Rockets and Astros might win again before Texans do

Deshaun Watson is not enough. Bob Levey/Getty Images

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.  


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Another tough loss for Houston. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans lost again as their road game ineptitude continues. Former Texans stars DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt helped the Cardinals to the 31-5 victory.

1. The lack of talent is getting exposed earlier and earlier each week. The Texans have seen games slip away faster and faster from them each week. The team is overmatched almost everywhere.

2. Penalties remain a problem for the Texans. It seems like clockwork the team gets an illegal motion or illegal formation each week. Jordan Akins torpedoed a drive with a chop block. Max Scharping erased a positive play with a hold.

3. Davis Mills had some solid moments, but again, this team isn't good. It is hard to assess Mills with this team. He's making quicker decisions but he doesn't have the time or the players to make big plays.

4. The offensive line stinks. The interior of the line is still a mess and with Laremy Tunsil down the edges find themselves shaky as well. The running backs don't block well. The blocking tight ends don't block well. It is bad football in what was supposed to be a much-improved unit.

5. Desmond King was the best returner in the preseason. The team elected to give Andre Roberts an opportunity for a few games, but with his departure, the duties went to King. King is the most successful returner the Texans have had in a long while. Yes, it is that clear after just one game.

6. Max Scharping was benched in favor of Justin McCray. McCray produced similar levels of success. Scharping was benched last year for a journey-man veteran as well. The former second-round pick isn't getting it done.

7. Speaking of former second-round picks, Lonnie Johnson had an interception. That was the highlight of his day. Otherwise, Johnson frequently has me asking "what is Lonnie Johnson doing?" The former second-round pick at cornerback has been less than impressive at safety. Johnson seems to frequently be out of position or making the wrong choice in coverage.

8. DeAndre Hopkins had a solid day against the team that traded him away. Hopkins hauled in seven catches for 53 yards and a touchdown. After he scored, Hopkins looked to bring his hands together and mimic a prayer motion. I don't anticipate this was a nod to Arian Foster but perhaps could this have been about Jack Easterby?

9. The Texans had some sacks, but little of that action came when the game was close. Jonathan Greenard added two sacks to his total. The success Greenard is having is frustrating when you consider he couldn't get on the field last season. Charles Omenihu returned to action and had some pressures for the defense.

10. During the game reports surfaced that the Panthers might be interested in trading for Deshaun Watson. It was also reported by the Houston Chronicle Watson had vetoed a trade to Philadelphia, so the Eagles will not be involved in the Watson sweepstakes. The Panthers can only trade two first-round picks. The Miami Dolphins have three first-round picks they can trade for Deshaun Watson.

11. The Texans decided on a "culture" head coach in David Culley. His team has looked lifeless on the road. While the Texans took their beating, the Lions gave it their all against a good Rams team. Detroit is winless, but they play harder and better than the Texans. It grows clearer each week "culture" is meaningless if the team can't win.

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