Falcon Points

Ranking the 5 biggest moves in a busy summer for Houston sports

Compilation by Brandon Strange

Someone asked me on Twitter if there has ever been a more active summer in terms of Houston sports teams both on and off the field. You would be hard-pressed to find one. Let's look at the five biggest moves this summer and grade them:

5) Texans go GM by committee, ship out Clowney for nothing

Texans Jadeveon Clowney Houston Texans/Facebook

The Texans botched their draft, then fired their GM search and botched that, leaving them with a "flatter" organization. It's also a dumber one. Mainly because of the "deal" they made to trade Jadeveon Clowney.

This is a move the Texans did not need to make, especially if they were going to go all-in on the other move on this list. Trading one of your best five players when you did not need to is frankly just dumb. Seattle might only get a year out of him, but then they would get a third round pick if he signs elsewhere, which is basically what they give up. Huge win for Seattle.

Grade: F.

4) Verlander's dominance

Justin Verlander pitches Game 1. Bob Levey/Getty Images

Justin Verlander cemented his Cy Young case with a no-hitter on Sunday in Toronto, striking out 14. Verlander is 17-5 with 2.56 ERA and 257 strikeouts. We are seeing a future Hall of Famer at his very best.

Grade: A+.

3) Astros additions

Colorado Rockies v Houston Astros

The Astros made a big splash at the deadline, acquiring Zack Greinke. While he has not been dominant yet as an Astro, he is one of the best in the business and the move bolstered the Astros World Series chance. In addition, the exciting young Jordan Alvarez was called up and all he has done is make a run at the Rookie of the Year award by hitting well over .300 with 22 HRs and 63 RBI in just 66 games. Throw in Aaron Sanchez's debut with a combined no-hitter and the Stros continue to be the best run organization in the city.

Grade: A+

2) Texans go all in on Tunsil

After the disastrous Clowney trade, the Texans shipped two No. 1s and a 2 to Miami for Laremy Tunsil and WR Kenny Stills. Tunsil is something the Texans have been desperate for ever since they shipped off Duane Brown for nothing - a legitimate, No. 1 left tackle with upside. The price was steep, but players like Tunsil are rarely available. He should make a huge difference. It also makes the Clowney trade worse, because if you are going all-in on the season, why don't you keep him?

Grade: B

1) Rockets acquire Westbrook

Russell Westbrook Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The Rockets made a huge splash, acquiring former MVP Russell Westbrook for Chris Paul and a package of picks. While it may or not be a fit, putting Westbrook with Harden gives the Rockets an intriguing duo in the Western Conference. For sheer entertainment value, the Rockets get a good grade.

Grade: A-

The bottom line

The Texans and Rockets may never have another first-round pick, but if either team is successful, that will be forgotten. The Astros continue to be the gold standard by which all others are measured. Regardless, it has been one hell of an active summer. Now we will see how it all plays out when it counts.

Getty Images

The Texans had a chance to make a big statement on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. They did indeed make a big one; they are not ready to compete at the highest level. The Ravens might be the best team in football right now, and they looked like it. The Texans looked like an also-ran, losing 41-7. There is no shame in losing to the Ravens, but completely failing to show up and channeling your inner Miami Dolphin was an embarrassment. This was by far their worst performance of the season and maybe the worst of the Bill O'Brien era. It was reminiscent of the 30-0 playoff loss to the Chiefs. Here is how it all played out:

Offense

The positives: You're kidding, right? The only touchdown came in garbage time.

The negatives: We can stop with the Deshaun Watson MVP talk. He was badly outplayed by Lamar Jackson, who continues to stake his claim. Watson followed up an amazing performance in London with one of the worst efforts of his career.

They got off to another slow start, with a bad Watson fumble where he once again tried to do way too much. Fortunately it did not hurt them, as the Ravens missed a rare field goal. The next possession they went for it on fourth and three, threw a deep ball to Hopkins, who was interfered with in the end zone but there was no call. The Texans rightly challenged, but the NFL continued its trend of refusing to overturn interference calls. That was one of the only real shots to score a touchdown as it turned out, and they game quickly got away from them after that. Ka'imi Fairbairn missed yet another field goal in the first half. They allowed five first-half sacks (seven overall), although many of those were Watson's fault. They looked disjointed on offense, as they did in the first game against Jacksonville and in the loss to Carolina. They had just 102 yards in the first half, worst of the Watson era. There is no other way to say it; they were just bad.

Defense

The positives: Special teams made a nice stop on a fake field goal in the first quarter, reading it perfectly and stopping it on fourth down. Also, it was scoreless after one quarter. So there's that. Otherwise...

The negatives: After a solid beginning, holding Lamar Jackson to a 1-of-6 passing start, they had little answer for what has been the best offense in football, allowing the Ravens to score on six consecutive actual possessions (they did have a one-play knee down at the half). They got little pressure on Jackson, dropping multiple players into coverage, but Jackson was able to beat that. The third touchdown they allowed was vintage Texans defense; they failed to cover a running back out of the backfield on a wheel route. Injuries continued to plague the secondary, as both Lonnie Johnson and Justin Reid left the game. They were overmatched on this side of the ball, too.

The bottom line

This was an all-around awful performance, the worst of the Watson era. He completed 18-of-29 passes for 169 yards, zero TDs and a terrible interception and even worse fumble. He rushed for just 12, and was sacked six times. All the progress the Texans seemed to have made over the past month disappeared in one ugly afternoon. Lamar Jackson showed why he and Russell Wilson are the MVP leaders, hitting 17 of 24 passes for 222 yards, four TDs and no interceptions. He also added 86 yards rushing on just nine carries. In the battle of young star quarterbacks, Jackson dominated in what was no contest. The team stats were ugly as well. Baltimore had 25 first downs to 16, 492 yards to 232 (much of it garbage time yards) and led in time of possession 35:46 to 23:41. The Texans were just 2 of 10 on third downs and 1 of 4 on fourth down.

Bill O'Brien has done a good job in recent weeks, but they had no answers on either side of the ball. He also unnecessarily risked Watson by leaving him in the game down 34-0 in the fourth quarter. Why? To pad his crappy stats? He finally put in A.J. McCarron with 3:55 left down 41-7. He should have folded sooner and prepared for Thursday night's game against the Colts. He was lucky Watson was not hurt.

The Texans came out of the bye week looking like they had spent the entire time on the beach. The bad news is they face a quick turnaround and a must-win against the Colts and are now just 6-4 on the season, tied with Indy. At least they didn't expend much energy in this one. They have to regroup quickly or the season could spiral out of control in a hurry with the Colts and then Patriots on deck. This three-game stretch was going to be their big test. On the first section of it, they failed miserably.

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