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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Here's why the Texans will make the playoffs under Lovie Smith

1. The Houston Texans had a mentally tough practice Saturday. The team has worked a lot in pads and Lovie Smith noted the days starting to build up on them during this practice. The head coach said this is a good practice because it is like the fourth quarter of the games the team will end up playing.

2. Davis Mills threw one of the best passes he has thrown all camp on Saturday. In a red zone drill, he dropped back and whipped a pass between two defenders into the tightest window he has had all camp. Nico Collins hauled in the threaded pass for a score.

3. A few reps later Davis Mills struck again. With traffic from linebackers and defensive backs, he found Chris Conley for a score. It wasn’t as tight of a window as the first one, but Mills snapped it off nonetheless.

4. Pharaoh Brown made something hard look very easy on Saturday. With Mills rolling out and tossing the ball to Brown in the back corner Brown hauled in a one-handed catch and had both feet down. Touchdown. Brown then acted like it was no big deal.

5. Pharaoh Brown has had a wonderful camp. Lovie Smith named him the starting tight end. The thing that really jumped out to me today is he makes his work look easy. He isn’t straining to excel in his opportunities. The good ones always make it look easy and it has looked easy for Brown so far.

6. Rookie linebacker Christian Harris is on the shelf for a few days. He joins fellow rookie Kenyon Green as players who are injured. Max Scharping played left guard with Green down. Wide receiver Phillip Dorset practiced while veteran wideout Chester Rodgers did not.

7. Roy Lopez flashed again today. While Friday was about the rushing attack and Lopez made his presence felt at defensive tackle, he got into the pass rush Saturday. Lopez would have had a bone-crushing sack in a live rep.

8. Ross Blacklock hasn’t been consistent. A statement like that is good and evil. There are some plays where Blacklock looks like he isn’t a factor. I watched one today. A play later he had what would have been a sack on the play. He’s a player to watch in the preseason games closely.

9. Don’t expect to see Derek Stingley in the preseason opener next Saturday. Lovie Smith wouldn’t commit to the rookie cornerback playing in the preseason. Smith did say Stingley is on track to play week one in the regular season.

10. Brevin Jordan has had a nice camp and should be an important piece for the team. Jordan had a bad drop in 7-on-7 drills that he was beating himself up over for a few minutes. That was out of the norm. He’s been used a lot and will be on the field a bit it seems for the Texans.

11. Brevin Jordan also rattled off a few contenders for the quote of the day. He exclaimed he had taken care of himself this offseason and he finally had abs. He also revealed he’s quite the fisherman and once caught a 125-pound tuna. When asked what he did with the tuna Jordan laughed and said “RIP tuna!”

Listen to Cody Stoots weekdays afternoons 3-7pm on his show "The Wheelhouse" live on ESPN 97.5 + 92.5 FM or anytime on demand at the podcast here.

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