National media eating entire plate of crow after ridiculous Houston Texans criticisms

EAT YOUR WORDS

One of the biggest surprises of the NFL season has to be CJ Stroud and the Houston Texans, led by head coach DeMeco Ryans.

But not everyone was high on Stroud and the Texans before the season started, and let's face it, most QBs don't adjust to the NFL as fast as CJ has so far.

But Colin Cowherd seemed to take a shot at Stroud every chance he got before the season. Saying the Texans may be looking to draft another QB after just one year because CJ wasn't as “athletic” as several college QBs set to come out in 2024.

And look at the most athletic QB that was drafted this year in Anthony Richardson. He's already out for the year with a shoulder injury. More often than not, athletic QBs miss time from taking too many hits. While a pocket passer like Stroud is currently the favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year.

His other concern was the team hiring a defensive-minded head coach, with offense being so important in today's NFL. Well, it only took a handful of games into the 2023 season for Cowherd to change his tune on Stroud and the Texans. He now believes the Texans hit on their QB and head coach.

And Texans OC Bobby Slowik certainly deserves his fair share of credit for how he's coached up Houston's new offense. Which led us to another interesting discussion. If Stroud continues on this path for the remainder of the season, could Slowik be poached from the Texans, taking a quality play caller away from Stroud?

There are plenty of underperforming teams this year that could be very interested in the next hot coaching prospect right off the Shanahan coaching tree. And we've seen QBs regress in situations like this. Jalen Hurts and Josh Allen both struggled after losing their offensive coordinators/play callers. Allen when Brian Daboll left to coach the Giants, and Hurts with Shane Steichen leaving for the Colts.

Be sure to watch the video above for the full discussion.

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The All-Star break came at the right time for Houston. Composite Getty Image.

The All-Star break is officially here, and the Astros sit just one game behind the first place-Mariners in the AL West. Houston had an opportunity to gain another game on Seattle, but were unable to win one of the final two games against the Rangers over the weekend.

But considering the 'Stros abysmal start to the season, being just one game out of the division lead feels like a win. Not that long ago, fans were calling for Joe Espada's head, with some wishing the Astros would bring Dusty Baker out of retirement. And let's not forget about the Jose Abreu saga, that now feels like a fever dream.

As we know, baseball is a long season. At some point talent would win out, and here they are with sights on winning the division and heading back to the postseason.

Certainly, Houston's star players deserve credit for digging the team out of an enormous hole. But getting back in playoff contention was a team effort. Jake Meyers has excelled in his role in center field, justifying the team's decision to give him a chance to be the team's starter.

And while Jeremy Pena hasn't turned into a power-hitting perennial All-Star, he has shown a lot of improvement after a lackluster 2023. The fact that his on base percentage is higher than Alex Bregman's should not be ignored.

Also, let's not forget that the Astros got on this roll without help from the injured slugger, Kyle Tucker. When Tucker does return to the lineup, you have to wonder what that will mean for the slumping Chas McCormick. He could be the odd man out with Joey Loperfido's emergence and Pedro Leon putting up big numbers in Sugar Land.

Finally, we have to talk about the pitching. Lance McCullers Jr. and Luis Garcia have hit some snags in recovery. It's now looking like Garcia might be back in August, and it's hard to believe McCullers will be back this season since he's been shutdown from throwing. Add Justin Verlander's injury to that mix, and you have some real concerns for the pitching staff.

Ronel Blanco has been terrific, but he's showing signs of fatigue, with his velo down a couple ticks in recent starts. It's hard to believe the Astros can get to the finish line without trading for another starting pitcher.

Big series looming

When the Astros return to action on Friday, they square off with the Mariners. Which means a series win over Seattle would put the 'Stros in first place in the division.

Be sure to watch the video above as we examine the importance of the upcoming series with the Mariners, if the club should be concerned with the surging Rangers, and much more!

Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and Charlie Pallilo discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via The SportsMap HOU YouTube channel or listen to episodes in their entirety at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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