Every-Thing Sorts

GM O'Brien is growing on me

Photo via: Screenshot/@MarkBermanFox26

When news came of the Jadeveon Clowney trade to the Seahawks, I said it was another bad move. He gave away a freak of an edge rusher for some loose cigarettes and off brand soda. Trading yet another failure of a third round pick in offensive lineman Martinas Rankins to the Chiefs for running back Carlos Hyde was blah. Sure, you get something for a guy you were going to cut, but you got another guy who's been seen as a failure. He adds a big body to the backfield and depth in lieu of losing Lamar Miller for the season. Just when Texans fans were losing their minds on social media, Bill O'Brien said hold my beer. He acquired left tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills from the Dolphins in exchange for Julien Davenport, Johnson Bademosi, two first round picks and a second rounder.

Going for it

THIS is the type of move a team makes when it's going for it! You have a franchise quarterback in Deshaun Watson. He needs to be protected. When they failed to draft Andre Dillard and let the Eagles swoop in front of them, they went to plan B. Turns out plan B wasn't so hot because the two tackles they drafted, are now their starting guards. Go figure. Plan C seems to be the right move as Tunsil is under contract for two more years before he's eligible for an extension.

Chess move

Because Tunsil is under contract for two more years on his rookie deal, it allows you time before you have to pay him top five left tackle money. Tunsil is set top make $2.149 million and $10.35 million this and next season. He's widely considered a top 10 player at left tackle. You have to pay to play. Getting a guy this young of his caliber was going to cost you. The Texans have plenty of cap space to resign him and Watson when the time comes. This'll give your franchise quarterback a chance to truly realize his potential by him not having to run for his life. Much easier to play quarterback alive rather than dead. Stills adds a more reliable target opposite DeAndre Hopkins. Should Will Fuller or Keke Coutee get hurt (it's inevitable), Stills is a vet who can be relied upon.

No more excuses

I believe this is where the excuses run out for O'Brien. He's got a left tackle to protect Watson. Stills adds depth to an unreliable receiver corp. Hyde gives them a big back as Duke Johnson isn't a banger and Miller is out. Sure they could use some help at defensive back, and they lost Clowney off the edge, but this will help bolster the offense. If the defense can be slightly above average, this offense should put up points. Colts, Jags, and Titans are all ripe for the picking. This team is now squarely taking aim at the top contenders in the AFC.

Ultimately I think these moves will work out. In totality, O'Brien managed to move Clowney, a motherload of picks, and some scrubs for Tunsil, Stills, a third rounder, and a couple scrubs. In order to get to where you want to go, you've got to be willing to take some chances and gamble. This is a huge gamble. It's as if he pushed all his chips in the middle of the table and said f--k it! Gambles like these can pay off huge because you're getting a proven commodity at your greatest position of need. Yes, it hurt to lose what they lost. But what good trade doesn't hurt a little? Some of us could learn something here. Risks are risks because of the potential backlash. They become rewards if they pay off. Weigh your risk versus rewards and make a move. Can't live life hoping and wishing. Fans clamored for offensive line help. They trashed the Clowney deal. Now what? Let it play out. I for one think I'm going to enjoy the way this works out. Either the Texans will ascend into a real contender, or they flame out and O'Brien is fired. I think it'll workout for the better. This fan base could sure use it.

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Should Watson be in the MVP conversation? Composite image by Jack Brame.

The 2020 NFL season has a lot going on. Even if we take the coronavirus out of it, there's still a lot to digest. There are so many great performances being put up, one can make an argument for several players to win league MVP. The quarterback position typically gets more credit than others. If I restrict the argument to quarterbacks only, we're looking at Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, and Aaron Rodgers. Dalvin Cook, Alvin Kamara, and Derrick Henry are the leading contenders at running back. On defense, there really isn't a standout defender. The defense gets no love, but there are several guys in the running for NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Deshaun Watson has been putting up numbers that have matched or rivaled some of the top MVP candidates over his last seven games. That stretch has coincided with the firing of head coach/general manager Bill O'Brien. Coincidence? I think not. Taking the reigns off a wild horse can often lead to said horse running free and flourishing! So question: Should Watson be getting league MVP considerations? I think so.

For starters, he's been one of the best players in the league over the course of the last seven games. 18 passing touchdowns and only two interceptions. The only quarterback with a better touchdown to interception ratio over that same span is Mahomes (19 and 2, as opposed to Watson's 18 & 2). Factoring in total season stats, of course Mahomes is doing much better. He's on a better team with a much better coach and general manager. The same could be said for Wilson and Rodgers. Put Watson on any of those teams and their records wouldn't be any worse than what they are now.

The Texans are 4-3 since firing O'Brien. While that isn't a great record, consider the fact they started the season 0-4 and looked like a total disaster. Watson looked like he was caged and couldn't wait to be freed. The team's record could be even better if the defense had a pulse. The proper supporting cast has a lot to do with a player's MVP candidate's chances. Now that one of his favorite weapons, Will Fuller, and the team's best corner, Bradley Roby, are both suspended for the rest of the season by the league for violating the substance abuse/PED policy, things will get much tougher for Watson.

If he continues to put up these cartoon like numbers, I don't see why he wouldn't be in the MVP conversation. He's currently fopurth in passing yards, sixth in completion percentage, tied for fifth in passing touchdowns, eighth in QBR, and third in quarterback rating. Watson is emerging as the star he was projected to be coming into the 2017 draft. I'm not saying Watson deserves to be the league MVP, but he deserves to be in the conversation. His MVP candidacy should be treated like the family gathering hierarchy: once you reach a certain age and/or status, you're no longer resigned to the kiddie table. Now you get to sit with all the adults, engage in their conversations, and gain access to things you couldn't previously. Watson won't win the MVP award, but I strongly believe he could finish top five. Especially if he keeps making lemonade with the lemons he's been given.

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