RIP Kobe Bryant

NBA Legend Kobe Bryant dead at age 41

ESPN.com

It brings me great sadness to even type this, but NBA legend Kobe Bryant has died in a helicopter crash. He was 41. Details are slowly trickling in, but the Los Angeles County Sheriff's office has confirmed Bryant was one of the passengers on board a helicopter that crashed near Calabasas, which is just northwest of Los Angeles. This news comes less than 24 hours after LeBron James passed Kobe for 3rd place on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Kobe even tweeted out his props to LeBron shortly after it happened.

NBA Legend

Kobe played all 20 of his seasons for the Lakers. When he finished his career, he held several records, won five titles, was 4th on the all-time scoring list, won two gold medals, and firmly established himself in the G.O.A.T. talk. He defined a whole new generation's outlook on what a true legend in the game of basketball. He was the closest thing a new generation had to what my generation has in Michael Jordan. So many people hated him simply because he was so damn good and routinely ripped the hearts out of their teams. However, he was respected by teammates and opponents alike because of what he called "Mamba Mentality."

Off the court

Before he retired, Kobe started Granity Studios. It's a production company that he listed in his Twitter bio as being the CEO, writer, and producer for. He even won an Oscar for best animated short documentary for "Dear Basketball." Kobe was such a Jordan fan, he even went into several different business ventures. He started a venture capital company in 2016, was a noted philanthropist, and even made a rap album early on in his career. If you ask me, perhaps his most favorite off the court activity was coaching his daughter's AAU team. He seemed genuinely happy when doing so and always talked glowingly about his experiences in coaching.

Personal reflection

Growing up watching Michael Jordan from college to the NBA, I never thought I'd see anything remotely close. Then came Kobe. He walked, talked, shot, and would even stick his tongue out like Mike. I've ben in endless debates as to who's better. I always side with MJ since he has more hardware and did it with I would say is lesser talent. Kobe was the one guy that made me think if anyone could dare challenge MJ. His passing is hard to deal with as my kids are hurt that one of their heroes is gone. I have to check on my sister in law and some of my cousins. They were all in that generation I spoke of that would pick Kobe over MJ. It's hitting them hard as well. I know people who named their kids after him because they loved him so much! Kobe was the ultimate competitor who wanted to win at everything he attempted. It's almost fitting his last Tweet will be congratulating someone who looked up to him and passed him on the all-time scoring list. It showed his true love and respect for the game that gave him so much. We will always have the memories, but damn this is tough. #RIPMamba

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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