STRONG TAKE

Deshaun Watson's mentor on the Texans being better without Hopkins

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans begin training camp with a franchise quarterback in Deshaun Watson firmly in place but without an obvious number one wide receiver for Watson to throw to. The trade of All-Pro DeAndre Hopkins was one of the most controversial trades in recent NFL history and how Houston will attempt to make up for the loss of Hopkins' production could define the Texans 2020 season.

Even without Hopkins, with Watson entering his 4th season under center for the Texans expectations should still remain high according to Watson's mentor and former NFL quarterback Jordan Palmer. Palmer, 35, who is the personal coach of the Jets' Sam Darnold, the Bills' QB Josh Allen, and now the Bengals' Joe Burrow, privately trained Watson leading up to the 2017 draft and has seen the signal-caller take massive steps forward during his first three seasons in the league.

"Deshaun has really grown into himself," Palmer said on The Jake Asman Show on SportsMap Radio. "It's not just that he is smart, he also has the study habits to go with it. Deshaun's a kid that was on honor roll starting in third grade every single year until he graduated on the dean's list at Clemson in three years. So that foundation has allowed him to go further faster in that offense."

Last season in 15 games with the Texans, DeAndre Hopkins, accounted for over 100 catches, 1,100 yards, and 7 touchdowns. How will Watson adjust to not having Hopkins in the offense anymore? Not many have come out on the record and said they support the off-season that Bill O'Brien has had. However, Palmer actually believes that with Hopkins taking up a large portion of Houston's salary cap the Texans actually made a smart move dealing him to Arizona.

"I think there are going to be areas of the game that makes things more difficult," Palmer said. "At the same time, they added Brandin Cooks and David Johnson. Now neither of those guys are DeAndre Hopkins but you have to make up for productivity, not just a person... David Johnson played with my brother (Carson) in Arizona and I know how dynamic of a runner and pass catcher he is."

With Brandin Cooks, he's really similar to a lot of the body types of receivers that Deshaun played with in college. Brandon is such a consummate pro and veteran and look at who Cooks has played with? He's played with Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Jared Goff. So Brandon is a guy who is also bringing a wealth a knowledge and contributes more than just statistically… I think the addition of those two players if they stay healthy, the productively will be offset and I think this could potentially be an upgrade particularly with what DeAndre was going to chew up in cap space for them, so I actually think big picture this is the right move."

You can listen to The Jake Asman Show weekdays from 8 AM -10 AM Central on SportsMap Radio.

You can listen to the full interview with Jordan Palmer below:


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Houston is falling down the rankings

Tigers pound Odorizzi, Astros with homers as Houston drops fourth in a row

The Astros have not looked great in their last four games. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After watching their hot start of 6-1 cool down to a 6-4 record with three straight losses, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night, looking to do a better job at home against a beatable Tigers team.

Recent games' woes would continue, though, with Houston's pitching getting blasted by the opposing offense and their own bats primarily quiet.

Final Score: Tigers 8, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-5, tied for second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Matthew Boyd (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (0-1)

Astros score first, then Tigers unload on Odorizzi

Houston looked to have something brewing in the bottom of the second, with three singles in the first four batters of the inning, the third an RBI-single by Myles Straw to put the Astros in front 1-0. However, Matthew Boyd would limit the damage, getting back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.

After two easy innings for Jake Odorizzi in his regular-season debut for his new team, he would allow a game-tying solo homer to Akil Baddoo, his fourth of the year, in the top of the third. Detroit struck again in the top of the fourth, getting a leadoff double to set up a two-run go-ahead home run to jump ahead 3-1.

They didn't stop there, getting another two-run bomb later in the same inning; a frame that would take Odorizzi 31 pitches to get only one out before Houston would bring in Bryan Abreu to get the last two outs. Odorizzi's final line in his debut: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 3 HR, 0 BB, 4 K, 80 P.


Detroit continues home run parade, Houston loses fourth in a row

Abreu would hope to do what Luis Garcia did the night before, eat up as many innings as possible after a poor outing from Houston's starter. The Tigers would get yet another two-run homer, though, in the top of the fifth, extending their lead to 7-1, with all seven runs coming over a three-inning span. For good measure, they'd knock one more out with two outs in the top of the ninth, making it 8-1.

As far as Houston at the plate, other than their string of hits to bring in a run earlier in the second, they were getting nothing done against Boyd, who would go six and two-thirds innings. Detroit's bullpen would finish things off, despite an all-too-late sac fly by the Astros in the bottom of the ninth, with Houston dropping their fourth-straight game and continuing to lose ground in the division.

Up Next: The finale of this three-game set with Detroit will be an hour earlier on Wednesday, getting underway at 6:10 PM Central. Lance McCullers Jr. (1-0, 1.80 ERA) will try to maintain his perfect record and improve upon his two five-inning one-run starts for the Astros, going opposite of Michael Fulmer (0-0, 2.57 ERA) for the Tigers.

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