Instead of going through the rest of the season with backup to the backup, T.J. Yates, Houston will signed veteran Jake Delhomme after a Tuesday workout, NFL Network's Jason La Canfora reports.

The Texans had already signed former Jets second-round pick Kellen Clemens after losing Schaub for the season. Delhomme becomes the latest addition to the new-look Houston quarterbacks now that they're without Leinart (who also appears headed for injured reserve).

Delhomme spent seven seasons with the Carolina Panthers and led them to the 2003 Super Bowl (they lost to the Patriots) and the 2008 NFC Divisional game (another loss, this time to the Cardinals). The Browns signed Delhomme to be their starter in 2010, but injuries and an unwieldy contract led to his release after the season.

There was some speculation that he might be in demand as a mentor, perhaps reuniting with John Fox in Denver to help groom Tim Tebow (turns out, Tebow doesn't need any help).

And earlier this season, the Dolphins were reportedly interested in signing Delhomme (he passed).

At 8-3, the Texans are the AFC's top team. And despite losing its Nos. 1 and 2 signal callers, should have little trouble making the playoffs. That said, the expectations once they get there were pretty much dashed when Leinart followed Schaub to IR.

The Texans are in their 10th year of existence and have never qualified for the postseason. They're only winning campaign came in 2009 when they went 9-7. Seventh-year head coach Gary Kubiak was in danger of losing his job after last year's disappointing 6-10 effort, but he was retained. And right up until they lost Schaub, Houston was considered a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

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Posted on: November 29, 2011 1:00 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 1:00 pm
 

Coach Killers, Week 12: beware of untested QBs

Coach Killers is your weekly look around the league at those performances, decisions and "Wait, what did he just do?!" moments that put the guy in charge squarely on the ol' hot seat.

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Steve Johnson, Bills

First things first: we have absolutely no issue with Stevie Johnson's touchdown skit. Up till the moment he fell to the ground, at which point it became a 15-yard penalty for excessive celebration. Prior to that, it was original and funny, two things we could use more of in the staid environs of Roger Goodell's NFL.

We can't take our eyes off the cousin Eddie-inspired dickie.
In fact, the biggest travesty -- outside of the way Johnson played on the final drive -- was the mock incredulity and sanctimony from folks who found the dance offensive (Looks at Bob Costas, who we've taken to calling "Sprockets" after that black mock turtleneck number from Sunday night) because Johnson was making fun of Plaxico Burress, who accidentally shot himself in the leg three years ago.

Here's the thing: Plax shot himself in the leg three years ago. It's not like Johnson was making fun of someone with a special-needs child, or a cancer survivor. He was clowning a dude who carried a gun to a night club, and inadvertently put a bullet in his thigh.

Oh, he also served nearly two years for the incident, on concealed weapons charges.


Buffalo Bills WR Stevie Johnson mocks Plaxico Burress' gun incident during a touchdown celebration against the New York Jets on Sunday.

To recap: Johnson's TD dance: hilarious. Getting a 15-yard penalty: not hilarious. Dropping a perfect pass from Fitzpatrick on the Bills' last drive, one that would've given the Bills the lead: unacceptable, especially if you're going to mock the opposition.

Johnson apologized immediately after the game, which doesn't change the final score.

"I was just having fun, and part of having fun ended up being a penalty and a touchdown for the Jets," he said. "It was a stupid decision by myself."

Head coach Chan Gailey, doing everything in his power not to blow a gasket with the cameras rolling, said "I think it was wrong. I told him so. What I hate is that game is remembered for his one action rather than a lot of good things he did in the game. I told him where I stand on it, and he knows exactly."

When asked about possible sanctions against Johnson, Gailey added: "If I were to discipline everybody (for dumb mistakes), there wouldn't be any players or coaches out there. Everybody makes mistakes."

On Monday, ESPN's Merril Hoge went so far as to suggest that Gailey should cut Johnson for his selfish behavior. That ain't happening because despite Johnson's horrible timing, as ProFootballTalk.com's Michael David Smith pointed out on Monday's Pick-6 Podcast, Johnson is one of the few players who made Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis look human in coverage.


Burress, for his part, seemed unaffected by Johnson's end zone interpretive dance.

"I've seen worse, and I've heard worse," said Burress, who spent nearly two years in an upstate New York prison. "So, it doesn't bother me at all. The result I'm looking at is we won the football game ... and he turned around and dropped three wide-open balls to lose it for his team."

Curtis Painter, Colts

At this point, 11 games into the season and still searching for their first win, we're probably piling on. But the Colts don't have to be oh-fer-'11. Not only did they look like a proper football team against the Panthers Sunday, they had a legitimate chance to win an actual football game.

And then Curtis Painter, unable to get out of his own way, derailed those plans with two ill-timed throws -- both interceptions -- during a four-minute span late in the fourth quarter with Indianapolis trailing by eight points.

The first pick came at the Carolina four-yard line with four and a half minutes to go. After the Colts' defense forced a three-and-out, Painter led an 11-play drive that ended with another interception, this time in the Panthers' end zone with 35 seconds remaining.

It's impossible to imagine a scenario that would have Indy sitting at 0-11, even without Peyton Manning. And yet here we are. Painter Bears little of the responsibility for the organization's current predicament; that falls squarely at the feet of Bill Polian and Chris Polian, the architects of the current roster. That doesn't make the latest loss any easier to take.

"I don't know what you can call beyond frustrated," defensive end Robert Mathis said, via the Indianapolis Star.

And head coach Jim Caldwell, who could be looking for work after the season, leaned on feel-good bromides to get him through the latest defeat.

"You can't complain after the ballgame's over," he said. "You've just got to find a way to make it happen. …One of the things you'd like to do is give yourself a chance to win, that you're there at the end and it's just a matter of a play made here or there. I think we did that, but our goal is to win."

If you say so, Jim. We're guessing in your end-of-year meeting with owner Jim Irsay, aspiring to win won't be enough.

Caleb Hanie, Bears

There were certainly worse performance in Week 12, but the absolute worst play, in our estimation, had to be Hanie's delayed fake spike with seconds on the clock and the Bears trailing by five points. The thing is, a delayed fake spike isn't like your run-of-the-mill spike to stop the clock. Turns out, it's intentional grounding. Either you can fake the spike and throw the ball (made famous by Dan Marino), or, you know, actually spike it and stop the clock.

                                           HOW TO vs. HOW NOT TO PROPERLY EXECUTE THE FAKE SPIKE


‘‘We didn’t have any fakes or anything like that,’’ Hanie said afterwards. ‘‘That was just my fault." Forced into duty after Jay Cutler broke his thumb against the Chargers, Hanie also threw three first-half interceptions, which lead to this post-game observation. "It's just not a good time to have a learning experience."

Not helping Hanie's chances for success: offensive coordinator Mike Martz, the man who said he had no intentions of asking Hanie to be Kurt Warner (we thought that went without saying). Martz, it turns out, also had no intentions of crafting a game plan for an inexperienced backup.

Our good buddy Matt Snyder, CBSSports.com's Eye on Baseball blogger and diehard Bears fan, was pretty worked up with Hanie's third interception. Not because it happened near the Raiders' end zone, or that it resulted in three Oakland points before the half, but because Martz had Hanie sprint right before throwing a screen pass to his left across the field. It's not an easy play for veterans well-versed in the offense, never mind a kid making his first NFL start.

Tyler Palko, Chiefs

One word to describe Palko's play the last two weeks: mesmerizing. Clearly, we don't mean that in a "Stop what you're doing, Devin Hester's about to return a punt!" way. More like "Stop what you're doing, spectacular train wreck ahead." And Palko didn't disappoint. He's left-handed, and his throwing motion is reminscent of Tim Tebow's. The difference? Tebow has eight touchdowns to one interception. Palko has six picks in two games. Tebow also has better arm strength and is more accurate.

Tebow also doesn't blame his intended target whenever a pass invariably finds the unintended target, which is exactly what Palko did on three separate occasions Sunday night against the Steelers. It's one thing for a receiver to run the wrong route, or for miscommunication to lead to mistakes. But you watch these throws (here and here) and tell me how anybody but Palko is at fault.

But it was the Chiefs' final offensive play that proved to be the worst. Trailing 13-9 and with about 30 seconds to go, Kansas City was driving. And then Palko happened. Yep, another pick, this time to Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis. After the play, NBC color analyst Cris Collinsworth thought Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe quit on the play.

You can judge for yourself below, but here's what we're thinking: the ball was so horribly off-target that Bowe went up, realized that he had absolutely no chance to get a finger on it much less catch it, and decided to protect himself. We have no problem with that. Bowe's career shouldn't hinge on the erratic whims of Palko's arm. As NFL Network's Deion Sanders pointed out Sunday night, Palko's the type of quarterback the opposing team make sure gets to the game. "You send a limo for him," Primetime said.


Palko's third and final interception Sunday night. Yep, that was his fault, too.

Facial Hair Fails

This has absolutely nothing to do with job security, but we noticed a sudden influx of mustachioed NFL players (or in Ricky Stanzi's case, hippies) over the weekend. (Click photos to see our best guess at their inspirations.)


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Posted on: November 28, 2011 6:43 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 9:51 pm
 

Yates to start, Kubiak won't 'rule out anybody'

Posted by Will Brinson



Earlier Monday we learned that injured Houston quarterback Matt Schaub was fully behind (former) third-string rookie T.J. Yates and his ability to succeed as a starter with the Texans. Even better news came out late Monday afternoon: coach Gary Kubiak is on board with Yates as well.

Kubiak confirmed on Monday that Yates would start for the Texans in Week 13 and also confirmed that Matt Leinart is out for the season.

"We are going with T.J. It’s T.J.’s opportunity and it’s his job and I told him and I told the team that today," Kubiak said after Monday's practice. "But I also told the team that we will bring in somebody else. We’ve got a young quarterback and a backup who’s been here for four days, so we’ve got to find some experience out there, who’s been in a few rodeos, so to speak, and make sure we’re preparing ourselves for down the road."

  Who will that quarterback be? Well, Kubiak also left open the ominous, but unlikely, possibility of a certain retiree joining the Texans roster.

"I don’t think you rule out anybody," Kubiak said when asked if he could eliminate Brett Favre from the discussion. "I know there’s, like I said, a lot of names being mentioned. We’ve got to continue to work through the process. I'm not going to rule out anybody, nor confirm anybody."

On Sunday night, Peter King of Sports Illustrated reported on NBC that he talked with Favre and Texans general manager Rick Smith, and both said there was no mutual interest in a return to the NFL for No. 4, even in a good situation like the Texans offer.

So it seems pretty unlikely that Favre will get a call from Houston, if he would even respond. Favre doesn't really make all that much sense for Houston, given that they're already fully committed to running the ball and shutting teams down defensively. Yes, he's got more experience than Yates (who, as we noted, is already UNC's greatest NFL quarterback, with just over a half's worth of statistics). 

But Favre also brings a pile of drama to the table, with no guarantee for success, and that might be too much of a gamble for the Texans to take.

Of course, if Yates struggles, well, you can't rule anyone out.

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Posted on: November 28, 2011 4:26 pm
 

Schaub gives T.J. Yates his seal of approval

T. Yates looks to be Houston's starting quarterback for the foreseeable future (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Now that Matt Leinart is unofficially done for the season after cracking his left collarbone Sunday, it appears the Texans are going to take their chances with fifth-round pick T.J. Yates as the starting quarterback for the foreseeable future.

My colleague Will Brinson wrote a little about him in this week’s Sorting the Sunday Pile, but aside from Yates, who was 8 of 15 for 70 yards in relief of Leinart, holding the title of the best quarterback ever to emerge from UNC, we know very little about his ability to start in the NFL.

But considering the other Texans options, where else could they turn for a starter? Probably not Kellen Clemens, who was signed last week. Probably not Sage Rosenfels, who somehow has become a candidate to be claimed by Houston on waivers despite being placed on the Reserved/Non-Football Illness list with the Dolphins last month. And definitely not tight end Owen Daniels, who was actually the emergency backup to Yates on Sunday after Leinart left the game.

For now, it seems like Yates is the only man standing. And that’s OK by original starter Matt Schaub.

“T.J.’s been with us now for quite a while,” Schaub said on KILT in Houston, via sportsradiointerviews.com. “He’s been in our meetings; he understands our system. Obviously, you don’t want to give him an incredible amount of new stuff. … At the same time, we have enough guys in this locker room that have played enough football and they’re solid players. We’ve got some talent on our team and they’re going to have to pick up their play. We’ve dealt with injuries now all season. It seems like a broken record, but that’s what we’ve done and there’s something special about this team.”

And Yates is the guy that can continue that special season?

“T.J., for being a rookie, he’s probably picked this offense up to the point where he can function in it well, faster than anyone I’ve seen, including myself,” Schaub said. “That’s a big credit to him, because this is not an easy offense to pick up. … I, personally, have a ton of confidence that he’s going to go in there and play very well.”

After the game, Gary Kubiak talked about how Yates plays the game fast and that he has all the starting quarterback characteristics. Yet, Kubiak also acknowledged that he's barely taken any reps. Which means the Texans don’t really know what they have with Yates. For good or for bad.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com