The Z-Report

Lance's exit interview with the Texans

Photo via Houston Texans/Facebook

Every season when pro teams are eliminated from the playoffs, they have exit interviews where the head coach and/or front office speaks to different players about their season or what to do in the off-season. I guess that's what they talk about. I have no idea.

To be honest, I don't really know what happens in exit interviews. No idea. So let's do this… I'll play out the exit interviews I would have with a variety of Texans starting with the head guy.

Bill O'Brien

Lance: Hey Coach O'Brien, sit down.

OB: I'll stand, thanks.

Lance: Well, okay. Solid season, coach. I was really happy with the run you guys put together after such a bad start and I think it showed that guys keep on playing for you despite you getting a little surly sometimes.

OB: Surly?! Look, I'm not surly, I'm honest. If you can't handle honesty, then get out of this business. And I'm not going to sit and listen to some media guy grill me about the season. What's the best thing you ever did in football in your entire life, anyway?

Lance: I made a one-hand touchdown catch in street football on a perfectly placed throw by James Martinez near a mailbox.

OB: That's what I thought. I'm not staying here for this stupid sh*t.

Lance: I probably wouldn't either, coach. Three division titles in the last four years. Keep it up, but I would probably hand over the play-calling duties to someone else just so you can fine-tune clock management and your work with Deshaun Watson.

OB: And I would probably hand over your radio duties so you can work on writing bad draft reviews about players you will never draft or coach.

Will Fuller and KeKe Coutee

(Fuller and Coutee both come in on separate wheelchairs)

Lance: Hey guys, thanks for coming in today, but why the wheelchairs?

Fuller: They want us to be super careful because, you know, we tend to get injured. I've ended up on the injured reserve pretty much every year I have ever played with Houston. We have to be careful.

Keke: Yeah, and even though I played in the last game, my hamstring could snap at any second so Brian Gaine told me to just stay in the wheelchair this off-season because I can be really good if I can just actually play in multiple games in a row.

Lance: Man, when you guys are on the field, it's a different offense! Well, you were on the field and they scored 7 in their last game, Keke. But still, you are great for PPR fantasy leagues when you are on the field. And Fuller, wow! You and Deshaun have a great chemistry. It's like the offense just hits a different level when you are on the field.

Fuller: Thanks, man. Yeah, I'm just trying to get my body right and get back on the field because I feel like me, Hop, Keke, and Demaryius Thomas can all have special years next year.

Lance: I mean… I guess. You end every season on the IR, Keke hardly played, and Thomas is coming off of an Achilles injury. If you guys are all healthy, I think this is a super explosive passing game…

Fuller: Hold up. Aren't you the same guy that tripped over a curb at the Senior Bowl last year and cracked your foot when you were falling forward trying to catch your balance?

Keke: Oh damn! I heard about that! Yeah, man I heard scouts were clowning you because you had to get put into a walking boot and then you had it on for like 3 months… because you tripped over a curb. Injury prone, hatin' ass.

(they both shake their damn heads and roll out of the exit interview)

Deshaun Watson

Lance: Hey, Deshaun! Thanks for coming by to talk. So overall, you came back down to earth a little bit from that crazy start last year, but I thought you had a solid year. Your offensive line wasn't great and you had a bunch of injuries at receiver, but you lowered your interception percentage and I felt like you had some special flashes.

Watson: Please keep that same energy next year.

Lance: I don't really know what that means. What energy do I have?

Watson: What else.

Lance: I would like to see you continue to grow and improve at getting rid of the football a little earlier and recognizing blitzes so you can beat defenses for bigger plays.

Watson: (chuckling) Like I said, keep this same energy next year. We had a great year this year and I still have to deal with doubters and haters.

Lance: I don't know about all that, but maybe if y'all stop letting the Colts be your dad here in NRG, we can buy in a little more.

Watson: Wait a minute. Who are you? Like, I seriously don't know you or who you are?

Lance: I'm glad you asked, I host the top-rated morning show from 7-9 AM every day.

Watson: You work two hours a day and you're in here telling me how to be a quarterback?

Lance: Yes, but it's a hard two hours. I also gave you a late first round draft grade on NFL.com in my draft profile.

Watson: I have to go work out and keep building on an 11-win season. After that, I'm going to donate my playoff check to people in need. What are you going to do after this?

Lance: Well… I… I'm probably going to play some online poker and get into a YouTube rabbit hole of Karma videos and rope swing fails.

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Composite photo by Jack Brame

As things continue to relax as far as the COVID-19 pandemic is concerned, a return to a semblance of normalcy seems imminent. The NBA has some parameters in place for a potential return. Training camps are set to open late this month and the season is supposed to open July 31. Whether that's the rumored Disney-centered one-stop shop or another form, they have a plan in place to return. There's also no argument between the league and players going back and forth about money either (MLB could learn a lesson here).

So when it comes to the potential return, how does that fare for the local team? The Rockets were 40-24 and tied for the fifth seed in the West when the season was shut down. Since they're getting ready to return potentially, we need to be looking at what chances they may have in making a run in the playoffs towards an NBA title.



Harden's new physique

According to his new trainer, James Harden has done more cardio workouts and lost some weight. Specifically, he's done more football player workouts as opposed to basketball player workouts. There was a pic of Harden floating around showing an obvious loss of weight. His new-found cardio and weight loss could mean more late-game and late-season success for Harden and the Rockets.

Westbrook's edge

Russell Westbrook has a competitive fire that can't be put out. It's like one of those never-ending burning torches you see at monuments. He wants nothing more than to prove he's a winner on a high level. Given that he's reunited with a long time friend in Harden, his competitive nature could help fill the gap where Harden may lack. These two have proven they can coexist very well this season. Now could be their time to take surge.

Small-ball

When the Rockets traded Clint Capela, they fully committed to small-ball. There were times they didn't have a guy in the lineup over 6'5. The tallest guy that gets regular time is roughly 6'8. The smaller, quicker lineup is an advantage on the offensive end, but can be a huge liability on the defensive end. Given the stoppage and restart of the season, it could help them. Suppose other teams are sluggish and can't get their chemistry straight. Houston's advantage is that they go through one or two guys and eat off their shooting. Shooting can be worked on during times like these, whereas other aspects of your game can't.


I'm not saying the Rockets have a built-in advantage, but they have as good a shot as they've ever had in the past. The field is wide open to any team that's in the playoff hunt. No team will have a built-in advantage over others. With the Rockets' unique brand of ball, they may be able to make a run at a title this season. Couple that with Harden's weight loss and Westbrook's competitive nature, it could be very interesting. Whenever the NBA comes back this season, which I believe they will, I think this team has a legit shot at winning it all.

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