11 Texans questions ahead of training camp

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There's plenty more questions around the Texans but this is about the almost 90 men scheduled to take the field this week with hopes of making that finale 53.

Who benefits from Clowney's absence?

Brennan Scarlett and Whitney Mercilus are the two main benefactors. They will each get opportunities to be Clowney in camp and the team has to prepare as if their franchise tagged defender isn't showing anytime soon.

For Scarlett, he has a chance to continue to elevate his game and become a key piece on this team. He has had a few big plays but adding some more the resume would go a very long way. He's shown a flash of being able to cover from the outside spot and if he can continue that success that is a weapon for the defense.

With Mercilus, he gets to be Whitney Mercilus. I can't explain how or why the Texans used him the way they did last season. It seemed like a waste of what he does best which is rush the passer. Letting Mercilus rush the passer is the best use of him.

What will Will look like?

​Will Fuller should be ready from day one. That is great news considering he had an injury that ended his 2018 campaign. I can make a solid argument he is one of the most important players on this team. He might not be a full participant for the whole camp, but showing signs of the game breaking talent he possess will be a fun watch.

Who is Johnathan Joseph's starting partner at corner?

Yet another season sees Joseph manning one side of the field. Who ends up across from him is your guess as good as mine. Aaron Colvin might be better suited for inside play. Bradley Roby is a big-ticket free agent. Lonnie Johnson Jr. is a player the Texans would love to see end up there. If I had to guess, Roby is the guy but let's see what camp delivers to us.

Tytus time?

Will the first round pick, the much criticsized first round pick, play left tackle? Will he play right tackle? Will he play tackle at all? Those are all sub questions of this big question. Where he lines up now might not be where he lines up week one.

Scharping enough to cut?

This isn't so much about Scharping as much as if the team will have enough faith in the second round pick. If he is serviceable from day one, it could spell doom for some veterans vying for a spot. His potential versatility across the line could mean Matt Kalil, Seantrell Henderson, or Senio Kelemete are on their way out.

Keke are you healthy? 

Training camp was almost wasted for Coutee last year due to injury. It is simple, if he is healthy he's one of the most dangerous players on the offense. If he isn't healthy he leaves one of the biggest holes on the offense. There isn't anyone close to being able to replicate his production.

Four and five who's alive?

The Texans did a poor job with the makeup of their wide receiver room coming out of camp. Coutee's injury put them in a bind but Sammie Coates never made it on the field and Bruce Ellington didn't work as intended. They have a chance to better themselves and I will say, they clearly saw something in Smith as he made the team. Smith looks worlds better than his rookie year. A totally different wideout. If it is as simple as DeAndre Carter here, then so be it. But, if not then Tyron Johnson and Johnnie Dixon could sneak onto the team.

Who will return?

I have no idea who will be the returners for this team. This will be one of the better battles but DeAndre Carter should be the favorite if he gets on the field fast enough. It wouldn't shock me to see a lot of different guys get a turn trying to win this job. Ultimately, if Carter could solidify the spot, it would help the Texans a lot.

I Don't Know is third

I don't believe the team's third running back is on this team right now. If he is, we could see treatment of the running back room a lot like last year where they lean primarily on just the top two backs. Buddy Howell doesn't seem like he is going to ever get a chance to carry the ball so he is barely considered a running back. If I had to pick before any action I would say Josh Ferguson.

Will he be a factor?

Cullen Gillaspia is on this team as a fullback and special teams ace. But will he matter? Will he get the chance to impress with his athleticism on offense? Can he learn the position further after playing it just one season in college? He's a new-age fullback so hopefully the Texans treat him as such.

Who is a long shot to roster spot?

Chris Johnson is a safety from North Alabama. He is 6'3" and ran some fast 40 times in the lead up to the draft. There is room for an athletic special team player who could learn the safety spot over the course of the season. Johnny Dwight played at Alabama. You don't play at Alabama unless there is something there. He didn't play a ton, but Nick Saban let him stick around.

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Many of the games have been hard to watch. Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

They say that breaking up is hard to do, then comes the rebuilding, and that's where the real pain happens. Last week, the 4-9 Rockets lost a tough game, 103-91, to the very average San Antonio Spurs at Toyota Center. That night, Ben McLemore scored 21 points, while P.J. Tucker contributed four points.

Every other point for the Rockets was scored by a player who wasn't on the team last year. That's no way to build a fan base of young people, or older people, or anybody. Because of COVID restrictions, the Rockets can sell only 3,000 tickets to games, and they're still having to offer special deals like four tickets and four drinks (soda, water, wine or beer) for $79.

The night the Rockets fell to the Spurs, DeMarcus Cousins was out with an ankle injury (surprise), John Wall was out with a sore knee (shock), and Eric Gordon sat with a lower leg injury (stunning). They were not sidelined by COVID protocol, it was age creakiness. All three are on the other side of 30. All have a history of missing games because of injuries. Danuel House also missed the game because of a bad back and COVID protocol.

The Rockets took to the floor with able-bodied Mason Jones, David Nwaba, Rodions Kurucs, Kenyon Martin Jr., Jae'Sean Tate and Christian Wood. They're nice players, for sure, they're on an NBA roster. But the NBA is a megastar-driven operation. How many of them would you recognize if they were standing behind you at Costco? The way the Rockets sign, trade and cut players, many or most of the current roster won't be around next year. Becoming a fan of a current Rocket is like falling in love with the Rug Doctor you rented for the weekend at a supermarket. It's going back Monday.

Last year, the head coach was Mike D'Antoni, the general manager was Daryl Morey. Both are established and respected figures in the league. Would you recognize the Rockets new coach Stephen Silas? Can you even name the Rockets new general manager?

And that's how you sink to 14th place in the Western Conference standings, inevitably a lottery team, the end to the Rockets' eight-year run of making the playoffs … the longest current streak in the NBA. The 2021 Rockets aren't just a lousy product, it's worse, they're a boring team. Gordon and Tucker, maybe the two most popular Rockets veterans, are rumored to be traded soon. Fans will have abandonment issues.

Maybe the Rockets should offer something stiffer than beer on "Guys Night Out" next Thursday when the Portland Trail Blazers visit Toyota Center. Good seats available.

That's not what you want to see

Did you see where the New York Mets fired their general manager Jared Porter because he sent explicit, uninvited, unanswered text messages to a female reporter?. Porter absolutely deserved to lose his job. What he did was awful and cruel. More than just losing his job, he should be committed to a home for the terminally stupid. Who does something that moronic? So unconscionable and abusive, on top of being job-killing.

But not all junk shots are meant to be hurtful – here's one that's actually funny, and totally inadvertent and innocent. Several years ago, a local sportscaster not only took a photo of his naked, anatomically correct body, he posted it on Facebook for all of his friends, indeed the world, to see. I won't name the local sportscaster because he was the victim of his own innocent lack of focus. It could have happened to anybody. Not me, thankfully, but anybody else.

Here's how it happened. The sportscaster was taking a shower, and when he emerged, he noticed his kitten curled up in the bathroom sink. Aw, isn't that cute? The sportscaster grabbed his phone and took a photo.

And posted it on Facebook. He didn't notice that, in the background of the photo, in the mirror, was his naked body. You can't say he was butt naked because it was full frontal nudity. You can't say it was a wardrobe malfunction because there was no wardrobe involved. Fortunately his wife noticed the mishap and told the sportscaster to delete the photo.

Here's the real problem, and his solid alibi. Whoever thought it was a good idea to put huge, wide mirrors in the bathroom, especially opposite the bath tub? There's a good look, you're naked, dripping wet, with patches of soap you missed rinsing off. This should be a fleeting disturbing image, not one to be preserved on film or online. Solution: don't bring your phone, or any photographic equipment, into the bathroom. We've all taken accidental photos. Nobody needs to see a photo of your disgusting body. You are not Michelangelo's statue of David. I don't let my dog watch me take a shower or any other business conducted in the bathroom. There is a reason that bathroom doors have locks. Use them.

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