Every-Thing Sports

Jermaine Every: For Texans, all hope lies in Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson will be the No. 1 key for the Texans. Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Texans have mired in mediocrity for nearly all of their existence. Seeing guys like Andre Johnson and Arian Foster pass through on Kirby without much success had left the franchise with flashes of brilliance. Sure, J.J. Watt is still active and one of the team’s all-time greats, but he’s basically missed the last two years because of season-ending injuries. His star has lost some luster and is threatened to be overshadowed by Jadeveon Clowney.

With the exception of about three good years of the Matt Schaub era, there’s been a lot of average to below average play at the quarterback position. David Carr was supposed to ride in on his white horse to help the franchise to start. He was failed by shoddy talent around him, specifically on the offensive line. Heck, Schaub himself was traded for with the specific purpose in mind to run Gary Kubiak’s offense. He ended up falling apart, only to become a caricature of a franchise quarterback.

When the Texans made the move to draft Deshaun Watson, fans were elated. They beamed with hope, optimism, and there was a general feeling of euphoria. FINALLY, there’s a true franchise quarterback whom the fans have faith in to take the team to the Promised Land. In six games last season, he showed the type of youthful exhuberance, leadership, combined with a flair for the dramatic and skill that made fans forget about the previous years of futility at the position.

And then the bottom fell out. Watson tore his ACL and missed the rest of the season. Despite going 3-3 in his six starts, mainly due to an inept defense, there was hope abounding. Going 1-8 sans Watson left the team at a paltry 4-12. With no first or second round draft picks in the ensuing draft, fielding a much better team seemed pretty bleak. Yet, the team made good use of the cap space they have and drafted well.

When the over/under win total came in at nine and a half, I was curious as to why. How could a team perform so badly the previous season, still have a ton of questions, filled the holes they had with OK to average players, and have so many key players returning from injury be listed at a nine and a half?

Because Watson. That’s why. They’re going to play a last place schedule for starters. Also, playing the NFC and AFC East (minus the Eagles and Patriots respectively) should help the win total. But even the odds makers in Vegas know the power of Watson.

Raheel Ramzanali pointed it out on the John and Raheel Show yesterday that when you see reasons for the Texans’ successes or failures next season, Watson is universally listed as the main cog in either wheel of the debate. “The Texans will lose eight plus games this year because Watson won’t be able to perform like he did last year.” “The Texans will win 10-plus games this year because Watson is going to start the season and be healthy.”

This year will prove to be pivotal in Waton’s career arc. There’s always a stigma of the sophomore jinx when it comes to NFL players, especially quarterbacks. Dak Prescott took a step back, but that could be contributed to declining offensive line play and missing Ezekiel Elliott for six games. Carson Wentz actually got better and was a league MVP candidate until he got hurt.

The second year for a quarterback can go either way. Watson will have a full offseason as “the guy.” Bill O’Brien has recently come out to say he will be ready to play by the time training camp starts because he’s ahead of rehab schedule. Fans of the team, and some media members, are putting a ton of faith in the youngster. I see no reason why they shouldn’t as I fully expect him to continue trending upward and improve upon what he did last season by leading the team to a .500 or better record this season.

 

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The Astros will look to bounce back after a tough week. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images.

After a 6-3 record to start the season, the Houston Astros had a tumultuous week to say the least. They were swept by the Tigers, lost 2 of 3 games to the Seattle Mariners and placed five players on the COVID injured list.

The Tigers' new manager AJ Hinch returned to Minute Maid Park for the first time since the Astros let him go after the cheating scandal in early 2020.

The Tigers swept the Astros and outscored them 20-8 over their three matchups.

Before the 3rd game of the series, the Astros found out they would be without five players on their active roster. Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado and Robel Garcia were all placed on the COVID-19 injury reserved list.

"It's hard on the team but you have to carry on. The show must go on," manager Dusty Baker said. "And it went on today with some younger players we have here."

Garrett Stubbs, Taylor Jones and Abraham Toro were called up as well as Alex De Goti and Ronnie Dawson who made their major league debuts last week.

The Tigers were able to score runs early on Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers and Jake Odorizzi (who made his Astros debut) and none of these starters lasted more than five innings in the outings.

Yuli Gurriel was the one Astros bright spot against the Tigers as he had 7 hits and drove in 2 runs. He is still continuing to hit the ball consistently as he finished the series with a .429 batting average.

After a 1-5 home stand the Astros looked to bounce back on the road against the division leading Seattle Mariners (you read that correctly).

Friday night proved to be the Astros' best offensive performance since their home opener on April 8th against the A's.

They scored five runs on Yusei Kikuchi through 7 innings behind good hitting from Aledmys Diaz, Chas McCormick and De Goti who drove in two runs on his first major league hit.

The Astros had a 5-2 lead at this point, but Seattle was able to score 4 unanswered to win the game.

Bryan Abreu, Blake Taylor and Ryne Stanek were credited with those four runs.

Ryan Pressly tried to clean up the bottom of the 9th inning after Stanek put the first two batters on base. His effort was unsuccessfully as Ty France hit a game-ending single that scored J.P. Crawford from second to secure a Mariners victory.

Saturday was the best game of the week for the Astros as they finally broke their six-game losing streak.

After failing to pitch more than five innings on Monday against the Tigers, Zack Greinke threw eight shutout innings with 91 pitches.

He struck out six batters and gave up only 4 hits.

"That's what aces do," Astros manager Dusty Baker said. "Guys like (Greinke) ... they stop the bleeding and we're about bled out."

Greinke finished the game with 2,705 career strikeouts. He is now third amongst active players in strikeouts behind Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.

Ryan Pressly got some redemption too as he threw a perfect 9th inning giving him his first save of the year.

The Astros won this game 1-0 as Taylor Jones drove in the game's only run with an RBI single.

Sunday's game ended the Astros week with a whimper, as the Mariners bested Houston 7-2.

Jake Odorizzi got off to a good start, but he gave up three hits and was pulled after Mitch Haniger's fifth-inning triple made it a 3-2 lead over the Astros.

Odorizzi is now (0-2) with a 10.57 ERA after two starts with the Astros.

Houston's offensive woes continued Sunday, as Aledmys Díaz had their only hit, an RBI double in the second inning that fell in when outfielder José Marmolejos lost the ball in the sun.

"It's tough to take when you only got one hit and the one hit we got was lost in the sun," Baker said.

UP NEXT: The Astros (7-8) will finish their road trip with a two game series against the Rockies who have the worst record in the league (4-12) before starting an eight-game homestead.

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