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How Easterby's influence has ruined Texans' hiring process and the organization

Jack Easterby has destroyed the Texans. Composite image by Jack Brame

Deshaun Watson is highly upset. Hardcore fans are hitting eject on their teams' hopes. Other teams and fanbases are laughing loudly at what a mess this organization has become. Coaching candidates aren't even interested in coming here to the point of refusing to interview! This team reminds me of the GIF of the dumpster on fire floating down a flooded street. There are a few people who can be blamed for this, but one in particular.

Jack Easterby is the Geppetto to Cal McNair's Pinocchio. This is why there's such a cluster-bleep on Kirby. Easterby has influenced every major decision this organization has made since he was hired. Yet, he's been able to keep his job despite the firings of others. His influence on the McNairs, Cal in particular, has been the undoing of this franchise. He's clearly the source of the black cloud over this franchise, but why is he still allowed to do so?

Easterby has a Pied Piper effect on the brass on Kirby. When you hire a search firm and pay them hundreds of thousands of dollars to help you find your next general manager, only to seemingly ignore them, what other explanation is there? When your franchise quarterback comes out and says he's not happy because it seems as if you promised him something you failed to deliver on, there can only be one explanation and one person at the root of it. When qualified candidates for jobs you have an opening for don't want to interview, there's something that doesn't pass the smell test.

Most organizations that find themselves taken over and ruined by a Bill O'Brien find their way out of such a hellhole, at least to a certain extent. They'll go in a different direction philosophically in an attempt to right the ship. The Texans have seemingly decided to remain on course for disaster by doubling down on stupidity and mediocrity. All the Bob LaMonte client buddy system talk has taken on a new meaning. There are too many dots that connect and too many strings attached that point to this as a viable answer to what's going on. If Brian Daboll is the next head coach here, no one should be surprised as he's another branch on the LaMonte tree which is a part of Easterby's web of chaos ladder to the top of an NFL franchise.

Although the Watson trade rumors may be a tough pill to swallow for most fans/supporters of the team, it may be a blessing in disguise. What if they're able to flip Watson into a package of draft picks that can help reset this franchise's fortunes? What if Nick Caserio is able to turn this around despite Easterby's interference? The head coach hire and what becomes of Watson will speak volumes. I can't help but keep Easterby in mind when thinking of what becomes of this team in the near future because of what he's done so far in the present. I'm ready for a change in this organization. If it takes sacrificing one of the best players that's ever played for them to spur a change, so be it. So long as the one pulling the trigger knows what they're doing, I'd be okay with it. Faith is believing in the unseen/unknown. It's a strong feeling. Only those who are in complete belief can have faith. Ask yourselves: do you as a fan/supporter of the Texans have faith that they'll do what's necessary to bring a true contender to this organization?

Editor's note: Texans legend Andre Johnson seems to agree with this assessment. Check out the tweet he posted on Tuesday.

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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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