OFF THE TOP OF MY BALD HEAD

Barry Warner: Keenum's success is a great local story, plus Texans, Astros and Keith Jackson

Case Keenum is a great story. Vikings.com

Other than the Astros winning the World Series, there is not a better local story than Case Keenum.  The former Cougar record setting quarterback, who could not get drafted and was cut by the Texans twice, is on his way to becoming a very rich man. His walkoff touchdown pass Sunday added to what he will get paid this offseason when he becomes a free agent.

Saints safety Marcus Williams stood up after his gaffe in the divisional playoff game and took responsibility for allowing Stefon Diggs’ game-winning touchdown. Saints teammates came to his defense immediately after the game and again on social media Monday. The kid showed maturity way beyond his years.  But that does not excuse the lack of fundamental football we watch weekly in the garbage known as the NFL. Whatever happened to the art of tackling, wrapping your arms around a player and bringing them down? The Cardinal rule is for a defensive back to always look for the ball.

I am so sick of guys trying to make SportsCenter with big hits. They should be called turtles.

Texans add a GM

Brian Gaines is a solid hire and makes Billy O and his four-year extension the winner.

For starters, most pro franchises do not rely on head hunting firms to find coaches or executives.  Most are smart enough to know the top candidates.  But not your deep thinkers on Kirby.  So, you do not get the ability to tap into the minds of candidates on their evaluation of your talent. The same with solving many personnel problems within the cap.

It is both a joke and a travesty that they interviewed two house men.

Mc Nair, rightfully so, knew that O’Brien had at least four solid offers.  He was afraid of firing a coach only to see him have success after leaving this joke of a franchise. Does the name Gary Kubiak ring a bell?

One of few times in my career does the head coach get to pick the GM.

Please explain to me how the Texans have the balls to charge more money for such a terrible product.

Nice move for Astros

Gerritt Cole now an Astro. The former top pick in the draft will be here through 2019 when arbitration kicks in.  The price was nominal since Colin Moran was never going to be a starting third baseman and Michael Feliz cannot stay healthy. Joe Musgrove found his niche in the bull pen after demotion to minors.

Where are the fans, Rockets?

Why all the empty seats in the high dollar lower bowl? What does that say about the Houston business community that they can’t give away free tickets? Not questioning the brilliance of Tilman Fertitta, but the NBA will always be in third place the hearts of Houstonians. H-Town belongs to the Astros.

R.I.P. Keith Jackson

Dick Enberg has a cocktail partner in Heaven, with the passing of the great Keith Jackson.  His calls were melodious, up and down the scale — never losing the clippity-clop of his Southern upbringing.

The great sportscasters — and Jackson was truly great — all have a three-octave range and an understanding of storyline and plot points, knowing instinctively when to speak and, more importantly, when not to.

"They talk too damn much," he said once, in describing today’s yappy young announcers. "You wear the audience out."

In his long career, Jackson covered everything — rowing, baseball, boat races and Olympic Games. But it was college football that fit him best. Born in Georgia, he reminded you of an old Southern line coach, broadly built and with a bit of barroom bluster, like his growling soulmate Bear Bryant, with whom he used to pal around.

Every fan at that time remembers Jackson’s signature phrases, “Whoa Nellie,” “fum-BULLLLL,” and “big uglies” — referring to linemen — and how he anointed the Rose Bowl “The Granddaddy of ’em all.”

I had the privilege of being with this incredible broadcaster for the first Monday Night Football in 1970, when Jackson was the play-by-play voice alongside the brilliant-yet-boastful Howard Cosell and “Dandy” Don Meredith.  It was interesting working with Cosell to see the respect he held for Jackson.  

I saw the Iconic broadcaster several times after that night, which changed television, with Jackson always taking a few minutes to chat or do an interview.

He was one of a kind.

Chirp.

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Let's make a deal. Photo by Getty Images. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

The NFL trade deadline is less than a week away, and the Houston Texans have a significant decision to make regarding their franchise star, J.J. Watt. The Texans are 1-6 through the first seven games of the season, and the next few years of the franchise seem a bit bleak.

No player or staff member has encapsulated Houston's frustration quite like Watt. Excluding the Texans' victory over the Jaguars, the future Hall of Famer has looked miserable in every post-game press conference. Each week, it's the constant look of despair. And in hindsight, closing the chapter on Watt's career in Houston seems to be best for both parties.

At 31-years-old, the All-Pro defensive tackle should be spending the twilight of his career competing for Super Bowls — not playing for a team who is clearly about to hit the reset button at the conclusion of this season.

By departing from Watt, it would allow the Texans to get a jumpstart on their rebuilding project — one that has the potential to bring back quality draft picks, a young prospect, and clear close to $20 million in cap space.

If they decide not to move on from Watt, the Texans risk putting themselves in a situation where they may miss out on obtaining higher draft picks and strapped for cash heading into the 2021 free agency market. And with one year left on his contract following 2020, the Texans also risk losing leverage in a potential deal if forced into trading Watt come next season.

At this stage of his career, the Texans may not receive a haul for Watt's services but could maximize his trade value by dealing him to a championship-contending team. A move that would give Watt the best chances of adding a championship title to his luxurious resume in return.

With the future of the franchise in mind, here are three potential trade ideas that would be best if the Texans are truly considering moving on from Watt.

Watt returns home to Wisconsin and joins the Packers

Texans receive: 2021 first-round pick and LB Kamal Martin

Packer receive: J.J. Watt

The Green Bay Packers are one of a handful of teams who has a realistic chance to stamp their ticket to Super Bowl LV. Following a win over the Texans on Sunday, the Packers stand first in the NFC North with a 5-1 record and possess one of the NFL's best offensive teams.

Green Bay's offense can compete in a shootout with just about any team in the league, but their defense may be the reason why they fall short of representing the NFC in Tampa Bay come February. They have only accumulated a total of 10 quarterback hits and are currently 30th in the league in pass rush through the first six games. The Packers' lack of ability to get to the opposing team's quarterback could be an immense problem during a playoff game that could feature Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Russell Wilson.

So what do the Packers have to lose by acquiring their Wisconsin native?

The addition of Watt would allow the Packers to add one of the best pass rushers of all-time. Although Watt is nowhere near the player that finished second behind Aaron Rogers for league MVP honors in 2015, he has illustrated that he is still a disruptive defensive lineman five years later.

Through the first seven games, Watt has accounted for 11 pressures, six quarterback hits and three sacks — which would make him Green Bay's second most reliable pass rusher trailing only Za'Darius Smith.

For the Texans, receiving a first-round pick for Watt is self-explanatory and would be the most suitable return for the aging star. However, for a team that is building for the future, the Texans should consider obtaining a young and raw prospect to evaluate.

Kamal Martin, a fifth-round draft selection in 2020, made his NFL debut against the Texans on Sunday and left an exceptional first impression. He recorded six tackles and one tackle for loss in 29 snaps inside NRG Stadium, and could be a building block should the Texans begin to make modifications to their linebacking corps.

Seattle sends multiple draft picks for Watt

Texans receive: 2021 second-round pick and fourth-round pick

Seahawks receive: J.J. Watt

If the Packers do not take advantage of improving their pass rush with Watt — perhaps the Seattle Seahawks will. Both NFC teams mirror each other with a high-powered offense, but a feeble defense may hinder one another from advancing to the Super Bowl. In a deal for Watt to the Seahawks, the Texans would miss out on the chance to acquire a first-rounder, but obtaining multiple picks would be just as prominent.

Seattle's general manager John Schneider is no stranger to taking a significant risk, and appears willing to make any moves that will put his organization closer to their long-overdue second title with Russell Wilson. Perhaps, Watt would be that missing key.

The Seahawks are pretty solid at stopping the run but need a tremendous upgrade in their pass defense. Seattle has given up the second-most passing yards on the season (2,212), and the reason seems to be their inability to get to the quarterback. Seattle has only implemented pressure to the opposing team's quarterback on 20.1% of their dropbacks, while only recording a total of nine sacks.

The Seahawks pass defense may not become elite, but the disruption of Watt on their defensive line could be enough to limit the devastation they have experienced through the first seven weeks of the season.

Watt to the Big Easy for Brees' last dance

Texans receive: 2021 second-round pick and Marcus Davenport

Saints receive: J.J. Watt

Seven weeks into the season, the New Orleans Saints are not sitting near the top of the NFC nor their division when compared to recent years. A bevy of injuries have been attributed to their minor decline this season — mainly to their All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas.

However, the Saints have prevailed through the injury bug to march their way to a 4-2 record. If New Orleans can get healthy during the second half of the season, they will be in the running to represent the NFC in Tampa Bay for Super Bowl LV. But unlike the Packers and Seahawks, this could be the Saints last chance to recapture the Vince Lombardi Trophy in what is likely Drew Brees' last dance.

The addition of Watt to the Saints would give general manager Mickey Loomis a chance to create the most disruptive defensive line in the league. Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen would be able to shift the five-time Pro-Bowler to the interior — allowing the Saints to trot out a d-line of Watt, Cameron Jordan and Trey Hendrickson.

This trade would give Watt arguably the most help he has ever had on the defensive line — which would allow New Orleans to maximize what is left of his career.

This trade would have the Texans missing out on obtaining a first-rounder, but a sound-round pick would be just as valuable for Watt. However, Houston should consider adding a young prospect in a potential swap, and Marcus Davenport would be their best return.

Drafted in 2018, Davenport is a former first-round talent who can help transition the Texans into the post-Watt era. He has showed promise of a bright future through his first two seasons, but injuries have prevented the 24-year-old prodigy of San Antonio from establishing himself as one of the league's top young talents.

This season, elbow and toe injuries have limited Davenport to just a pair of games in 2020. Although there is an immense concern regarding Davenport's health, the Texans cannot pass on adding a player who has already registered 11.5 sacks and 31 quarterback hits through his first 28 career games.

Coty M. Davis is a reporter for ESPN 97.5 Houston/SportsMap covering the Houston Texans. He is also the co-host of Locked On Texans, a part of the Locked On Podcast Network. Follow Coty on Twitter @CotyDavis_24.

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