Things must change for Houston on defense

Kansas City collapse proves defense needs new direction

The Texans defense falls apart in loss to Chiefs

Seven straight touchdown drives

The Texans allowed seven consecutive touchdown drives. Seven. No stops in there. The first Chiefs drive was an easy pitch and catch for the Chiefs that saw the Texans totally lose the Chiefs receivers. The next two, maybe a little tougher to criticize. Two short fields though were turned into touchdowns with little effort from Kansas City. There were no fourth down conversions. There were no miraculous highlight plays. Just offense. It worked. Really well. The Chiefs rarely saw third down after two early drops on the key down.

The Lonnie Johnson plan failed miserably

Lonnie Johnson was tasked with defending Travis Kelce. He did little of that. Kelce dropped a play early, but the Chiefs tight end dominated the Texans from that point on. 10 catches for 134 yards and three touchdowns was the day for the Chiefs best offensive weapon.

Yes, Tashaun Gipson and Jahleel Addae were missing but there is no excuse for ineptitude by the defense when defending Kanas City's tight end.

Defensive composition contains same questions as start of 2019

The Texans have all the same questions on defense at the end of their season that persisted before the start of the season.

There is no clear solution at cornerback. Lonnie Johnson has looked lost more often than not. Johnathan Joseph could be close to retirement and finally has had injuries creep up as a concern for him. Gareon Conley is assuredly on the team after the team used a third round pick on him in a trade. Vernon Hargreaves is due nearly $10 million next season and has yet to impress since showing up in Houston.

There is nearly no pass rush. Irregular contributions from Jacob Martin and Charles Omenihu were nice surprises but they stayed irregular. J.J. Watt had a lot of success, and he could be counted on to a degree, but he's another year older. Whitney Mercilus is here to stay with his new contract despite a down season of production.

Historic failure

The above stat says it all.

Romeo's time has passed

It is time for Romeo Crennel to go. The game has now passed him by. There are too may young quarterbacks doing amazing things on offense for a defensive coordinator like him to continue coaching. There are rarely adjustments and any sort of quarterback mobility renders plans useless often.

Bill O'Brien can't stand pat after this type of performance. He has to find someone else to run his defense. They will have to get better with coaching, because there won't be a ton of options to improve their team with draft picks and money.

After the game, Bill O'Brien said he expected Crennel to return to the team.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

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.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome