BARRY LAMINACK

Kevin Johnson's loss may be no loss at all for Texans

Perhaps the most frustrating thing to come out of last Sunday's 27-20 loss to the New England Patriots was the play of starting cornerback Kevin Johnson. His inability to be anywhere near the ball and do his job effectively stood out to me more than anything else on Sunday.

He looked lost out there; like he didn’t belong.

I went so far as to say on Twitter, during the game, that he should never be allowed on the field again.

What I didn't anticipate was shortly after my tweet hit the web that Johnson would suffer another concussion, an injury that would necessitate him being placed on IR (but according to Aaron Wilson on Twitter(@AaronWilson_NFL): "...he can be designated for return.”)

First things first, I feel horrible for Kevin Johnson. I would never wish injury on any player, especially such a serious and dangerous injury like multiple concussions. All my best to Kevin for a full and speedy recovery.

That said, it still doesn't change my mind about his role with the Texans. I think at this point it’s time to move on from Johnson, and the Texans have plenty of options that will allow them to do so.

To fill the roster spot the Texans went out and signed journeyman cornerback Shareece Wright. Wright started five games last year for the Bills, so it’s not a total Shock that Brian Gaine reached out to him.

But even with the signing of Wright, the Texans have a ton of other options already on the roster that can be moved around in the secondary.

Johnathan Joseph is pretty much staying put, but Aaron Colvin could slide to the other outside corner position (and I’ll go as far as to say now that I think by the time the year is up, he’ll be the best corner on the Texans).

If the Texans like Colvin covering the slot, they could move Kareem Jackson back to corner and give some reps to highly regarded rookie Justin Reid at safety. Heck the Honey Badger, Tyrann Mathieu often moved up from his safety position to play some corner when he was in Arizona.

So don’t worry about the secondary Texans fan, I think they’ll be fine.

Spend all of your time worrying about that o-line. Yikes!

J.J. Watt is headed for illustrious but strange company

Maximize opportunity before Watt gets wasted

Houstontexans.com

Thursday the reality of what J.J. Watt is facing really hit me. The Houston Chronicle reported Watt had a minor offseason knee surgery. The last three years prove he's far from immortal, though the once incredible career is back on track. For how long, no one knows. Then I finally realized it.

J.J. Watt is on pace to be the greatest defensive player to never play for a conference championship or a Super Bowl.

I started digging into the lists of the all-time great defenders and the best pass rushers in the game's history. Most of the players who would easily be considered a great on defense have at the very least won a Lombardi. If they haven't won the big trophy they've either played or been one game away.

Two names stick out on the all-time greats list. Deacon Jones played three postseason games all in the divisional round. Dick Butkus never played in the postseason. You have to go to 24th all-time in sacks, Pat Swilling with 107.5, to find a sack leader who hasn't at least played in a conference championship or better.

It's a line on almost every great's resume and Watt's missing it.

Watt's only 30 sacks away from the top 20 in career sacks. His three defensive player of the year awards in four years cemented an era of dominance rarely matched in NFL history. He will put on the gold jacket one day. It would be bittersweet to find himself among those greats having never played in a game with that level of importance.

Unless he plays in one.

Brian Gaine and Bill O'Brien can't mess this up or they will be accessories to a sports crime: cementing Watt's place as the all-time great without a huge game to his name. The Texans enter one of the most important offseasons in franchise history. They have to find a way to protect Deshaun Watson as he's the key to making sure Watt's schedule pushes beyond 16 games each year. It's no easy task, but go do it. Make the defense's job just a little easier with some powerful offense.

Give Watt and company just a second more too with better secondary play. Help him out with a better pass rush next to him and not just opposite him. There's so many things the Texans have to get right with their massive cap space and three picks in the top two rounds.

It won't all be Gaine and O'Brien's fault if they don't do it, however they have a chance, with Watson and the rest of this team, to make sure a truly significant game appears on the schedule for Watt. Just one conference championship appearance, then, who knows. Maybe the big one and the Lombardi trophy.

Now here's a thought that will shake all Texans fans.

If the Texans don't nail it this offseason and show the next few seasons they're not legit threats, maybe Watt fills the hole in his distinguished career elsewhere. Reggie White left in his 30's. DeMarcus Ware found glory with the Broncos after a long Cowboys career. It isn't unheard of to see one franchise's legend don another team's colors.

I'm not sure what would hurt Texans fans more. Knowing Watt never played in the biggest games with the Texans or seeing him get to one of those games with another team. It's the hope neither of those things happen. There are almost never happy endings in football, but Watt's story deserves one or more of those chapters.

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