JOHN GRANATO

My apology to the people of Houston

Jimbo Fisher appeared on The Bench with John and Lance. Bob Levey/Getty Images

It has come to my attention that I have disappointed some of you out there and for that I would like to apologize. On Tuesday we had Jimbo Fisher on the program like we do every Tuesday at 7:15 AM.

I made the decision to not ask him about the facemask incident. That was my decision. Not Lance’s. Not Del’s. Their credibility should remain intact. It is my credibility that should be in question here because I was the one who they asked to not mention the issue.

Make no mistake this was not a Mike Gundy situation either. For those of you that missed it, the Oklahoma State coach threatened the media that they would lose their player interview privileges if they asked them about a player who was transfering. That was a bully move. I abhor coaches who bully the media. That was not the case with Jimbo.

This was a simple statement by someone on his staff who said that the coach answered the question about the facemask incident and is moving on.

One more question about it certainly wouldn’t have hurt but by the same token what would have been added to what he had just said the day before? It was asked and answered.

Maybe I could have uncovered some pearl that would have shed new light on the issue but I didn’t. Maybe that one question would have changed the player-coach relationship and made the world a better place for them to coexist in love and harmony. Maybe. I don’t know. That will haunt me now until I die.

Trust me I’m not afraid to ask the tough question. When I was in Green Bay I asked head coach Lindy Infante about death threats to his family one particularly bad Packer season. I had the Green Bay police department in my office that afternoon trying to figure out where I’d heard that and how they could prevent it.

At the opening of Enron Field (now Minute Maid Park) I asked manager Larry Dierker if his pitchers might be afraid to pitch inside because of that short porch in left. He literally fell to the ground screaming that I asked unanswerable questions. (By the way, about midway through the season he was quoted as saying that his pitchers were probably afraid to pitch inside because of the short porch in left).

Gary Kubiak was so sick of my badgering him about who was his starting offensive line that he told Steve McKinney to tell me to get off his back.

If this was the Urban Meyer situation I would have asked about it. If this was the Penn St. or Baylor situation I would have asked about it. This was not. In my opinion this is a non-story. Your opinion may be different than mine. I appreciate that but I don’t think it’s a big deal.

I have a son playing college football. If he’s acting the fool and a coach grabs him by the facemask to get his attention I would have absolutely no problem with that. I’d encourage it.

I know this is a different world than the one I grew up in but I don’t think that world was all that bad. My high school defensive line coach, Coach Conrath, would walk around with a baseball bat and hit any of his guys that were misaligned. I guarantee you they paid attention to where they were lined up every snap.

Our basketball coach was also our P.E. instructor and he had a giant wooden paddle with holes in it that would make nice indentation marks on your butt when you caught a fresh one. Guess who didn’t fool around during gym? This guy.

But I digress. The real issue here is my credibility as a journalist now. It’s gone forever. You can no longer trust me when I call myself dark meat or when I tell you that I dreamed about Gary Pettis sending the runner. I’ve lost your trust and that hurts.

I will tell you that I should never have had that trust in the first place. I do not consider myself a journalist. As Del’s dad once so eloquently told him “The man is a clown, and you are his court jester.” It is who I am: morning radio clown and I’m OK with that.

I did the journalist thing back in the day. I was once the sports director at the NBC affiliate in Green Bay. I remember standing outside the Packers locker room on cut day. All of us huddled there like vultures waiting to pounce on guys coming out one by one after they’d been released by the team. I’d never felt so scummy. Here are these guys whose hopes and dreams had just been shattered and all we could worry about was getting some five second sound bite on the six o’clock news.

No thanks. If that’s journalism I don’t want any part of it.

So once again I apologize for losing your trust, as misguided as that trust was. We have had more coaches and will continue to have more coaches on our show than any show I know of. One of the reasons is that we are civil, another is that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We like to  have fun with them which is something that’s rare these days. It seems to me that the media-coach relationship in this country is at an all time low.

Maybe we’ll ask Jimbo about that next Tuesday.







 

 


 

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Texans fall to Browns. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans kept it closer than the experts thought they would, but couldn't pull out a victory. Here are 11 observations from the loss in Cleveland to the Browns.

1. The game looks totally different if Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor finishes the game. Taylor left at halftime with a hamstring injury. He was playing exceptionally well against his former team. Taylor is not expected to play Thursday according to NFL Network.

2. Davis Mills had a rocky NFL debut which was to be expected. Mills looked to have the wrong elements of a few plays. He also couldn't hit backup wideout Andre Roberts over the middle and threw an interception. It was a fine performance considering what Mills showed he could do in the preseason.

3. Mills didn't work with a full load of offensive weapons in the second half. Rookie wideout Nico Collins didn't return to the game after his lone catch and big run early in the game. Veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola left the game with an injury. Tight end Anthony Auclair left with an eye injury. The Texans entered the game without wide receiver Anthony Miller who was inactive.

4. Brandin Cooks is a monster through two games. He is the most dangerous skill position player on the team, and defenses still have trouble covering him and staying with him. Cooks turned in yet another impressive day for this team and hauled in a Davis Mills touchdown pass.

5. The Browns did a solid job against the ground game of the Texans. Mark Ingram averaged under three yards per carry and Tyrod Taylor was the only rusher to have a big play on the ground. This led to a fair number of third-and-long situations which the Texans usually had trouble converting.

6. Justin Reid was set to increase his payday on his next contract with his early play. Reid forced a fumble and had an interception in the first half. Unfortunately, Reid would leave the game multiple times with injuries. The knock on Reid has always been his health.

7. The Texans were worn down by the Browns rushing attack all day. Once Cleveland committed to the run they saw the success of their work culminating in a 26-yard scamper by Nick Chubb for a touchdown. The Browns didn't run as much as I excepted them to run early.

8. Tim Kelly had another nice day calling plays. Kelly remains creative in finding ways to get the ball out of Taylor's hands quickly as well as manufacturing matchups where the Texans can win and pick up yards. He even got creative to get Davis Mills a passing touchdown late in the game. Kelly has been very impressive through two games.

9. Andre Roberts was inexcusably bad today. The Texans defense held on the opening drive and his muffed punt eliminated the momentum from the defensive stand. He also had poor returns on kickoffs. His lone job is to be a solid returner, and he failed at that on Sunday.

10. David Culley had a head-scratching decision foregoing an offsides call on a third down. The head coach opted for the result of the third down, and a punt on fourth down, instead of another third down. He did not explain himself well postgame on the decision either.

11. The Texans hung tough and should feel solid about where they could have been without the injury to their quarterback. With no Taylor in the short week, it will not be easy to beat the Panthers who upset the Saints on Sunday.

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