Plenty to work on for a few players hoping to make the team

11 Texans-Packers observations

Observations from the Texans preseason opener against the Packers.

Coutee's injury

The Texans might have escaped a serious mishap with Keke Coutee their standout slot wide receiver. He later tweeted, then deleted, he believed his injury wasn't serious. He is a key player for this offense so his health is a huge story going forward.

Crockett claws for more

There is still hope for the young players trying to make the Texans at running back. Duke Johnson only solidifies the second spot, not the third. Crockett had some solid runs.

Max it out

Max Scharping handled himself well in his return home. Plenty of friends of family and he had some nice push on the right side. He looked better today than he has in some practices and he picks things up quick. I am excited to see what he looks like against a stout Lions front in joint practices.

Busted but balling

Tyron Johnson was able to cobble together some catches on some not so good plays for the offense. The above play was a broken one but he kept his focus. Later he came back and won a rep to catch another. He has had a solid camp.

Hot and cold for Tytus Howard

Howard played a ton at left guard even after the starter tonight at left tackle, Matt Kalil, left the game. He did ok. Some nice reps but he had a goal line whiff. When he played left tackle he didn't allow much pressure but one play didn't look great. He has played so much more guard than tackle this seems ambitious to now ask him to play tackle.

Lonnie gets beat

One of the Green Bay touchdowns came at the expense of rookie cornerback Lonnie Johnson. The Packers wideout had plenty of space to work and Johnson just misplayed it a little as the Packers player came down with the score.

Mancz hobbles off

Backup center Greg Mancz was injured and didn't return to the game for the Texans. He has been playing a ton with presumed starter Nick Martin also hurt. Zach Fulton is the team's third center. Mancz has not had a very solid camp. This team needs Martin to get back and play well.

Decent start for Roby

Bradley Roby had some good work in the game. The Packers were able to complete a few on him but he also came up and made some stops. He sticks with guys he will just need to make a play or two.

Akins plays well

With no Jordan Thomas and no Kahale Warring the bulk of the fun tight end work went to Jordan Akins who had a couple of catches. He made a couple of defenders miss and fought for a first down. He's a solid player.

Higdon's here

Karan Higdon had some nice plays tonight on special teams and running the ball. There is a long way to go as he is behind after missing some work in the spring but there's a chance for him.

It's not nothing

I get it is preseason and the games don't matter. Bill O'Brien's challenge was a horrible challenge and in a real game would have been terribly costly. It is practice for something like that as well and the Texans, again, bungled it.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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