EVERY-THING SPORTS

Examining several hidden gems the Texans have uncovered

Tyrell Adams has stepped up beautifully. Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

After a heartbreaking loss, there's often a hard time finding the silver lining. The lead up and last offensive play from the Texans in the loss to the Colts was a microcosm of this season: it started bad, got brighter, and eventually flamed out in horrible fashion. Nick Martin could've snapped it better, but Deshaun Watson could've also caught or handled it better. No matter what side of the fence you fall on, it was as bad. But there are some bright spots.

One of them was the performance of the wide receivers, specifically Keke Coutee and Chad Hansen. Coutee is the Texans' Great Value version of what T.Y. Hilton is to the Texans. He performs well against the Colts, but not as much when going against other teams. Some of that has to do with the previous coach's distaste of him. However, if Watson has formed a connection with him, he deserves to stay on as cheap labor. Speaking of cheap labor, Chad Hansen literally came out of nowhere! He was on the practice squad and last played in an NFL game in the 2017 season for the Jets after being a fourth round pick (15 games, nine catches for 94 yards). This pair combined for 13 catches on 16 targets and 242 yards. Coutee and Hansen gave Watson some good targets as both seemed to find themselves open and making plays. If they can continue to perform at a decent level, this could help alleviate some of the issues at receiver.

Another position of concern that has some promise is linebacker. When Benardrick McKinney, Dylan Cole, and Brennan Scarlett all got hurt, it killed the depth the team had at an already underwhelming position. Tyrell Adams has stepped up beautifully playing next to Zach Cunningham. Starting with the first win against the Jags, Adams has 86 tackles compared to Cunningham's 76. That eight game stretch has shown me enough to say I'd like to see these two next to each other moving forward. Another linebacker I'd like to see more of is Jacob Martin. He flashes some pass rush ability off the edge and I think with more reps, he could turn into something. In eight games played so far, he only has three sacks, and that's been in limited playing time. In these last few games of this season, and going into next season, I'd like to see him get a real shot. They won't have high draft picks to get young, cheap labor, so giving guys like Martin a chance to be your edge rusher would be ideal.

Honorable mention goes to Max Scharping and Kahale Warring. A couple of draft picks that appear to have been busts actually played in the loss to the Colts. They didn't make an impact or anything, but being on the field and playing is a lot more than what they've done so far in their couple years with the team. My other honorable mention goes to A.J. Moore. Moore has been a special teamer, but pressed into playing duty due to injury/suspension. He had a sack in the Colts loss, but appeared to have given up the 39-yard touchdown to Jonathan Taylor. Scrappy guy who plays hard.

I'm not saying this team is destined for greatness as far as any of these guys are concerned. They're making the most of the opportunities they've been given. Finding a silver lining in such a crushing loss is hard, but these guys did enough to make me take notice and want to see them more moving forward. Out of them all, Hansen and Adams are my two favorites. I like players who scrap and fight for their place in the league. These two guys are both in their fourth NFL seasons and are finally getting some playing time. Looks like they may have found a home.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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