Rockets and Astros might win again before Texans do
Last week I was pleading with Houston sports fans to stop crying. Despite the incessant crying, Houston sports fans have a lot to be happy about. The Astros just won a World Series. The Rockets are poised to make a run at another title. The Texans, on the other hand, are a different story.
Early season struggles be damned, the Astros have what it takes to be the first MLB team to repeat since the Yankees won three in a row from ’98-’00. The pitching staff is loaded. Although starter-heavy, I think the bullpen will get figured out eventually. The bats may be hit or miss for now. But a baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint. Water always finds its level, and so will the Astros’ lineup.
The Rockets dropped Game 3 against the Timberwolves, but dominated in Game 4. Game 5 on Wednesday should be the swansong for Minnesota, and a moving on ceremony for the Rockets. They will get Luc Mbah a Moute back at some point, which will add to their rotation. I’ve said it before, and I’ll continue to say so until proven wrong: this team can win an NBA title this season.
Which bring us to the Texans. This team has some serious flaws, despite giving the appearance of being a “sexy pick” to make some noise this year. They don’t have a first or second round pick in this year’s draft. Instead, they used those picks to trade out of a bad quarterback and back into a franchise quarterback. That said, none of this would be necessary had they done a better job in previous years. The free agent class they brought in only had one recognizable name/difference maker in safety Tyrann Mathieu. I’ve spoken with some credible sources who believe he may not be used as effectively here as he was in Arizona. Cornerback Aaron Colvin should provide decent depth at the position, but this unit needs more playmakers, not more role players. Moves along the offensive line may pan out, and they may not. Offensive line play is as much about talent as it is about chemistry and scheme. Senio Kelemete, Zach Fulton, and Seantrel Henderson should improve the line, but an improvement isn’t saying much considering how abysmal they were previously.
Did I mention the Texans’ two most prolific pass rushers are coming off season-ending injuries? J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus shouldn’t be expected to return to form this season. Jadeveon Clowney is a monster off the edge, but could use some help from the aforementioned duo. When a team’s pass rush isn’t up to par and its secondary can’t cover a kindergartner with a king-sized blanket, that’s a recipe for disaster. This defense “fell from top 10 to not mentioned at all” to borrow a line from Jay Z.
That said, I firmly believe the Astros and Rockets will win championships again before the Texans win one. The Texans are in no shape to contend at the moment, and don’t have the necessary tools to build a winner this offseason. Maybe after the next couple offseasons, provided they use their draft picks and cap space wisely, people will begin to take the Texans seriously as a contender. Until then, the only hope in Houston sports for titles will lie in the Astros and Rockets.