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Texans Demolish Baltimore

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After being embarrassed on national television by the Green Bay Packers, the Texans bounced back against an opponent equally as dangerous and strong. The Baltimore Ravens had an overall record of 6-0 against the Texans in the eleven season tenure of the Houston Franchise. The teams are relatively the same since the Monday Night match-up in 2010 where the Texans lost a heartbreaker in overtime, and in 2011, the Texans’ playoff drive was ended in Baltimore losing to them for the third time in two years. In 2012, the Ravens were looking to go for lucky number 7, but the Texans were not going to let that happen, especially after the chips left on their shoulder by Green Bay.

A nearly flawless game was played by the Texans, both offensively and defensively, both correlating and feeding off of one another. The offense was slow to start, but kick-started when Connor Barwin got the safety for the Texans after Alan Ball hustled to down down the punt from Donnie Jones within the ten yard line.

The Texans offense and defense combined for 29 unanswered points between the first and third quarters. The offense has shown that no mater what, the team can put up points, and light up the scoreboard.

I cannot put into words just how overjoyed and ecstatic I am about this team, this is THE best Texans team we’ve seen, the potential has been here since 2010, and I may even go as far back as 2009.

It just took the epic collapse of the 6-10 2010 season to allow the Texans to draft the pieces that they needed. Fast forward to 2012, I think this is the BEST professional football team overall the city of Houston has seen in all of its years, including the Oilers and Gamblers.

To blatantly misquote Forrest Gump, or make up my own quote: “Elite is what elite does” and elite is bouncing back from a deflating, and humbling loss to prove that you are indeed elite.

Bounce back is what we did, and bounced back with a vengeance, they did. Quite frankly, looking at a stat sheet just does not do the team’s effort any justice whatsoever. With a high quality opponent such as the Baltimore Ravens, the Texans really proved their mettle, and have secured a “tie-breaker” over a potential playoff adversary for home field advantage.

Simply put, this Texans game shows that the Texans can learn from ther mistakes, and rapidly make adjustments on a week-to-week basis to better make themselves match up better to their opponent.

After this amazing victory, the Texans go into week 7 on a bye, and have two weeks to prepare for the so-called “judgement day” as dubbed by the $100 Million Dollar Man, Mario Williams of the Buffalo Bills who will roll into town in week 8. Before we get ahead of ourselves, the Texans have to take this week one day at a time, as they would a normal week, and it gives the guys an extra week to heal up. Week 6 has been vastly entertaining, let’s enjoy the sweet taste of victory for now, as we get ready to come back for the second half of the regular season.

– Richard Perez

Photos From Hooks vs. Astros

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Home is Where the Wins are

The advantage of the home-court in the AT&T Center is absolutely undeniable for the San Antonio Spurs, winning all 9 games they have played in the AT&T Center, and having the 6th man on the court with them at all times, from the Baseline Bums to the Silver & Black Pack, the Spurs’ fans are arguably the most loyal and dedicated to their team.

The streaking Spurs are at it again, with another 3 game win streak, are undefeated at home, bringing in crowds in to the AT&T Center in droves, a great cause and effect that benefits both; the fans pack the AT&T Center, cheer the Spurs to victory, the Spurs win, bringing in more fans to cheer for them and help propel them to victory. An amazing cycle that all teams would love to have, ala Milwaukee Bucks whose upper deck seats were practically empty. Read more…

What’s Next For Houston?

After a more than successful campaign for the Houston Texans, the question now, is the same question we always ask, what do we do now to improve? No matter how successful a team is, there is always, always, always room to improve, a wise man once said “Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.”  and the Texans certainly want to improve as the other teams in the league certainly will. The task presented to the Texans coaching staff and front office is: What can the Texans do to improve? What aspect of the game needs tweaking?

At this point, it isn’t completely clear on what to do, for instance what is going to happen with Matt Leinart, third string possibly? Should they even keep Leinart? He is signed through next year, and maybe he should be released to clear up cap space to sign other players whose contracts have just expired. Read more…

50 Years of Astros Baseball

The Astros are celebrating 50 years of being a Major League franchise, yes, i knoe that the Astros celebrated the 45th only two years ago, but that was 45 years of being called the Astros, this celebrates 50 years of the franchise, from when the Houston Sports Association tried to form the Continental League to rival the American and National league, after they refused to expand, but the threat of losing potential markets convinced them to expand, thus, achieving the goal that the HSA wanted, getting Houston a major league franchise.This article is going to take you back in time; from the 60’s to the many jersey experiments the Astros ran in the early 2000’s, to the uniforms we have in the cycle of today. From Pistols to Pinstripes and everything in between, these are your Astros.

Houston Colt .45s: 1960-1962

A modest beginning for the Houston franchise, the name was chosen in a “name the team” contest. Personally, i like this jersey, for its time, it’s very decorated and it is very beautiful. At that time, aesthetics was not a main concern of “jersey/logo designers” and when looking at other jerseys from this time era, the discrepancies between this logo/jersey is very large, and in my opinion, blows other logos and jerseys right out of the water. Simply cannot wait to see this in Flashback Fridays next season.

Transition to the Astros: 1965-1970:

This was the first Astros jersey ever, i like this one, the change to the Astros went over well, and this is  a very beautiful, and the “shooting star” compliments the blue and orange hat, the away grey is very lacking and bland, while not changing from the Colt .45’s away, except for the Astrodome patch Despite dropping the ball on an away jersey, the blue hat and the orange star really saved it; you can argue that the color scheme did not change, so why change an away jersey, but why not! They revitalized the entire franchise, why not just improve the away jerseys as well? Maybe the owners saw that the changing of the away jersey was trivial and unnecessary, thus them leaving it as is.

Change to Orange: 1971-1975

The Astros officially utilized the orange in their color pallet, i liked the orange cap and the orange dominance of the color scheme! In my opinion, i thought that this was the best they could have done with this jersey as far as this jersey design goes. I applaud who ever thought of this.

The Rainbow years: 1975-80

Well, this a north and south to the last uniform… the rainbow definitely caught many eyes, and probably insulted league wide, referred to being similar to the Creamsicles of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Although there was many variants of this jersey, the next set did not feature the number on the crotch, the away jersey did away with the rainbow and only had the star on a gray background along with the Astros written above it, and an alternate introduced the same type of jersey but the jersey was white rather than gray (pictured below)


Rainbows get the Cold Shoulder: 1987-1993:

So we finally get rid of the rainbow across the midsection, and move them to our shoulders, the best out of all the uniforms up until that point, i liked the away grey, not deviating much from keeping the home and away uniforms similar, a move that I liked, yet deviated from tradition of having the city. I think the rainbow on the shoulder was the best decision they could have made, and change the look of the jerseys without alienating the color pallet, or the fan base. I commend this movement, I loved this color pattern and how the color of the Astrodome seats throughout the circular seating rows in the dome complimented the jerseys, it was beautiful and really looked as if the team belonged in the quaint Astrodome.

Midnight Blue & Gold: 1994-1999

My favorite of all the Astros’ “retro” jerseys, I was introduced to the Astros while they wore these Jerseys, and saw my first Astros game in 1998, in the Astrodome, versus the Pirates, although i do not remember much of the game, I remember sitting high atop the Astrodome, the walk up to the Dome and the big video board we sat next to. The Astrodome was a beautiful stadiuIm, and I pray that the Astros will play one game in the Astrodome, one last time. These jerseys were so beautiful and captivated me when the Astros first took the field that day; no matter how much people criticize them, I will defend them, and will most certainly purchase this hat with the 50 year anniversary patch on it. Despite attending many events at the Astrodome while living in Houston ( WWF Wrestlemania X-7, Monster truck rallies, and even an Oilers game) I only attended two Astros Astrodome games, my dream of one last Astros game in the dome seems farfetched to those i pitch the idea to, yet, in my heart and mind, somewhere, I believe we will open up the Astrodome for one last game. The 1990’s Astros were my favorite, hands down. Not pictured are my favorite alternate, black with the shooting star, the precursor to my next favorite Astros alternate…

Crazy Experiments: 2000-today

Pictured are all of the home alternates, one not pictured is my favorite, one similar to the last one, but instead of “Astros” it only features the red star on the left chest of a black jersey. The white is the Saturday home alternate, which is one of my current favorites, and the second is an alternate used on various days. Finally, a black alternate used at home (a similar one was used as an away jersey) I liked when the Astros used black, but the Houston heat was too much as the roof of then, Enron Field was usually opened, especially on hot days. Not pictured is the white Saturday alternate similar to the black one I just described, only the jersey is white with the red star.

The away jerseys really  didn’t allow us much option, as is typical with Houston, but the brick red jersey became a fixture in our attire, and I think it’s good enough having at least two options when it come to an away jersey is good enough. The cursive script is very nice, and brings an “old school” look to it and brick hat compliments the red lettering on the grey, as the brick red star compliments the jersey, a great scheme and design by Houston!

So all of the retro jerseys will be featured on Flashback Fridays throughout the season, it’s definitely going to be amazing and definitely a great year for Astros baseball as this is the year I see us bouncing back and doing something great, after our first 100+ loss season, this group of young Astros will come out with a chip on their shoulder for sure. LET’S GO ASTROS!!

– Richard Perez

A New Reinstilled Hope

In a record breaking, blow out of the Tennessee Titans, the Houston Texans show why this team is dominate, and deserve to be respected and feared in this league. Without the offensive and defensive leaders, this team fought and made a statement to the rest of the league that we are contenders and that no matter how tough times are, we shall remain resilient, a wise man once said that to survive is to withstand ans prosper, and when faced with diversity, this team has most certainly survived. This week’s game ball is a split between everybody, the team as a whole dominated and won this game, from the defense shutting the Titans’ offense for almost the entire game, and limiting them to only 7 points. An all around feat of domination offensively, scoring almost at will and not punting a single time the entire game, despite two turnover on downs, the offense refused to sputter after the Titans started to gain momentum, scoring again and kept piling on the pressure and refused to let Tennessee back in the game.

Hope for this Texans team has been revitalized after dropping two heartbreakers back to back, but still fighting and not giving up despite taking the losses, proving that no matter how much the Texans are in the hole, they will fight tooth and nail to come back and battle for the win. This Texans team CAN WIN in any situation, great teams survive great challenges, and even greater teams prosper from said challenges, and from what we’ve seen from this group of guys, they are certainly a great team and are nit given the respect they so deserve. With a clear dominant win over division rivals Tennessee, and Indianapolis, all that remains in our very attainable goal of our first playoff birth and quest for our first championship of the AFC South, is Jacksonville, a lowly 1-5 team. No single team should be ever disregarded, and be blown off as an easy win, but a win over the only team who we have not faced in our division will only increase our chances for winning the AFC South title, and ultimately. our first ever playoff birth, which at this point in the season, seems like a goal this team can AND will achieve this goal. How far they will go in the playoffs is still up in the air and very much depends and how we finish the season and how high of a seed we get in the playoff picture, but a playoff birth and our first banner will be hung in Reliant Stadium, a banner that will read “2011 AFC South Champions” with more banners to follow in the coming years

– Richard Perez

Texans Dominate: Instilling a New Found Faith And Belief

“This is the year!” a saying that seems to always ring out from Reliant Stadium as faithful, die-hard fans are cheering and rooting for their hometown Texans, but what do the skeptics say? What do the ones who have had their hearts broken one too many times by this team last year say? What does this team have to do to prove that they are indeed worthy of their hype and can live up to their expectations? Should the die-hards lower their expectations? Do they raise them? The 2011 season is a bench mark season for this Texans team, a make or break year for this young and up and coming team to prove themselves to a very harsh, demanding, yet very loyal and loving fan base. This team has a chip on their shoulder after falling from grace to a 6-10 season, with a new defensive coordinator in Wade Philips, the Texans’ defense is on center stage and the fulcrum between success and failure for this team. After a dominating performance of the Colts, Texan fans have a very bright, and joyous season ahead and here is why…

In what was set to be an amazing rematch of last years’ week one Texans’ blow out win, Indianapolis was missing one crucial thing that they had last year, and that one thing just so happened to be a huge key of their offense. Peyton Manning, the Colts’ captain and leader, unwilling to trust their back ups, Indianapolis went and signed veteran  Kerry Collins, hoping his experience in the league would at least fill a minimal percentage of the vital role Manning played. Also being bitten by the injury bug, Houston was to be without leading rusher Arian Foster who was out with hamstring troubles, so both teams were indeed lacking in their own respective ways, the game was going to be difficult and challenging for both teams, without key components to their explosive offensive scheme

Coming out very hot, new addition to the Texans, Daniel Manning bursts out of the endzone and looking ready to score, but kicker Pat McAfee and Justin Tryon made the stop giving the offense great field position. Matt Shaub seemed to be poised to march the offense down the field for an early score, but a tip drill interception on the second play halted Matt Shaub and the offense, draining the momentum, but did not allow this miniscule error to hinder them! Scoring a field goal on the next drive, and capitalizing on two Kerry Collins’ fumbles for touchdowns, piling up a 17 point lead in the first quarter. Derrick Ward, Ben Tate, and Andre Johnson all scored touchdowns, and Jacoby Jones input his own on an astonishing 79 yard punt return. Ben Tate getting plenty of carries despite a fumble early in the fourth quarter, rushing for well over 100 yards. Obviously this offense came out with something to prove, and made a statement to all teams in the league, a statement that this team is not going to be the easy push overs they once were. The Texan offense only punted twice against this outstanding, yet worn out defense, but gave up three turnovers total, two interceptions from Matt Shaub and the fumble from Ben Tate, which is an amazing feat especially against a great defense such as the Colts’

As for Wade Philips’ defense, coming off of last season with the worst pass defense, the defensive line pressured Kerry Collins, forcing bad throws, sacking him three times, and causing him to only complete fifty percent of his passes, but the real kicker of this game is that the defense pitched a solid shutout until Collins connected with Reggie Wayne for a late fourth quarter touchdown, capitalizing on the turnover and spoiling the shutout. Wade Philips has indeed shown that this defense has improved, but there is plenty of room for more improvement as Joseph Addai and Delone Carter managed to bust a run every now and then, but i cannot harp on this, I just simply take the win and look to see what improvements will be made for the following game versus Miami. The secondary seemed to have made drastic improvements, they played excellent coverage, when Kerry Collins had the chance to throw it, and played close towards the end, hopefully we do not find ourselves in a bind where a goal line stand must be made, but it will happen eventually. The first goal line stand was a success, so we at least gained confidence from that as we stopped them forcing a field goal, which they missed.

Overall, i could not be happier with the success of this team and my standards and expectations have certainly been raised for this Texans team, Miami will not be an easy task, so I am looking forward to seeing what the defense can do against an in sync offense, unlike the Colts who only had less than two weeks to prepare Kerry Collins for this game. The time has come for the Texans and opportunity is knocking yet again, let’s capitalize on it…

Battle of the Bayou Looming

Being located so closely together, the Saints and Texans normally have conjoined training camps, players would benefit from being able to get looks from players other than their own teammates, due to the labor lockout this summer, Coach Kubiak and Sean Payton called off the friendly camp for fear of the lockout disrupting the season, but this is not about the friendly interactions of two bayou city teams. As any resident of Houston or the neighboring suburbs will tell you, there is an abundance of Saints fans in that area for many reasons, and as the old western duel phrase goes “This town ain’t big enough for the two of us…”

As evidenced by the old rivalry between Texas A&M and Arkansas, and the more notorious rivalry of Texas and Oklahoma, football rivalries do not stay within state boundaries, after the Andre Johnson fight against Cortland Finnegan last year, the Texans-Titans rivalry is heating up, similar to the rivalry with Dallas is gaining a head of steam after the brawl that took place between the two teams’ fans last year in Reliant Stadium. With only 350 miles separating the two teams, most would think a rivalry could flourish, but none as formed due to Houston being in a separate conference and only having two previous meetings. Aside from single players skirmishes, majority of heat between professional football clubs is within the fan base, with that said, fans will develop disdain for teams within the division thus we have division rivals, which is a different type of rivalry than a location rivalry. A segment on Houston Sports Radio 610 escalated after fans of the two teams began extensive trash talking, as many of us know, many former Hurricane Katrina refugees stayed in Houston after New Orleans recovered from the damage done by the storm, many of them being Saints fans, and despite staying in Houston, have remained loyal to their team. After the Texans emerged victorious in the preseason game Saturday night, Houston and New Orleans have a meeting in the regular season and will certainly bring light to this matter and will hopefully spark a new rivalry between these two great teams.

A Star Born Before Our Eyes?

Unless you’re either a Longhorns fan, Rams fan, or a resident of Missouri City, you’ve probably never heard the name Chris Ogbonnaya; or even had to try and pronounce his last name. The old saying is that in sports, you’re always one play away from being the starter, and that it only takes one play to lose your starting position, as Mark Belanger will tell you after a random upstart minor leaguer named Cal Ripken Jr. took his starting position and never gave it back. When the Texans struggled in the 2008 season I was one of the few people advocating giving the starting job to Sage Rosenfels after Matt Schaub returned from his shoulder injury solely on the fact that he left everything on the field and was more ready to win games and, to me, played his heart out and putting forth more of an effort than what I had ever seen from Matt Schaub, at that time. With that said, this is nowhere similar to that case, yet i think it is more similar to the situation of the Patriots having Matt Cassel shine when Tom Brady went down with the injury in week one, normally, most teams aren’t equipped with four players at the running back position and most teams do not have to go down deep into their depth chart unless they’re in the 4th quarter of a blow out. The Texans had Arian Foster, Ben Tate, and Steve Slaton out with a hamstring injury, putting Chris Ogbonnaya on center stage getting after Derrick Ward suffered a concussion that night.

Even though we are running thin at the position due to all these sudden injuries, there is no lack of talent at this position, and if there is one positive thing to take from this slump and rash of injuries: if we ever get in this sort of crisis in the regular season, we might not skip a beat talent wise. Running backs are a short lived commodity whose careers do not last very long, and primes are even shorter, and Dallas will vouch for that in that their supposed star running back Marion Barber was released, only to be signed by Chicago, but in Marion’s defense, his style of running back, a runner who runs to contact and battles for yardage, does not last very long, especially in the National Football League. Ogbonnaya displayed toughness and grit when left as the only available running back, recent signee Javaris Williams was healthy but not fully familiarized with the plays, despite only averaging two yards a carry, Ogbie scored both of the Texans’ touchdowns and made some great catches. Despite being the potential fourth string running back, he has more than certainly earned his roster spot and I would devastated if he were to be cut, I know a smart team will pick him up and utilize him.

 

Now that Arian is back working out in camp, it’ll be a great opportunity for the coaches to look at the combination of Ogbonnaya and Foster as a one-two punch, or possibly a triple threat with Slaton, but i cannot get too far ahead of myself as we still have Ben Tate and possibly Derrick Wade depending on his recovery from the concussion. Overall, I am content with the offense in the first preseason game, and am looking forward to see improvement next week against the Saints.

 

– Richard Perez

 

Written for ToroTimes.com

My first post!

Well, as much as I have procrastinated making this blog, due to my indecisiveness about choosing between The Lone Star Advocate and Space City Advocate. Seeing as I do not like the Rockets. At. All. I decided to go with the first; I actually like it now that I made it, and I hope you do to! I am new to actual blogging, I’m used to 140 character blogging via twitter, but have never actually done journal blogging. This is to test my writing skills for a future job, hopefully, and I am going to branch myself out into new “media” i have a YouTube channel and will have a link somewhere! I hope to make somewhere down the line this humble post will mean something to me. So, this is my first blog post and hopefully the first of many from the Lone Star Advocate!

– Richard Perez

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