Happy as can be in Houston

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:24 PM ET

In Houston, the fans are giddy with glee over their 2-0 start and the way it has been achieved.

First their was the home victory over the Colts, a team they had gone 1-15 against in their eight-year history. They followed that up by coming from 17 points back to down the Washington Redskins in overtime on the road.

Now they have a home date against inter-state rival Dallas and a victory Sunday would all but wipe out the Cowboys chances of making the playoffs thanks to an 0-3 start.

But amid the grins and smiles a dark cloud appeared on the Texans horizon in the form of a four-game suspension to left tackle Duane Brown for a violation of the league’s drug policy.

The left tackle is the key cog in any team’s O-line and Sunday a replacement — Rashad Butler, a career backup — will now have to try and keep the Cowboys great rushing linebacker DeMarcus Ware from harassing quarterback Matt Schaub.

Brown’s suspension didn’t go down well with management.

“We are disappointed that Duane Brown has been suspended,” general manager Rick Smith said in a statement. “This is a significant blow to our team.

“Our players have to understand that they are responsible for what goes into their bodies and that they take risks any time they use a supplement not approved by the NFL.”

The Texans, meanwhile, are riding high after their OT win. They have a six-game win streak dating back to last season.

So in Houston — Brown or no Brown — the cry is Bring On The Cowboys.

DOUBTS IN DALLAS

In Dallas, the Cowboys are holding player only meetings and, regardless of the sport, that only means one thing — trouble.

Good teams, confident teams don’t hold player only meetings. It’s the first sign of panic and what will the players do if they lose to Houston, drink the Kool-Aid?

The meeting certainly didn’t seem to inspire Cowboys safety Gerald Sensabaugh.

“We’ve done heard all the speeches,” Sensabaugh said. “It becomes repetitive. I’ve been on losing teams before, so I’ve heard every speech in the book ... We’re grown men. Guys have to take pride in themselves and go out there and make plays.”

Sensabaugh, like the legions of Cowboys fans, doesn’t like what he has seen in either the games or the weekly practices.

“There seems like there’s brain farts everywhere,” Sensabaugh said. “Everywhere, everybody, last week, this week. What are we doing? What is this? We look like a circus, like a bunch of clowns out there. I don’t know what the hell we’re doing.”

As for all the talk before the season about the Cowboys going to the Super Bowl in their own stadium, Sensabaugh said it was just that — talk.

“Everybody’s talking about the Cowboys in the Super Bowl,” he said. “We ain’t won a damn game yet. I don’t even want to hear nobody talking about the Super Bowl. Really, can we just talk about the next game? There’s too much hype.”

But it’s Texas, it’s Dallas and big hype goes with big hair.

Beyond the players meeting and Sensabaugh’s statements, there is the usual paranoia coming from head coach Wade Phillips who knows there is only one person in the entire state — owner Jerry Jones — who thinks he should still be in his job.

While the heat is on, Phillips said he’s not about to change his way of operating.

“I’m not going to change,” he said. “I’m not going to be the guy that hollers. I don’t believe in all that. ... (Players) know when I’m unhappy.”

And unhappy is how the fans are feeling in Dallas.

PULL THE PLUG

There is one manoeuvre in the NFL that drives just about everybody crazy and that is the one where late in the game with a team lined up for a game-winning, field-goal attempt the opposing coach, standing next to an official, calls a timeout just before the ball is snapped.

It worked to perfection for Houston as the Texans coach Gary Kubiak called a timeout a nano-second before the snap and before Graham Gano’s field goal sailed through the uprights for what would have been a game-winning field goal.

On the second attempt, Gano was wide right and the Texans went on to win the game in overtime.

Since 2000, statistics show that kickers were successful 77.3% of the time in the final two minutes or overtime when no timeout was called. But when a timeout was called, kickers were good 79.7% of the time.

Despite the fact that it rarely works, it is an irritating part of the game and one that perhaps the NFL competition committee should give the boot to.

quick hits

The Raiders are going with Bruce Gradkowski at quarterback this Sunday instead of a healthy Jason Campbell ... Vincent Jackson was not traded by Wednesday’s deadline to avoid the team’s roster exempt list, meaning the Chargers receiver is not eligible to play before week 7 ... Buccaneers free safety Tanard Jackson has been suspended indefinitely for violating the league’s substance abuse policy ... Cardinals running back Beanie Wells practiced Wednesday and says he’ll be ready to go on Sunday.


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