Well that was fun. Nothing like dropping a big steaming deuce on Oakland to reinvigorate the ole preseason boner. Sorry about that, Tracy & Matt. But hey, you know how it is.

How positive was it? Our esteemed local Legits™ have given us permission to go ahead and get a little excited. Not too excited, of course. After all, "Oakland in August" and whatnot. But kind of a medium level of excitement/optimism is apparently perfectly acceptable at this point. So we've got that going for us. Preciate that, Trip! High five!

Talk about a "get-right game." Left tackle? No problem. Defensive line? No problem. Best they've had in over a decade, apparently. (Free buffets at the Silver Slippa Casina for everyone!) Run defense? No problem. 62 rushing yards allowed at 2.8 per. Pass rush? No problem. 5 sacks in the first half. The Dude's ability to manufacture pressure via well-timed and well-designed blitzes? No problem. Pass defense? No problem. 3.5(!!!) yards per pass play. Depth at wideout? No problem. Drew's continuing asskickery? No fuckin' problem at all.

So feel free to go ahead and fap for a couple minutes if you've got the urge right about now. It's fine as long as you're judicious about it, and when you're done, you take a moment to remind yourself that it was Oakland. In August.

I suppose it still remains to be seen how much (or little) of the defensive performance was actually real, as opposed to some beautiful Oakland-based wet dream. But clearly the team was convinced that several perceived problems were legitimately "solved" offensively, because they went ahead and released a couple of veteran wideouts and put the Jason Smith Experience to a merciful end. I suspect that it won't be long before Sean Payton finally gets The Great Toussaint L'Overture Cadet the fuck out of our face as well.

Whatever questions there were about the offense seem to have been answered pretty definitively Friday night. It's still a goddamn killing machine (or it is once again, depending on your perspective.) So if nothing else, at least we can sleep tight knowing that even if all else fails, there's always money in the banana stand.

Five first-half possessions, five scores. 27 minutes of game time, 23 points on the board. Without Colston and with Lance Moore only taking a couple or three snaps. And we're all pretty sure "Yeah, but Oakland" isn't really relevant here, right? Right. Nothing phony or otherwise misleading about any of that. No f'n problem.

Defensively, well, we're all pretty used to the fact that anything resembling certainty just doesn't exist on that side of the ball. Our well-established (and well-earned) trust issues are just a fact of life that we're just gonna have to deal with as best we can until further notice. But in the meantime, while acknowledging that we're grading on the Oakland Curve this week, any and all glimpses of progress should be accepted with gratitude regardless, and even baby steps are worthy of standing applause, no? Hell, I'll take it for sure.

And if we can set aside our trust issues and resist the perfectly reasonable urge to be overly-skeptical for a damn second, it's not like it can all be explained away as a good day against a terrible opponent. It's still early, of course, but some of these positives seem to be actually materializing for real. Perhaps it's not quite that time just yet, but at some point you've gotta start believing what you're seeing with your own eyes, don't you?

Cam Jordan, Akiem Hicks and Kenny Vaccaro are sure as hell beginning to look like real live bona fide badasses, no? And two up front and one on the back end all over the freakin' place is a damn fine start. Glenn Foster and Tyrunn Walker sure do look the part of high quality second-stringers at this point, and that's important too.

Speaking of high quality second-stringers, let him who hath understanding reckon the Humber Of The Beast!

And don't even get me started on John Jenkins. This dude's already got Ralph thinking about buying a jersey, for crying out loud! Which is quite the feat, considering that apparently Saint Ralph of Perpetual Doom is BACK, BABY! Aaaaaah, feels like old times.

I'm just giving Ralph shit of course, and Rob Ryan's Big Chart of Fun sounds like it'll be one hell of an amusing 2013 feature. So far, my only objection is that I don't think the goals Ralph is laying out are nearly as daunting as he seems to think they are. Especially if you consider the 2012 baselines to be a little specious. We here at moosedenied are of the opinion that 2012 was the very definition of an outlier. And although they did in fact post those very real and very horrid numbers last year, I'm just not sure it's "fair" to use that as the baseline going forward. I can see how it's reasonable to choose to do that, but at the same time, I think it might paint an inaccurately grim picture of how difficult it'll actually be. Hell, for all we know at this point, half the battle might have already been won way back in January when they took Spagnuolo out behind the barn.

Don't get me wrong though, it's not like the skepticism isn't still perfectly justified. After all, they're still putting the hard sell on us with this whole Will Smith Redemption Arc, which is still mostly just silly.

But there must be something at least kinda-sorta real going on there since, despite half the goddamn linebackers on the roster not even bothering to put on pads right about now, they were still comfortable with waiving Future Hall of Famer Chase Thomas and reducing their number of white-linebackers-not-named-Scott-Shanle to a fan-enragingly scant two. And now Chase goes to Oakland to become The Next Ted Hendricks! Shit! LOOMIS!!!

Anyway, I'm assuming we'll get a clearer picture this weekend against the Oilers Shelbyvillians. (BRING BACK THE OILERS, ASSHOLES! ROGER!!!!)

It will have been exactly one year since the Texans came to the Dome to take on Our Heroes (and Aaron Kromer) on Aug 25, 2012 for a week 3 round of preseason pushing and shoving. No word yet on whether or not Sean Payton will allow Bret Ingalls to play head coach for this game. You know, just for shits and giggles.

But even if not, there are plenty of other amusing parallels to that game last preseason. For example, the Saints had two white linebackers on the field all night because all the other linebackers were injured. Akiem Hicks and Cam Jordan kicked a fair amount of ass. Travaris Cadet managed to survive another week despite not doing anything particularly impressive. That kind of thing.

You may also recall that the defense as a whole did one hell of a fine job that night against one of the more formidable offenses in the league. Well, right after those first two drives went 80 yards on 8 plays in 3:57 for a touchdown, and 40 yards on 5 plays in 3:01 for another touchdown and a whiplash-causing 14-0 Saints deficit, that is. Schaub went 15 of 18 for 194. 24 points allowed in the first half.

But hey, other than that, everything was great. Held 'em to 83 rushing yards and 1 of 9 on third down. Forced 5 fumbles (3 for takeaways) and posted 6 sacks. This Spagnuolo dude is a fuckin' genius! And don't even get me started on Patrick Robinson and Kaare White!

So… yeah. Guh.

This just in: all indications are that the Texans are still pretty damn good. 304 passing yards and 122 rushing yards per game so far this preseason. 25.5 points per game. Top 10 across the board.

So hey, if the Saints can manage to not allow two touchdowns in the first 8 minutes and post a PTOMAC™ somewhat lower than 24 in the first half, that ought to look pretty good on the ole Rob Ryan Big Chart of Fun, don't you think?

Fingers crossed.

Meantime, FUN FACT: The Texans have a rookie tight end named Ryan Griffin.

They also have our old friend and notorious Spags-disser Elbert Mack. Rock on, Elbert!

As long as Terron Armstead doesn't let Luke McCown get straight fuckin' DESTROYED by Sam Montgomery, it ought to be fun times Sunday afternoon. Not to mention educational. You've gotta figure there's gonna be a shitload of smoke-clearing going on this weekend. Lots of stuff coming into focus. Shit getting real and whatnot.

So enjoy. Unless it's a trainwreck. Which it might very well be. But keep a change of pants handy just in case it isn't. I know I will be. Because if they manage to shut these fools down, it's officially on.

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