Every-Thing Sports

How playing games in the bubble could work for the Texans

Photo by Cody Stoots.

The NFL sent a memo to all teams about the process to reopening their facilities. Part of this hinges upon all teams being able to do so at the same time. Meaning: every city and state each team is in all have orders in place allowing them to reopen. This was done to create a fair and balanced way to level the playing field. Only certain employees are allowed inside. Each team must have a dedicated employee for cleaning and sanitizing the facility.

So could this lead to something more? Of course it will. This is the initial phase of what will undoubtedly take many phases, with tons of successes along the way. The league also constructed the schedule in a manner that will allow for flexibility if the start of the season has to be pushed back. But what about the games being played and how will that look? I propose playing in the practice facilities. Here are my reasons why:

More easily controlled environment

Giant stadiums require giant staffs to run them. If practice facilities are open, they could be the perfect place since there's a staff in place already. Visitors would have a hard time with locker accommodations I'm assuming, but that can be fixed. Having fewer people involved in the gameday operation ensures less people around to potentially infect teams and their staffs.

TV ready

As most of you have seen, practice facilities have cameras around all the time filming practices. They also have camera stands in place for getting the coach's film of practices as well. These places can easily accommodate a gameday camera crew. The way the games would be shot wouldn't require as many cameras as they'd usually have, so this would be another feasible aspect.

Cleaned and sanitized already

In order for teams to begin to start their seasons, they'll need practice time and/or training camp. If the facilities are being used for practice anyway, they'd be good to go for actual games. Teams will already have a dedicated employee for this specific purpose regarding team offices. Why couldn't this person double in the same capacity for the practice facility.

Not every team has an indoor facility like the Texans. Most do, however, have an indoor facility. Instead of playing in cavernous empty, or nearly empty, stadiums, play in the practice fields to start off. Of course tons of testing will be required for all those participating. The UFC has put on several events with success. So has the WWE. I'm not saying the NFL is willing to do things like those other organizations did, but they could learn something from them. This may be the way it starts, but I don't envision this being the way the whole season will play out. Besides, once the loss of income gets too great, they'll figure out something.

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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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