A BOLD MOVE

It's time for the Texans to reach out to Colin Kaepernick

The Texans should sign Colin Kaepernick Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

This story originally appeared on houstonsportsandstuff.com

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After reading Fred Faour’s article yesterday about the effort needed by the Texan’s defense for the remainder of the 2017 season I thought about what it would take to make that feasible. The answer has already been written and talked about by numerous people besides me; Colin Kaepernick. My opinion is not based on some high opinion of him though. I don’t really have an opinion of him. My thoughts are simply based on my low opinion of Tom Savage, Matt McGloin and T.J. Yates. And that is why it’s time for the Texans leadership to get off their high horse and sign him to finish out the season.

Bill O'Brien was asked several times about Kaepernick at Monday's press conference. He did his best to deflect but it was a hot topic.

Going into Sunday’s game the Texans’ offense with Deshaun Watson was putting up 30 points a game and for the first time in team history looked like a juggernaut. Against the 31st ranked defense, at home, without Watson; they looked pathetic. The defense kept them in it and my only take away was this: could they have won that game with just a serviceable quarterback? I think it’s possible. What does that mean for the next 8 games?

Without Watson I don’t think the Texans will make the playoffs. The Jaguars and Titans are playing too well to allow the Texans to get in. Normally, I would say fine. If you can’t win without “the man” then do your best and settle for a decent draft pick.

The Texans can’t do that this year. They gave away their draft picks in the first 2 rounds to the Browns. Without that sort of incentive waiting in the offseason, Bob McNair should be acquiring the most talented players to give his team a chance. That’s the least he can do.

Kaepernick is the best available quarterback on the market and can duplicate at least some of what made Watson effective on the field. Signing lesser talent with the reasoning that they have experience in the offensive system is a poor excuse. But we all know that it comes down to politics.

And it’s those politics that would defeat some of the reasons for making the move. This is Texas. In a solid red state like this one, anything deemed unpatriotic must be shunned by the strongest means. Signing Kaepernick would turn a lot of fans away. They would have to wait until next year to come back when he can be cut and they can pretend not to have noticed he was ever there.

I believe the opposite is true. Bringing him in would be a move for the fans. It’s an indication that just because the Texans might not make the playoffs, at least they are trying to put a good product on the field while they wait to get their quarterback and their ability to draft back. As a fan, I would appreciate that. From where I sit now; not only are the Texans bad to watch, they won’t get better while the teams around them do. That includes the Browns who would benefit immensely from their own high draft picks and the high ones they received from the Texans.

What about free agency? If the Texans can’t get players with immediate impact ability in the draft then surely they have to seek out free agents. Not signing a player who might make this team competitive because of a political line in the sand sends the wrong message. Bob McNair is telling potential free agents that he only wants to help this team win if it doesn’t make him uncomfortable.

That’s fine. He can do that. Down years can happen in business from time to time. After all, he’s already a billionaire owner. He can wait out this season, and the next, and the next until all of this is forgotten and he can rebuild again.

Wait, did I say business? This can’t be about business, can it? Nah, every business owner I’ve ever met would do whatever it takes for his business to be successful year in and year out. But I guess just owning a team is enough as long as fans keep showing up to games. In Texas that means losing games because it’s better than signing a player who ruffles a few feathers.

I just can’t understand the contempt he has to have for those who pay for his product. I know he’s already past the point where he wouldn’t look completely hypocritical by signing Kaepernick, but at least he can say he did it for the fans. People like someone who swallows his pride for the sake of others. I’m not sure how much they like someone who keeps this team from being watchable because of his pride. Time will tell.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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