MESSAGE RECEIVED

How J.J. Watt's final message to Bill O'Brien was his most powerful

In J.J. we trust. Photo by Getty Images. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

It's apparent now that a recent "heated exchange" between Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien and star J.J. Watt led to O'Brien's firing earlier this week.

Should fans point to Watt and think, here's another big-money, super-ego, malcontent player who got his coach fired?

Or should fans just send Watt a thank you note?

I vote for the thank you note, something tasteful, from the Hallmark store, not aisle 6 at the supermarket. People can tell.

While the O'Brien-Watt blowup may have been the final straw, O'Brien leaves behind a haystack of bonehead trades, a sourpuss disposition, poor clock management, head-scratching play calling and, the unpardonable sin of an 0-4 train wreck drained of high draft picks next season. O'Brien ransomed the future for the now, and now doesn't have any wins.

The Texans had only five draft picks this year. Only one team had fewer, the Saints, but at least they had a first-round pick.

Now we hear stories that Texans management was aware of O'Brien's temper tantrums, but did nothing as long as the Texans were winning the AFC South.

O'Brien didn't just lose the locker room, he lost the whole city. It was like sports talk radio was playing a loop of "Fire Bill O'Brien" calls. Stations were wearing out their bleep button.

The day after O'Brien's firing, Watt posted a tweet that was as subtle as a ton of bricks landing on Wile E. Coyote's head. Beep beep.

The tweet was a simple image of the sun beaming into NRG Stadium with its roof open.

Oh, so that's what the stadium looks like with its roof open? It's been a long time.

If that tweet could talk, it would sing I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash, the reggae singer who was born and lived his whole life in Houston. Nash passed away this week, the same day that Watt posted his tweet.

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,

I can see all obstacles in my way,

Gone are the dark clouds that had me down,

It's gonna be a bright sunny day.

Just to be sure, the dark clouds are O'Brien and the sunny day is interim coach Romeo Crennel.

It's difficult to find any mourning for O'Brien's coaching tenure with the Texans. The popular refrain in Houston and around the NFL was, "What took 'em so long?"

Fans piled on like ding dong the king is dead. To borrow from Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar (maybe my favorite Cliff's Notes), fans come to bury Bill O'Brien, not to praise him. That's what 0-4, a loss to the Vikings, and no first or second draft pick next year.

Watt made no attempt to hide his glee after O'Brien joined the ranks of the unemployed.

"We have a fresh start. We had a good practice today, and we're looking forward to Jacksonville," Watt said.

"RAC (Crennel) is a great man. He has rings. He has a positive air about him. He has a jolly nature to him. You can't help but smile being around RAC. It should be fun," Watt said.

Great man, positive air, jolly, smile, fun. Hmmm, as opposed to …?

The Jaguars, 1-3, are in town Sunday. As America's dad Clark Griswold once said (sort of), "The Texans are going to have so much fun, they'll need plastic surgery to remove their smiles." Kickoff is noon.

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The Astros have assigned left-handed reliever Matt Gage to minor league camp, which means Houston's pitching staff is likely to head into the season without a lefty in the bullpen.

Ronel Blanco and Seth Martinez are expected to be the last two pitchers in the Astros bullpen now that Gage isn't expected to fill a spot on the club. With the Astros playing so many games in the month of April, could we see Blanco or Martinez making some starts with Lance McCullers still on the shelf?

Plus, should the Astros check in on Yuli Gurriel for some depth considering his versatility and the loss of Jose Altuve for the first couple months of the season? Gurriel still hasn't been added to the Marlins 40-man roster, which means he can opt out of his deal on Saturday if nothing changes.

Based on how things played out for Carlos Correa, the guys aren't very confident the Astros would change their stance on Yuli. But you never know.

Be sure to check out the video above as we break it all down!

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