Decisional dysfunction

By and

What the Houston Texans are trying to tell us is that they are so inept, they might pass up the best skill player to come out of college in years and instead spend their top overall pick on a defensive end.

Right.

My first and most obvious reaction is not to buy it, to write it off as the typical pre-draft posturing. This is just the kind of guerrilla negotiation tactics teams have been using for years.

But then again, maybe the front office that 1) hired Dom Capers as its head coach and 2) completely neglects the pressing need for an offensive line to this very day, may actually be dumb enough to pass up Reggie Bush.

To be honest, it probably isn’t-the lure of booming ticket and merchandise sales will likely be too much to overlook. But the Texans are certainly trying to convince us otherwise. They don’t want to pay Bush so-called “quarterback money”-or in other words, they want to pay him less than recent No. 1 picks such as Michael Vick and Eli Manning.

I’m sorry, but Charlie Casserly and Co. aren’t exactly in much position to negotiate. What leverage do they have? Bush must be having a good laugh at their transparent manipulation. He’s the belle of the ball-everybody wants him. What does he have to worry about?

Secondly, the Texans just can’t afford to fool around. They were the worst team in the league by far last season. Four years into their NFL infancy, they are an embarrassment. They are making every owner regret awarding them the NFL’s 32nd franchise.

With the selection of Reggie Bush, they could (and, let’s be honest, will) take their biggest step yet toward turning that perception around-and they’re trying to tell us they might not take it? Is this their idea of “savvy?”

Recently, certain national columnists have even started to come around to the idea of Houston passing on Bush. Michael Smith and Skip Bayless, I’m talking to you.

Smith argues the completely ridiculous point that N.C. State’s Mario Williams should be the Texans’ selection. I mean, is Smith kidding? He usually comes across as such a reasonable fellow. Is he falling under the patented Bayless syndrome where he just makes up an unpopular opinion for the sole purpose of having an unpopular opinion?

Williams may indeed turn out to be a great NFL player. But he’s a defensive end-he is not the type of player who can turn a franchise around. Look at all the great pass-rushers that have come out the last few years-Dwight Freeney, Jevon Kearse, John Abraham, Julius Peppers, etc. All have made major impacts, but none of them can be credited as actually changing the face of a franchise. They were defensive upgrades and nothing more.

Bush, on the other hand, is a special athlete and a franchise-type player. Unless the Texans have some legitimate reservations that they’re not telling us, picking Williams will be a move for which they would be mocked for years to come.

Bayless’ point, on the other hand, is that the Texans should take Vince Young.

Rhetorical question: Wouldn’t professional sports teams be well-advised to read all of Bayless’ columns, and then do the exact opposite of what he says they should do? Wouldn’t that be an infallible recipe for success?

But I digress.

The Texans have opened up negotiations with both Bush and Williams, but why even bother? Why can’t they just stop pussyfooting around, pick the player they need and pay him the going rate? Why is that so difficult?

I always love this time of year, not only because I’m a draft junkie but also because the weeks leading up to the draft provide some of the most ridiculously entertaining moments of the sporting year-the posturing, the rumors, the deception and, of course, my role model Mel Kiper Jr. and that magnificent hair.

Two years ago, during the infamous Eli Manning/San Diego Chargers controversy, both Manning and his father publicly confirmed on ESPN that they had, in fact, told the Chargers that Eli would not play for them. This had been confirmed by “sources close to the team.” And yet, a half-hour later in a live interview, Marty Schottenheimer played the bumbling idiot, declaring that he and the team had no indication whatsoever that Manning didn’t want to go to San Diego. He was sweating, he was twitching in his seat and he was downright comical, lying through his teeth to all of America.

That’s what I love about the draft-all the contention and conjecture makes for some great entertainment. But we didn’t buy Schottenheimer’s B.S. two years ago, and it’s hard to buy Houston’s this year. Come on, Charlie Casserly-stop making a fool of yourself and just do the right thing.

See you in the summer, loyal readers.