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.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Houston Astros made a big splash earlier in the week by extending Alex Bregman. They are on the verge of another big deal, according to multiple reports.

Extending Verlander

Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Astros and ace pitcher Justin Verlander finalized a two-year, $66 million dollar extension. Even at age 36, Verlander remains one of the best in the game. He went 16-9 last year with a 2.52 ERA and 290 strikeouts. It was his first full season in Houston.

Verlander quickly endeared himself to Houston fans after the last minute trade from Detroit in 2017. He helped the team to its first World Series victory that year and has been a fan favorite ever since. The Astros window to win it again remains open, and Verlander apparently will be a big part of it.

If this deal is finalized, and the Astros can reach a longterm deal with impending free agent Gerrit Cole, the team should be set for the near future. Cole, George Springer and Carlos Correa will be the next players in line for deals, but in locking up Jose Altuve, Bregman and now Verlander the team will remain in pretty good shape moving forward.

Verlander's deal - like Cole's - was set to expire at the end of this season.

Texans finally address a need

Oakland Raiders v Minnesota Vikings

Matt Kalil. Getty Images.

The Texans needed to add offensive line help this off-season, but the options were limited and overpriced. On Friday they added the kind of player they needed, former Viking and Panther tackle Matt Kalil. It is a low-risk, high-reward move.

Kalil was a Pro Bowl caliber tackle in Minnesota until injuries slowed him in 2016. He started every game for Carolina in 2017, but missed all of last season and the Panthers let him go.

If he is healthy, left tackle becomes less of a priority in the draft - the Texans won't have to reach for one. If not, it's a low-risk move. If he wins the starting job, great. If he does not, it likely means the Texans drafted a better player.

They have not done a lot in free agency, but adding Kalil is a potentially key move. Former Raider Donald Penn is also still a free agent and if the Texans can add him as well, they have at least placed significant band-aids on a gaping wound.

Adding Kalil on a short-term deal is a much better option than spending huge dollars on Trent Brown. The potential success rate is basically the same.

The Texans still have some concerns - another tackle remains critical, and cornerback is still a serious minus, but now they can address corner in the draft without being locked in to taking a tackle. If they can add Penn, then cornerback immediately becomes the No. 1 priority. They could also use a backup running back and another interior D lineman, but those can be addressed in the middle rounds.

In all, this is a great move by the Texans, whether it works out or not.

Ohio State next for Coogs

Kelvin Sampson has the Cougars rolling. Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Houston Cougars will play their second round NCAA Tournament game Sunday against 11th-seeded Ohio State after Friday's easy win over Georgia State. The game will be played at 7:40 p.m.

The No. 3-seeded Cougars are 5.5-point favorites.

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