FALCON POINTS

If Deshaun Watson really wants out, could anyone blame him?

The fallout of the disaster that was the DeAndre Hopkins trade continues to resonate in the Texans organization. Besides universal disdain for the deal locally, the national media has vilified Bill O'Brien and the Texans as well, going so far as to call it one of the worst trades in the history of the NFL. No amount of media leaks from O'Brien's side can change the narrative. It was simply a stupid move.

Ripple effects

Already, one free agent reportedly passed on the Texans because of O'Brien. Laremy Tunsil still has not signed an extension. Neither has Deshaun Watson. And if the Texans lose those two, the franchise is pretty much doomed. Watson in particular is the biggest problem. First, he tweeted out a cryptic Drake lyric, then liked a tweet about the Patriots calling him. There is already speculation he will be the Pats next QB.

The sounds of silence

Other than that, Watson has been quiet on the trade. There is no way he can be happy about it, nor should he. The tyrannical way in which O'Brien and Jack Easterby are running the franchise is wrong on so many levels. If Watson wants out, could anyone blame him?

Emerging star

Watson is a rarity in the NFL; a young, emerging star quarterback with tons of upside. Imagine what he could do with a real offensive mind? All O'Brien has done is fail to protect him with a patchwork offensive line, trade away an elite, No. 1 WR target for nothing and burden him with predictable play calling and now another inexperienced O'Brien "guy"as an OC.

Not to mention the small fortune in draft picks he has traded away, making it even more difficult to build around Watson.

Even by fixing the offensive line, O'Brien could easily make things worse by not-resigning Tunsil.

Playing hard ball

If the Texans want to be tough on Watson, they could let him play out next year on his rookie deal, then franchise him, assuming the tag is still in play. But if Watson has no interest in being here anymore, that will just make a tattered relationship even worse. He could easily demand a trade, which the Texans would not have to do. But it should never get to that point.

It should not have gotten this far.

Uncertain future

Watson is 24 years old with perhaps another 10 years ahead of him. Why would he want to spend it in an organization that has zero clue about how to use him? Giving O'Brien GM power is destroying the fabric of the organization. At some point, Cal McNair has to step in and stop this. If not, the money-motivated Texans may finally find out what it is like when people don't fill a stadium. The Hopkins trade has likely chased away a lot of loyal fans already, and who knows what the economy is going to look like when this mess is over? Empty seats and suites could be common. If fans do not want to be a part of this, why would Watson? By all indications, he likes the city and fans. But anyone who has been in an untenable work environment can relate. Many of us have left jobs for that very reason.

I truly feel for Texans fans, who have supported this franchise from the beginning. Now they are watching what should have been a Super Bowl contender dismantled, all to satisfy the ego of a man not qualified for the job he has been given. Many will continue to support the team no matter what, but at some point, even the most hardcore fan will get fed up.

In the real NFL world outside of Kirby, coaches can be replaced. Franchise quarterbacks can't. Someone other than O'Brien needs to step in right now and fix this. And the only person who can is McNair. If he doesn't and Watson is the one to eventually leave?

There will certainly be empty seats and suites. And then maybe he will take notice. Of course then it will be too late.

And sadly, maybe it already is.

By the way...

If you need to be cheered up in these trying times and want something to read, please email me at faour975@gmail.com and I will send you a collection of short stories. Asking for a minimum $10 donation to help Gow employees who are struggling. If we do well enough we will expand the reach. If you can't donate and just want something to read, I will send it free of charge. There are two gambling related stories, two vampire tales and another weird one. All are fiction.

I hope everyone stays safe.

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The Astros suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Yankees Thursday. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

After an impressive two-game sweep of the NL-best Mets at home earlier in the week, the Astros took to the road to begin a four-game series with the league-best Yankees on Thursday night. To little surprise, the series started with a bang (no, not a trash can bang) in more ways than one, confirming that this series should be a must-watch this weekend.

New York's comeback proves no lead will be safe

Right from the get-go, the loud Yankee Stadium faithful had their chance to rain boos down on Jose Altuve before showing some pleasure as he led off the series by being hit by a pitch. They were quickly, though only temporarily, quieted as Altuve would come in to score two batters later on a three-run blast by Alex Bregman.

Three-run homers seemed to be a theme, as New York would get one of their own to tie the game off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton to tie the game, then Yordan Alvarez continued his dominant June by pushing the Astros back in front by three with another three-run bomb in the third, making it 6-3. That lead held through to the bottom of the ninth, where instead of holding it, Ryan Pressly issued two walks to set up the fourth homer of the game to tie things again before Aaron Judge would get a walk-off single to complete the impressive comeback.

Not only will we get to sit back and watch the slug-fest between Yordan and Judge this weekend, but it looks like with Alex Bregman swinging well again to round out the top of Houston's order, the Astros may be getting closer to their full power. So far in June, these two teams sit third and fourth in on-base percentage, with the Astros at .351 and the Yankees right behind at .350. That means we should continue to see scoring opportunities on both sides that can tilt momentum one way or the other as these lineups try to battle against the opposing pitcher.

How will the aces fare

Verlander vs. Judge, and Cole vs. Alvarez, need I say more? Although we won't see Justin Verlander go up against Gerrit Cole in the same game in this series (they should go head to head next Thursday, however), they will pitch on back-to-back days, with Houston's ace going Friday night and New York's on Saturday afternoon. Verlander is coming off his worst start of the year, a three and two-thirds inning outing where the White Sox put up seven runs, four earned, against him and knocked him out early to give him his third loss and increased his ERA from 1.94 to 2.30.

The last time he faced the Yankees was in the Bronx in the 2019 playoffs, in ALCS Game 5, where he went seven frames while allowing four runs, all on two homers in the first inning, which is all New York needed to grab the 4-1 victory to make it a 3-2 Houston lead in the series, which the Astros would go on to clinch in Game 6. So, with the double dose of bad taste in his mouth, it will be interesting to see if he can use that as the fuel to get back to the phenomenal form he's had this year or if the Yankees try to jump on him early like they did nearly three years ago.

Cole, meanwhile, is fresh off of two quality starts in a row against the Rays, where he allowed just one run on six hits with nineteen strikeouts over 13.1 innings of work. He's had his share of strife this season, though, including a seven-run shelling by the Twins earlier this month, along with a start in April where he couldn't make it through two innings against the Tigers. He's had success against his former club, most notably a complete-game shutout in Houston last July with twelve K's and holding the Astros to just three hits.

If the series opener was any indication, we are in for the treat of a playoff-caliber matchup, if not a potential ALCS preview that we may see in October. The Yankees showed why they have the best record and are the hottest team in baseball on Thursday night, but the Astros were only a good outing from their closer away from having a relatively lopsided win. The rivalry is real; the competition is close, and we get to enjoy the show.

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