FALCON POINTS

A look at how hardcore Texans fans would react to a Deshaun Watson trade

A look at how hardcore Texans fans would react to a Deshaun Watson trade
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Fortunately the Texans have given us plenty of ammunition.

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Now, back to the Texans. This is not a Bill O'Brien hit piece. My opinion of him is well known. Instead I wanted to reach out to the hardcore fan base and share their opinions.

The DeAndre Hopkins trade has angered fans more than anything I have seen in a long time. Maybe it is the added stress of the world falling apart, but fans rightly lost their minds. However, the daunting issue that followed is the way quarterback Deshaun Watson reacted. His cryptic tweets made it clear he was not happy with the deal.

It also has led to speculation that Watson himself could be traded.

Some sites have even gone so far as to speculate as to what a trade would like like. While such a move seems improbable, after O'Brien's deal to ship out Hopkins, anything seems possible. And while the Hopkins trade was a body blow, dealing Watson could be the knockout punch for a lot of fans.

However, there is a contingent that will stick with the team no matter what. I reached out to several of them to get their opinion of a potential Watson trade. The most common responses:

"It would suck, but this is my team ride or die."

"If they think it's the best thing for the franchise."

And even, "I trust Bill O'Brien."

I am not here to judge or argue. I have a lot of respect for hardcore Texans fans who support their team no matter what. I merely wanted to gauge what their response would be should the unthinkable happen.

Several were more than happy to share their opinions publicly, but I chose to keep everyone anonymous to prevent them from getting the inevitable Twitter "how the hell can you think that" responses. You can always attack me with that. I've made no bones about my thoughts on the Texans GM/coach. I wanted to give the team's most dedicated supporters a voice.

I was surprised there were a few who are not sold on Watson.

"If he decides to trade Watson, it is because he doesn't think he can win with him. Maybe people will realize Watson is just not that good. O'Brien had similar success with a lot of other quarterbacks. He even made the playoffs with Brock Osweiler."

The one response that really resonated - and maybe in these times we can all relate - was that hardcore fandom for many of them is about more than the team.

"My husband and I have had season tickets for years. We have sat with the same people, became friends, tailgated and traveled to road games together. For us it is about camaraderie, friendship, and the Texans have given us that. We would not give that up for anything. We just have to hope they do the right thing, but we will be there no matter what."

To me, that is the best explanation. There are relationships we all have around different things, and they are important. I've developed similar friendships through poker, horse racing, basketball and several other things over the years. Why not around a sports team?

Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail, and the team will move on with Watson as its quarterback. If not, there is a contingent out there that will stick with the team no matter what. Those fans deserve a voice so that's what I have given them here in hopes that maybe those of us who don't get it at least understand where they are coming from.

If we ever get back to normal, these fans will still be at games, tailgating, cheering and having a good time. We should not fault that, just as they should accept that some fans will be up in arms.

It will be interesting to see how things play out over the next few months. Hell, we might not even have NFL football this year. O'Brien has undoubtedly lost some of the fan base, but it is hard to see how much. But we know there are always fans who stick with it no matter what.

Hopefully this gives some insight into why.



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The Astros have their work cut out for them. Composite Getty Image.

Through 20 games, the Houston Astros have managed just six wins and are in last place in the AL West.

Their pitching staff trails only Colorado with a 5.24 ERA and big-money new closer Josh Hader has given up the same number of earned runs in 10 games as he did in 61 last year.

Despite this, these veteran Astros, who have reached the AL Championship Series seven consecutive times, have no doubt they’ll turn things around.

“If there’s a team that can do it, it’s this team,” shortstop Jeremy Peña said.

First-year manager Joe Espada, who was hired in January to replace the retired Dusty Baker, discussed his team’s early struggles.

“It’s not ideal,” he said. “It’s not what we expected, to come out of the shoot playing this type of baseball. But you know what, this is where we’re at and we’ve got to pick it up and play better. That’s just the bottom line.”

Many of Houston’s problems have stemmed from a poor performance by a rotation that has been decimated by injuries. Ace Justin Verlander and fellow starter José Urquidy haven’t pitched this season because of injuries and lefty Framber Valdez made just two starts before landing on the injured list with a sore elbow.

Ronel Blanco, who threw a no-hitter in his season debut April 1, has pitched well and is 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA in three starts this season. Cristian Javier is also off to a good start, going 2-0 with a 1.54 ERA in four starts, but the team has won just two games not started by those two pitchers.

However, Espada wouldn’t blame the rotation for Houston’s current position.

“It’s been a little bit of a roller coaster how we've played overall,” he said. “One day we get good starting pitching, some days we don’t. The middle relief has been better and sometimes it hasn’t been. So, we’ve just got to put it all together and then play more as a team. And once we start doing that, we’ll be in good shape.”

The good news for the Astros is that Verlander will make his season debut Friday night when they open a series at Washington and Valdez should return soon after him.

“Framber and Justin have been a great part of our success in the last few years,” second baseman Jose Altuve said. “So, it’s always good to have those two guys back helping the team. We trust them and I think it’s going to be good.”

Hader signed a five-year, $95 million contract this offseason to give the Astros a shutdown 7-8-9 combination at the back end of their bullpen with Bryan Abreu and Ryan Pressly. But the five-time All-Star is off to a bumpy start.

He allowed four runs in the ninth inning of a 6-1 loss to the Braves on Monday night and has yielded eight earned runs this season after giving up the same number in 56 1/3 innings for San Diego last year.

He was much better Wednesday when he struck out the side in the ninth before the Astros fell to Atlanta in 10 innings for their third straight loss.

Houston’s offense, led by Altuve, Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker, ranks third in the majors with a .268 batting average and is tied for third with 24 homers this season. But the Astros have struggled with runners in scoring position and often failed to get a big hit in close games.

While many of Houston’s hitters have thrived this season, one notable exception is first baseman José Abreu. The 37-year-old, who is in the second year of a three-year, $58.5 million contract, is hitting 0.78 with just one extra-base hit in 16 games, raising questions about why he remains in the lineup every day.

To make matters worse, his error on a routine ground ball in the eighth inning Wednesday helped the Braves tie the game before they won in extra innings.

Espada brushed off criticism of Abreu and said he knows the 2020 AL MVP can break out of his early slump.

“Because (of) history,” Espada said. “The back of his baseball card. He can do it.”

Though things haven’t gone well for the Astros so far, everyone insists there’s no panic in this team which won its second World Series in 2022.

Altuve added that he doesn’t have to say anything to his teammates during this tough time.

“I think they’ve played enough baseball to know how to control themselves and how to come back to the plan we have, which is winning games,” he said.

The clubhouse was quiet and somber Wednesday after the Astros suffered their third series sweep of the season and second at home. While not panicking about the slow start, this team, which has won at least 90 games in each of the last three seasons, is certainly not happy with its record.

“We need to do everything better,” third baseman Alex Bregman said. “I feel like we’re in a lot of games, but we just haven’t found a way to win them. And good teams find a way to win games. So we need to find a way to win games.”

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