JOHN GRANATO

It's time for Deshaun Watson to have some fun again

Deshaun Watson needs to relax. Tim Warner/Getty Images

What happened to that fun brand of football we were treated to last year? Where is that up and down the field, no fear, high flying offense that put up 34 points a game? Where did it go?

I know we’re only two games in but if those two games are any indication it looks like Deshaun has been O’Brienized and that’s not a good thing. Is this the same offense that Brian Hoyer ran? That Brock Osweiler ran? That Tom Savage ran? I certainly hope not.

I know what I say doesn’t matter but I don’t want Deshaun running BOB’s offense. I want BOB to run Deshaun’s offense. He’s different than Hoyer and Brock and Savage. That’s why they drafted him. That’s why we had such high hopes for this season.

Where are the RPO’s they put in last year? Where are the moving pockets? The bootlegs? Every shotgun pass is a five or seven step drop, every time he’s under center it’s play action.

On their second drive of the game against the Titans penalties and a botched snap had them in a third and 27. That’s a next to impossible situation. Deshaun took the snap, had time and had D-Hop wide open about 15 to 18 yards down the field. It looked like he was looking right at him but instead of pulling the trigger he pulled it down and ran. It wasn’t enough as Fairbairn came up short on the field goal.

That wasn’t the only time though. These past two weeks he’s been tentative, like he’s got information overload. I’m not saying he can’t think or read defenses. He certainly can. You don’t win a national championship or throw 19 TD’s with 8 picks your rookie year if you can’t think.

It just doesn’t look like he’s having any fun. It looks like he’s thinking and not playing, like the weight of the world is on his shoulders and his social media posts are confirming it.

Last week he went after Pat D. Stat who was tweeting about his footwork. He told Pat to “keep that same energy.” He’s since deleted it but why is he worried about what a writer thinks about his footwork?

In his postgame press conference he told anyone who’s hitting the panic button to not hop back on the train later in the season. He even brought up his tough homeless childhood. Where the heck did that come from? Why would he be thinking about that terrible time in his life in a postgame press conference?

People are tweeting him bible verses about God’s plan and he’s retweeting with Amens. Deshaun’s faith in God is admirable but it seems a little early to be thinking that this is some test from God. After all it’s just an 0-2 start; nothing to hit the panic button over.

Deshaun, have some fun out there. Take off on a 60 yard run. Bootleg and hit Ryan Griffin on a 30 yard crossing route. Chuck one up for Will Fuller. Give it to D-Hop on a reverse and you go out on a wheel route. That’d be sweet.

Get back to playing the game you love with some joy. Stop worrying about your critics or fans who are mad about a slow start. And for goodness' sake try not to think about the worst time of your life right after a game.

This is the best time of your life. You’re the best quarterback in Houston Texans franchise history.

Act like it.

 

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The Astros need to beat up on the lowly Rangers. Composite image by Jack Brame.

Collectively so far this season the Astros would not make for very good garbage men. Meaning they haven't been so good at taking out the trash. Swept in a series at Detroit when the Tigers were terrible, swept at Minute Maid Park by the sorry Orioles, swept in an early season series at the Rangers. Presently the Rangers are an atrocity. A nine game losing streak has them 35-62, buried deeply in last place in the American League West, 23 games behind the Astros. So the Astros need to whip up on them in this weekend's three game set, before the Astros head west for a three city road trip with stops in Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

15. The number of home runs Jose Altuve has hit over his last 37 games. Multiply by four and that's a 60 homers in 148 games pace. Over those 37 games, Altuve is batting just .242. But slugging .577.

.029. Carlos Correa's batting average dating back 10 games played. One hit in his last 34 at bats. 14 strikeouts and just one walk over the stretch. That is what you call a funk. Certainly not a way to curry 300 million dollar contract offers.

The Rangers have just two 100 loss seasons in their history, their first two seasons after becoming the Rangers upon moving from Washington D.C. In 1972 the Ted Williams managed squad went 62-100, Ted quit, and the next year the Rangers finished 57-105. If the Astros sweep them this weekend, the Rangers will be on pace to lose 105 games.

It will be a decade ago this October that the Rangers came as close to winning a World Series as any team has ever come without winning the Series. In 2011 the Rangers carried a three games to two lead into game six at St. Louis. The Rangers led game six 7-5 with two on, two out, and two strikes in the bottom of the ninth. The Cardinals' David Freese drilled a ball toward the base of the right field wall. Rangers' right fielder Nelson Cruz didn't make an error but didn't play the ball well, going back awkwardly and reaching out at the last second as if afraid of the wall. It went for a two run triple to tie the game. Two innings later Freese hit a game winning homer to force game seven.

The inning before that the Rangers again came within one strike of winning it all. A Josh Hamilton two run homer had the Rangers up 9-7 going to the bottom of the 10th. The Cards got within 9-8. With the tying run on second and two out, Rangers' Manager Ron Washington opted to intentionally walk Albert Pujols. Albert was still a tremendous player in 2011 (his last with the Redbirds), but he was not better than Lance Berkman that season, definitely not against right-handed pitching. Walking Pujols brought up Berkman to face right-hander Scott Feldman (a matchup of former Astro and future Astro). Berkman lined a two-two pitch to center field tying the game 9-9, ahead of Freese's 11th inning walk-off homer. One of the most incredible games in World Series history.

NCAA

Quite the story hitting that Texas and Oklahoma may be plotting to bolt the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference. That neither UT, OU, nor the SEC denied it has smoke billowing. The Sooners have won the last six Big 12 football championships. The Longhorns last won in 2009. Oklahoma St., Kansas St., Baylor, TCU, all have more recently won at least a share of the conference title. An SEC UT could be looking at being in a division with Oklahoma, Alabama, LSU, and Texas A&M. UT marketing folks should be exploring a huge sponsorship deal with 7-Eleven. You know, Big Gulp. But as usual, follow the money.

The week ahead…

Wednesday: The Texans open training camp! Wait. Delete the exclamation point. Whither Deshaun Watson?

Thursday: The NBA Draft. Unless the Rockets pull off a thunderbolt of a trade to move up to number one and select Cade Cunningham, the winds of opinion are blowing in the direction of the Rockets taking wing Jalen Green second overall pick. That would be fine. Green is generally considered the most potential-laden explosive scorer on the board. The Rockets can use just about everything, a premium wing scorer would be excellent.

Friday: The MLB trade deadline. Does James Click bolster the Astros' shaky bullpen. The Astros have also been linked to Marlins' center fielder Starling Marte. Growing from his wretched start Myles Straw has been plenty acceptable. Free agent-to-be Marte would be a notable upgrade.

Buzzer Beaters:

1. First big beat the deadline win goes to the Rays. 41-year-old designated hitter Nelson Cruz still mashes. Simple frame of reference: he's been notably better than Yordan Alvarez this year.

2. The delayed by a year 2020 Summer Olympics are underway. Any interest at all?

3. Baseball's greatest Cruzes: Bronze-Jose Jr. Silver-Nelson Gold-Jose Sr.

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