JERMAINE EVERY'S Every-Thing Sports

Holiday Blues? Let sports help

Thinking of lost loved ones during the holidays can be rough. Jermaine Every

Every now and then, I like to be transparent with my audience. People often talk about how they “keep it real,” but few often do so. I’ve talked about my vasectomy in regards to men’s health, making memories with your kids, and wrote about how some die-hard female Astros fans felt about the Osuna trade. I’m not one to shy away from how I feel on any given subject. Except that time AJ Hoffman shamed me into the vasectomy on-air, but that’s different.

That being said, let’s talk about something most people don’t like to talk about: holiday depression. Mental health is a taboo subject. Some seek help, some self-medicate, and some refuse to acknowledge they need it. But holiday time can often bring about some tough times for those of us that deal with holiday depression.

Holiday depression may be a term I made up because I doubt the medical profession would call it that. But I sometimes deal with it when I think of my little brother or grandmother. One was my best friend and knew me better than anybody, the other taught me how to cook and how to put others above yourself (especially those less fortunate).

One of the things that have helped me throughout this time in dealing with it has been sports. The memories of playing sports video games, collecting cards, and studying sports with my little brother helps. As does the countless hours debating with my grandmother why Shaq is a great player and not just a “big ol dummy who bullies people,” or who’s better Elway or Montana.

Chris and I would spend any allowance or birthday money we had on cards and video games. Our favorite was Bill Walsh College Football on Super Nintendo. I still have our collection of basketball cards from the early ‘90s. We have the Bulls’ roster from their first title win, as well as a rare (I think) Magic vs Mike card from the ’91 Finals.

Another thing that makes me smile is remembering how my grandmother also taught me how to talk trash. It goes back to watching the Lakers/Celtics matchups in the NBA Finals in the ‘80s. She even trolled us by wearing her Colts gear when the Saints played “her boy” Peyton Manning. Sometimes I wish she were still here to see how her sister (my godmother) is now an Alabama fan given they were born and raised right outside Baton Rouge. (Side note: My godmother sent Mad Dog and I a crystal football after Bama beat LSU in the national title game with a note saying “Bama is a real dynasty.”)

People all deal with depression around this time of year differently. Sports can be a nice respite from it all. A few months ago, a good friend of mine lost his niece in a senseless act of violence. It’s going to be tough on him and his family, but I know sports will help them through their first holiday season without her.

We can often times allow sports to depress us. Let’s try to use them to our benefit this holiday season. While I know this may not work for everyone, give it a shot. All of you going through it this holiday season, you’ll be in my prayers. God bless.

 

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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