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If this happens, it would be the most Texans thing ever

If this happens, it would be the most Texans thing ever
Can we all admit the Patriots South plan won't work for the Texans? Composite image by Jack Brame.

In this week's episode of As Kirby Turns:

The offseason is upon us! Black Monday festivities have commenced. Heads have rolled. Interviews are being conducted (virtually; and all C.D.C. guidelines for social distancing are being followed). This part of the NFL offseason excites me just as much as the playoffs, free agency, and the draft. Firings, hirings, mutual parting of ways, releases, extensions...coaching staffs and front office types get shuffled about like items at a swap meet. Teams are looking for new beginnings, fresh starts, and a way out of the malaise that was their previous regimes. And then there are the Texans.

The Texans are trying to wash away the stench of Bill O'Brien. There are some remnants of O'Brien left on Kirby however, and Jack Easterby is one of them. The difference between Easterby and others that have gotten whacked, he's positioned himself so close to Cal McNair that he's almost insulated himself from the firing squad. Or has he?!?

Recent reports have linked the Texans to Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio...AGAIN! Last offseason when the team unceremoniously got rid of general manager Brian Gaine, they tried to get Caserio from the Patriots. In true Texans form, they were rebuffed when the Patriots threw out allegations of impropriety against the Texans and they promptly folded instead of fighting. Yet here we are again.

Despite the whole notion of the Texans trying to create "Patriots South" and failing miserably, it seems as if Easterby is pushing them in this direction still. It reminded some of the Littlefinger character. Why you may ask? Well, if you're familiar with Littlefinger's character in Game of Thrones, he's all about self-preservation. "Chaos isn't a pit. Chaos is a ladder." That statement has never rung more true than watching Easterby work his way up the ladder in this organization.

It's my belief that the new Caserio rumors are rooted in Easterby's attempt to secure himself in this organization. Think about it: if he gets Caserio hired as the new general manager, Caserio owes Easterby a debt of gratitude. Easterby could go from the verge of being let go or buried in busy work, to saving himself by helping an old colleague get hired to a position that could save his own job. How Littlefinger of him would that be?

If the Texans hire someone outside of the scope in which Easterby can control, he may feel as if his job is in jeopardy and react accordingly. What that may look like, I'm not sure. Maybe he has the McNairs so deeply in his grasp that it doesn't matter who's hired to come in and run this team because he may be safe regardless. Maybe he sees his days are numbered and will use whatever influence he has to make sure he stays on. Only one way to find out...tune in next week on As Kirby Turns!

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With both Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers making their way back from surgeries that sideline that Astros pitchers last season, and given the team's thin depth in their starting rotation, Houston fans and media have waited on bated breath for scraps of information to leak out of the notoriously secretive organization regarding their progress.

In a week full of mostly Hurricane Beryl-related bad news, the Astros organization had some discouraging news of their own when manager Joe Espada told the media that Lance McCullers has been shut down from pitching after his arm did not respond well to his latest bullpen session. The team says they are "formulating a plan for what's next."

Another Astros starter making his way back from injury is HOF-bound Justin Verlander. Verlander has been on the IL since June 16th with neck discomfort and, while there was initial hope that JV would only miss a start, his status has become increasingly murky as he is still apparently not close to returning.

Shifting from the health questions of the starters to the performance questions of the bullpen, some Houston fans have voiced concern via social media that Astros big-ticket 9th inning pitcher Josh Hader is not looking like a "shut-down" closer. Hader gave up more home runs in the first week of July (3) as he did the entire month of June (2).

In this week's episode of Stone Cold Stros, Charlie Pallilo and Brandon Strange discuss how the fluid dynamics of Astros pitching is impacting the competitive landscape of the division race. To watch the conversation, just click the video YouTube embedded in this article. To listen to the entire episode on podcast, search "Stone Cold Stros" in your favorite podcast app or click one of the following links.

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