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.

 

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Houston dropped two of three

Astros drop series finale to Oakland, A's win series

Jose Urquidy couldn't hold Oakland back on Saturday. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With Oakland finally ending their drought against the Astros on Friday night to split the first two games of the series, and with the Angels staying in step with them as both teams started the day 6-2, the Astros needed a win to keep momentum in their favor on Saturday.

Instead, Oakland would outslug Houston once again to take the series finale and take the series win. The loss moves Houston to 6-3 and down to second place, at least for now, until the 6-2 Angels complete their game on Saturday evening.

Final Score: A's 7, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 6-3, second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Frankie Montas (1-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (0-1)

Urquidy gives up four over six

Much like the night before, Oakland was able to bring in runs against Houston's starter, this time Jose Urquidy, Saturday afternoon in their second time through the order. Their first time through, Urquidy was cruising, allowing just one baserunner in the first three innings on a single in the top of the third.

Things shifted in the top of the fourth, with the A's getting back-to-back singles to set the stage for a two-run frame with dual RBI-singles to take a 2-0 lead. Oakland doubled that in the fifth, getting a two-out single to set up a two-run homer by Ramon Laureano to make it 4-0. Urquidy would go on to finish six innings, but with no run support to that point, would leave in line for the loss. His final line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 93 P.

A's pad their lead before Houston gets on the board

Meanwhile, although getting five hits, the Astros could not get anything on the board against Frankie Montas through six innings. Brandon Bielak took over out of the bullpen for Urquidy in the top of the seventh, but after loading the bases, he would allow a dagger two-RBI single to make it a 6-0 deficit for Houston.

With Montas starting the seventh looking to face a batter or two before Oakland moved to their bullpen, Kyle Tucker would finally get Houston on the board with a leadoff solo home run, cutting the lead to 6-1 and ending Montas' day. Houston would get a two-out rally going, with an RBI-double by Jose Altuve followed by an RBI-triple by Michael Brantley to make it a three-run game at 6-3.

Oakland takes the series win

Ryne Stanek tried to keep it a three-run game and give the Astros a chance to stay in it in the top of the eighth but instead would give up a two-out solo home run to push Oakland's lead back to four. That 7-3 score would go final as Houston would go scoreless in the eighth and ninth.

Up Next: Houston will have a day off on Sunday before continuing this homestand Monday night by welcoming in Detroit and former manager A.J. Hinch for three games. In the series opener, the Tigers will send young star Casey Mize (0-0, 2.25 ERA) to the mound, while the Astros will get another start by Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.38 ERA).

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