Every-Thing Sports

Sorry, J.J., Kareem Jackson is the Texans defensive MVP

Kareem Jackson is having his best season. Zach Tarrant/Houstontexans.com

At the midway point of different sports’ seasons, lots of media outlets like to do midseason awards. You’re safe here because this isn’t that article.

That being said, I truly believe Kareem Jackson is the Texans’ defensive MVP this season. I know most of you are J.J. Watt Stans. Yes, Watt is having a great season. Before you dismiss my idea, hear me out.

Kareem is 30 years old and in a contract year. For a guy who can’t run well, and never really has, he has been playing his best ball. Oh, you need stats? Through nine games he has 51 total tackles (22 off his career high), two interceptions (two off his career high), two forced fumbles (one third of his career total), and a fumble recovery (one third of his career total).

As of last few years, he primarily played as the nickel corner, while Jonathan Joseph and Kevin Johnson played outside. Coming into the year, he was asked to move to safety in a move to help bolster the defensive backfield. He made the move and played well there. That was until the team had depth issues at corner due to injuries. He was asked to move back to corner and his play level remained high. Not only has he been one of the team’s best tacklers, but he’s also been one of its best cover guys.

For you Watt Stans, I’m going to have to burst your bubble. Of his nine sacks, only one came against a team that is currently .500 or better (Dolphins are 5-5 right now). Three of those came against the Giants (that team’s only win until last night). We’re talking the same Giants that released two of their starting offensive lineman this season. Sure he needed a few games to get going after coming off back to back seasons lost to injury, but this is similar to a top college team padding stats against Directional State University. Nine sacks is still nine sacks, but change the game with sacks and forced fumbles against playoff contenders.

A good pass rush will make defensive backs look better than they really are. On the flip side, if the defensive backs cover well, a pass rush will get coverage sacks. This isn’t a knock on Watt. This is to draw attention to a guy who’s been often looked over in his career as a Texan.

I’m not a huge fan of Jackson’s play, but I call it how I see it, and he’s played well this year. The true question will be do they bring him back, and if so, at what price? Kareem will be 31 next season. Defensive backs over the age of 30 tend to fall off faster than a mumble rapper after their second album, or an old school rock band trying to tour with new music instead of playing their hits. Maybe he bucks the trend. History says that won’t happen. So enjoy the second half of the season and what Kareem brings to the table because it may never get better than this.

 

Cheerleaders are supposed to be hot. Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

In this age of safe spaces and emotional support animals I understand the plight of the modern day cheerleader and power dancer. They shouldn't have to hear hurtful words.

Longtime Texans cheerleader director Alto Gary was accused of calling her cheerleaders crack whores and porn stars when they wore too much makeup. This week a MIlwaukee Bucks cheerleader said she was locked in a dark closet and had to endure jiggle tests and fat grabbing.

These methods are probably unnecessary. Are they lawsuit worthy? That's for smarter people to decide. The Bucks did settle a suit for $250,000 because they underpaid their cheerleaders. That's something I can get behind. But that's arguable as well.

Exactly what are we looking for in our cheerleaders as 2018 comes to a close?

There are two main priorities in the cheer game: looks and dance-ability. We've gotten away from the gymnastics aspect. In high school competition it's still important but in the pro game we've gone to more synchronized dancing.

What we haven't gotten away from is how important it is to look good. As politically incorrect as that might be, it isn't going away anytime soon, maybe ever. We want our cheerleaders to look good. Sorry. Call me a neanderthal. Political correctness will never overcome a guy's pentiant to look at pretty girls. It just won't.

What we have here is the issue of how the cheerleaders are being treated and paid. Are the hurtful words necessary? No. But guess what. Stuff happens when livelihoods are on the line. You know what coaches call their players when they gain weight and get out of shape? You don't want to know. It's ugly. Body shaming? You bet. Happens every day in locker rooms all across the country at every level.

Some coaches are just mean and will pick at any inadequacy. Others use it as a motivational tactic. Who wants to be shamed publicly? No one but if I stay in shape I won't catch the coach's wrath so I stay in shape.

Let me make this perfectly clear though. I am anti-eating disorder. I like a little meat on the bones. That cheerleaders have to be Victoria Secret models is a thing of the past. Nothing wrong with some muffin tops in my book. I would be a great cheerleader director. After practice we'd order a few pizzas.

I'd be the only one who would do that but OK. Maybe I would change the game. Probably not but maybe.

As far as the inferior pay goes, I'm not sure that will change anytime soon. I don't want to be mean but let's be real. Cheerleaders are part of the game. They are not the game. Unless you are extremely perverted (and there are much better ways to get your perv on) the only people that are there just for the cheerleaders are their family and boyfriends/husbands.

The players are the product and they're expensive. Periphery attractions have to be affordable or the business plan doesn't work. Cheerleaders can and should make more than the miserly owners have been paying them but they're never going to get rich cheering. They're just not.

My cousin was a Honey Bear back in the day. She didn't make squat but she loved what she did and no one can ever take that away from her. There's a certain pride that goes along with it, not only for her but for the whole family. My cousin was hot enough to be a Bear's cheerleader. None of my friends had family that hot. I lauded that over them.

Let's not relent to political correctness on this. We just can't. Should directors lock cheerleaders in closets? Grab their fat? Wrap them in cellophane? Probably not. Should they at least make minimum wage and maybe more? Sure.

But we can't lower our hotness standards. They have to be smokin' hot and dance well.

I want my mechanic to know engines and fix my problem. I want my doctor to diagnose and cure my ills. I want my pilot to take off and land without incident and I want my cheerleaders and/or power dancers to be hot and dance well. That's the job. Period.

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