TEXANS FALL SHORT AGAIN

Here are 5 important takeaways from the Texans loss to the Bengals

Another Sunday, and another loss for the Texans. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In the Texans' 37-31 loss to the Bengals, there was more of the same old Texans. There was also a couple bright spots and some causes for concern. They didn't quit and kept fighting, but they also made crucial mistakes that led to the loss. A play here and a play there, the outcome could've changed. Or, maybe it was meant to turn out the way it did.

1) One thing that reminded me of the same old Texans was their slow start on both offense and defense. Their first possession on offense ended in a three and out. It was the eighth time this season they've started a game with a three and out. Starting half your games by giving the ball right back to the opponent isn't ideal. Neither is allowing your opponent to score on their first possession of the game. This was the ninth straight game the Texans have allowed an opening possession score which is the longest single season streak in the last 20 years. Slow starts are a surefire way to put a lesser talented team at a disadvantage.

2) Keion Crossen played a good game at corner. At 5'10 185lbs, Crossen did his best to slow down the Bengals' twin towers at receiver. A.J. Green and Tee Higgins are both 6'4 and weigh 210lbs and 215lbs respectively. Not an easy task to shut them completely out or contain them for that matter, but I thought Crossen did an admirable job. He should be on this roster next season for sure because he's cheap labor and could use the reps to get better before being offered an extension.

3) Brandin Cooks and David Johnson both showed flashes of their past selves in this game. Johnson had 15 touches for 139 yards and two touchdowns, while Cooks caught seven passes for 141 yards and a touchdown. Was their performances worth keeping them? Maybe, maybe not. I'd be more inclined to keep Cooks, but Johnson can't do anything to make me think he should stay on this team past this season.

4) Watson piled up more impressive passing numbers again this week. However, he took a couple shots that gave everyone a scare. While he's been on fire lately, I've seen a couple instances in which I wish he had a tad more accuracy. On Cooks' 50-yard reception, he had the corner beat and Watson threw a Matt Schaub-esque deep ball in which Cooks had to wait for. They settled for a field goal on the drive, but that could've been a touchdown with more air time leading Cooks. On another deep ball to Cooks, Watson overthrew him. He did the same to Steven Mitchell on a key 3rd down before halftime. These are things Watson will get right. One can hardly blame him considering he was playing behind another makeshift offensive line.

5) Another week, another one score loss for the Texans. This now makes seven one score losses of their 11 on the season. The optimist would say "this team is a few plays here and there away from being 11-4 instead of 4-11." The pessimist would say "this team is trash and will be trash for years to come wasting Deshaun Watson's prime years!" One could argue either side and make valid points. I'd tend to side with the pessimist at this point, but could make a slight case for the optimist. Let's hope the new head coach and general manager can change the culture

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We'll see if Watson is in pads on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of the Houston Texans.

The Houston Texans had their last practice before pads come on for the first time on Tuesday. There was plenty to see on Monday.

1. Deshaun Watson had his usual extremely light level of work. He did very little throwing to teammates, though he did throw to the tight ends in 1-on-1 drills.

2. Texans head coach David Culley said "nothing has changed" when asked if Deshaun Watson will be in pads Tuesday. Culley has maintained that answer for a couple of sessions now.

3. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor was back after missing Saturday with an excused personal day. Taylor has been the best quarterback in camp by a wide margin. Taylor makes better decisions with the football than other quarterbacks, but he does struggle on deeper passes. Taylor missed wildly on one deep ball and was a little wobbly on another.

4. Nobody in camp can cover wide receiver Brandin Cooks. This could be the easiest training camp of his life. He easily gets open in 1-on-1 situations.

5. Rookie wide receiver Nico Collins continues to flash his abilities in camp. Collins easily shook loose from defensive back John Reid and took the route vertical for an easy score. Collins later had a tough catch in traffic.

6. It's only been a few days, but the competition for inside wide receiver reps is tough. Former Bears wideout Anthony Miller has looked quick and nothing like the "draft bust" the Bears fans watched. Keke Coutee has rarely lost a rep, but Desmond King did win a few times over Coutee in the opening days of camp. Former Bengals wideout Alex Erickson finds himself constantly open. The cuts at wide receiver are already shaking out to be difficult.

7. Davis Mills bounced back in a sense that he couldn't be worse than he was on Saturday. The performance from Mills on Saturday was abysmal, but head coach David Culley said he liked how Mills responded today. With Tyrod Taylor back, there were fewer reps for Mills, but he had some impressive throws to go along with an off-target throw or two. Mills was far better than Jeff Driskel on Monday. Driskel tossed two interceptions right to defenders, including one that would've gone the wrong way for a score.

8. This linebacker group is interesting. With a new defensive scheme under Lovie Smith, the type of linebacker is very different from previous years. There was a clear emphasis on cover ability as these linebackers were added to the team.

9. Kamu Grugier-Hill and Kevin Pierre-Louis have both had some significant wins for the linebackers in coverage.

10. Rookie tight end Brevin Jordan looks the part physically, but he's had a rough few days, including a drop on Monday.

11. With the pads coming on Tuesday, it will be fun to watch the rebuilt defensive line clash with the many combinations of the offensive line. There will be no J.J. Watt who historically stirred up the team on day one of pads. Laremy Tunsil's cool confidence about the offensive line over the weekend leads me to believe they are a confident group, while there are spots to be won on the defensive side of the line.

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