All the reasons the Texans still have something to play for
As if everything we've dealt with in 2020 so far hasn't been hard enough, Houston sports fans have a little more that they're dealing with. We've had murder hornets, Tiger King, COVID-19, social unrest, election year, Kobe died, and the Olympics were postponed among other major events due to COVID-19. Talk about a kick in the crotch!
Add to that the fact that Houston sports fans have had to endure the Astros cheating scandal and its fallout with manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow getting fired, Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni not re-signing, and general Darryl Morey stepping down, but the Texans finally liberated themselves of head coach/general manager Bill O'Brien. All three major pro sports franchises got rid of their head coaches and general managers. Pretty sure this has never happened in one city before.
We all know football is king in Texas. So when your team starts 1-6 while looking like they can't fight their way out of a wet paper bag if armed with an AR15, you don't have much hope. I feel your pain Texans fans. I've been there as a fan before. The uneasy feeling of hopelessness that could last for another couple seasons potentially cripples you mentally. Your fandom is called into serious question. Others openly challenge your commitment to your team when they obviously have their priorities messed up because they allow a modern-day Christian version of Littlefinger to take control of day to day operations.
So I know you're asking yourselves: why in the hell would Jermaine think there's still something to play for this season?!? I'm so glad you asked! There are a few reasons I think fans, and the team itself, shouldn't eject on this season just yet.
For starters, Deshaun Watson is your franchise quarterback. He's only 25 years old, in the midst of his fourth season, and was just signed to an extension. Paying him what they did, they need to get the most out of him at all times. This means fine-tuning and developing his game in order to maximize his output while he's under contract. I don't care who's still on staff, developing Watson, and getting him to realize his potential is the top priority.
Shedding salaries for mid to late round draft picks will only serve to add potential depth to a team that needs frontline starting talent in order to change. Sure, some of those picks can be used to get said starters, but do we trust this regime in its current form to make those selections? While I'd normally be all for trading guys and acquiring more draft picks this team so desperately lacks, I'm leery on it yielding the return of investment needed.
There's also the younger guys on this roster that need playing time. Evaluating the younger talent on this team is huge. Cheap labor is how teams build and keep the salary cap under control. With all the overpaid guys under contract, playing and seeing what young/cheap guys can do is valuable. There are guys from the last couple drafts that could be busts, or could be misused while still having potential.
There's also the remote outside shot of going on a run and getting the seventh and final playoff spot in the AFC. As of this writing, the Texans are about four to five games out of that final playoff spot. Their remaining opponents have a combined 30-26 record, so it won't be easy. However, they have a few winnable games and could pull off a run like they did a couple years ago. Stranger things have happened. Will this team pull itself together and be able to make people care again this season? That remains to be seen. Let's see how it goes and take it game by game. The trade deadline will give us a peek into their mindset.