Every-Thing Sports

3 reasons the Texans won't sign problematic players

Composite photo by Jack Brame

The Texans are in a unique position. They're coming off a playoff appearance, had/have a fair amount of cap space, need to use said cap space to resign their star quarterback, have very little draft capital to bring in cheap labor, and traded their quarterback's best offensive weapon. Maybe unique wasn't the word to use. Unenviable. Difficult. Predicament. Pickle. Maybe one of those better describes their state of affairs at the moment. While they could use an infusion of talent, I'll have to disagree with Coty Davis' article last week about them signing Josh Gordon.

Don't get me wrong. I know it may seem as if I'm being pessimistic, but it's hard to remain hopeful given the way Bill O'Brien has shaped this franchise in his tenure. Sure, he may be a mad scientist who finally figures out his magic potion. He could also be a tinfoil hat wearing buffoon who ruins a franchise. One thing that's clear in his approach: O'Brien will get rid of any player he perceives as a distraction despite what talent they may possess. Jadeveon Clowney: gone. DeAndre Hopkins: bye bye.

O'Brien is looking for guys that'll toe the company line. Anything outside that is seen as detrimental to the progress he's trying to make. Sure, guys like Kenny Stills could be viewed as someone outside that spectrum given his stance on kneeling for the national anthem, but it actually goes along with O'Brien's recent stance of supporting his players' ability to express themselves. The organization's recent stance on social justice issues doesn't mean they're willing to take chances.

History

Historically, the Texans have been an organization that has steered clear of guys who've been deemed not "Texan-Worthy." You have something questionable in your background? You're probably off their radar. They've passed on guys in both the draft and free agency based on character concerns. I simply don't see them shifting course all of a sudden.

O'Brien wants his kind of guys

As previously stated, O'Brien has gotten rid of extremely talented guys seemingly based off personal bias at worst, or a foolish professional bias at best. When Clowney nets loose cigarettes and Hopkins fetches leftovers from a buffet, you know it was more personal than personnel. O'Brien wouldn't trade a set of headaches for another headache. He may be crazy, but he's not that stupid.

Image/Optics

Part of the reason this organization has never signed guys with a little stain on them is the way they look. A guy who's socially conscious nowadays is much more acceptable than a multiple drug suspension guy. While our society may be forgiving, there's always a stigma attached to certain types of people. As a guy who's been in the cleaning industry for almost two decades now, I think I know a bit about what stains will and won't clean up. Multiple drug offenses/suspensions is like having a pet urine stain on handmade wool antique rug that was vegetable dyed. Google it.

Could a player like Josh Gordon help the Texans? Of course he could. Would the Texans ever sign a guy like Gordon? Highly unlikely. I would love to see Gordon in a Texans jersey whenever the NFL comes back, but it's about as likely as getting the Hatfields and McCoys together for a family dinner. We don't always get what we want when it comes to sports. Gordon making his way back to the NFL for his hometown team would be a redemption story for the ages. Hollywood would be chomping at the bit to produce a movie like this. Unfortunately, movies don't turn out the way we want them to. Some don't even make it past the idea room. This one appears to have been lost on the cutting room floor.

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The Astros suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Yankees Thursday. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

After an impressive two-game sweep of the NL-best Mets at home earlier in the week, the Astros took to the road to begin a four-game series with the league-best Yankees on Thursday night. To little surprise, the series started with a bang (no, not a trash can bang) in more ways than one, confirming that this series should be a must-watch this weekend.

New York's comeback proves no lead will be safe

Right from the get-go, the loud Yankee Stadium faithful had their chance to rain boos down on Jose Altuve before showing some pleasure as he led off the series by being hit by a pitch. They were quickly, though only temporarily, quieted as Altuve would come in to score two batters later on a three-run blast by Alex Bregman.

Three-run homers seemed to be a theme, as New York would get one of their own to tie the game off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton to tie the game, then Yordan Alvarez continued his dominant June by pushing the Astros back in front by three with another three-run bomb in the third, making it 6-3. That lead held through to the bottom of the ninth, where instead of holding it, Ryan Pressly issued two walks to set up the fourth homer of the game to tie things again before Aaron Judge would get a walk-off single to complete the impressive comeback.

Not only will we get to sit back and watch the slug-fest between Yordan and Judge this weekend, but it looks like with Alex Bregman swinging well again to round out the top of Houston's order, the Astros may be getting closer to their full power. So far in June, these two teams sit third and fourth in on-base percentage, with the Astros at .351 and the Yankees right behind at .350. That means we should continue to see scoring opportunities on both sides that can tilt momentum one way or the other as these lineups try to battle against the opposing pitcher.

How will the aces fare

Verlander vs. Judge, and Cole vs. Alvarez, need I say more? Although we won't see Justin Verlander go up against Gerrit Cole in the same game in this series (they should go head to head next Thursday, however), they will pitch on back-to-back days, with Houston's ace going Friday night and New York's on Saturday afternoon. Verlander is coming off his worst start of the year, a three and two-thirds inning outing where the White Sox put up seven runs, four earned, against him and knocked him out early to give him his third loss and increased his ERA from 1.94 to 2.30.

The last time he faced the Yankees was in the Bronx in the 2019 playoffs, in ALCS Game 5, where he went seven frames while allowing four runs, all on two homers in the first inning, which is all New York needed to grab the 4-1 victory to make it a 3-2 Houston lead in the series, which the Astros would go on to clinch in Game 6. So, with the double dose of bad taste in his mouth, it will be interesting to see if he can use that as the fuel to get back to the phenomenal form he's had this year or if the Yankees try to jump on him early like they did nearly three years ago.

Cole, meanwhile, is fresh off of two quality starts in a row against the Rays, where he allowed just one run on six hits with nineteen strikeouts over 13.1 innings of work. He's had his share of strife this season, though, including a seven-run shelling by the Twins earlier this month, along with a start in April where he couldn't make it through two innings against the Tigers. He's had success against his former club, most notably a complete-game shutout in Houston last July with twelve K's and holding the Astros to just three hits.

If the series opener was any indication, we are in for the treat of a playoff-caliber matchup, if not a potential ALCS preview that we may see in October. The Yankees showed why they have the best record and are the hottest team in baseball on Thursday night, but the Astros were only a good outing from their closer away from having a relatively lopsided win. The rivalry is real; the competition is close, and we get to enjoy the show.

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