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On the Texans after Week 2: 3 Headlines, 2 questions, 1 bet

Jadeveon Clowney did not make an impact in Week 1. In Week 2, he did, but a negative one. And he wasn't even active. Houstontexans.com

It's Monday and here are three headlines, two questions, and one bet for this week. 

Unanswered Questions from Clowney on Sideline Penalty

Texans defensive standout Jadeveon Clowney declined to speak at length with the media today. He did not address directly the play and said he's moving onto the Texans next opponent the Giants. 

Early in the fourth quarter the Titans first play of the drive saw their tight end catch a ball and stumble out of bounds onto the Texans sideline. Clowney, inactive for the game and in street clothes, was bumped by Luke Stocker after moving towards him three yards and later had an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty assessed on him giving the Titans 15 yards. Tennessee would finish that drive with a field goal from the Texans 24-yard line. 

Bill O'Brien said he knows the taunting rule is a big emphasis but he isn't sure of the details of the Clowney penalty. 

"I don't really know," was O'Brien's response to a question about Clowney's availability this weekend. 

"They Handled it Differently Than We Thought"

The Titans first score of the game came on a beautifully executed fake punt after their offense had stalled out. With the Texans leaving the Titans gunner Dane Cruikshank uncovered Tennessee's Kevin Byard caught the snap and threw it for a touchdown to his fellow defensive back. 

O'Brien said it was a mistake on his part.

"That was a bad play call," said O'Brien. "Studying that during the week we felt like they would handle that differently."

Wrong Instincts, Wrong Play, Wrong Result

The Texans final play saw quarterback Deshaun Watson run the final 17 seconds of the game out completing a pass in the middle of the field to DeAndre Hopkins. O'Brien said today he needed to call a better play in the situation. 

Watson yesterday bristled at the notion he should have thrown the ball out of bounds. 

"I mean, of course," he said. "But while you’re playing, you can sit back and sit in your seats and say that I need to throw the ball away, but I tried to take a shot. We didn’t have any timeouts and they guarded the sideline very well, so my instincts took over and I tried to get the ball, and time ran out."

Can the Texans punch it in?

The Texans lead the league in rushing. Deshaun Watson, for the most part, had a nice game through the air against the Titans. Houston has just four touchdowns and three field goals to show for their efforts which is good for 26th in the NFL at 18.5 points per game. With the defense far from the shutdown defenses of the past, the offense has to take some pressure off the other side of the ball and put some pressure on teams, especially ones with backup quarterbacks. 

Four drives into Titans territory ended without points for the Texans. They convert about a third of their red zone opportunities. This team is going to have to score points and stop making it so tough on the defense. A defense, mind you, that has allowed just 12 second-half points. The current scoring pace is not going to cut it. It is up to Bill O'Brien's play calling and Deshaun Watson's decision making to put up more points. 

Can the Penalties Go Away?

The Texans committed 11 penalties for 88 yards against the Titans. The following downs and distances were all caused via penalty. 

1st and 15 (False Start)

1st and 15 (False Start)

2nd and 21 (Clipping)

1st and 20 (Holding)

1st and 20 (Holding)

It is incredibly hard for an offense to make up those penalties and play from behind the chains. This team has the talent to overcome them with big plays but not this often. They were able to turn some of those around and put points on the board though and cleaned them up in the second half not committing an offensive penalty. Do you want the answer to slow starts and uneven first half play? There it is. 

I bet the Texans struggle to contain Saquon Barkley in the passing game Sunday. 

The Giants top overall pick has impressed a ton so far this season but especially catching the ball. He has as many targets as DeAndre Hopkins, 22, and more receptions than teammate Odell Beckham, Julio Jones, Keenan Allen, and Hopkins with 16. 

The Titans didn't throw the ball to their running backs much but the Patriots in week one saw success getting the ball to their backs. Tom Brady also had a rare miss overthrowing Rex Burkhead on what would have been a touchdown. Barkley is no joke, especially in the passing game, and he will be used to slow down the Texans pass rush. 

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Let's make a deal. Photo by Getty Images. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

The NFL trade deadline is less than a week away, and the Houston Texans have a significant decision to make regarding their franchise star, J.J. Watt. The Texans are 1-6 through the first seven games of the season, and the next few years of the franchise seem a bit bleak.

No player or staff member has encapsulated Houston's frustration quite like Watt. Excluding the Texans' victory over the Jaguars, the future Hall of Famer has looked miserable in every post-game press conference. Each week, it's the constant look of despair. And in hindsight, closing the chapter on Watt's career in Houston seems to be best for both parties.

At 31-years-old, the All-Pro defensive tackle should be spending the twilight of his career competing for Super Bowls — not playing for a team who is clearly about to hit the reset button at the conclusion of this season.

By departing from Watt, it would allow the Texans to get a jumpstart on their rebuilding project — one that has the potential to bring back quality draft picks, a young prospect, and clear close to $20 million in cap space.

If they decide not to move on from Watt, the Texans risk putting themselves in a situation where they may miss out on obtaining higher draft picks and strapped for cash heading into the 2021 free agency market. And with one year left on his contract following 2020, the Texans also risk losing leverage in a potential deal if forced into trading Watt come next season.

At this stage of his career, the Texans may not receive a haul for Watt's services but could maximize his trade value by dealing him to a championship-contending team. A move that would give Watt the best chances of adding a championship title to his luxurious resume in return.

With the future of the franchise in mind, here are three potential trade ideas that would be best if the Texans are truly considering moving on from Watt.

Watt returns home to Wisconsin and joins the Packers

Texans receive: 2021 first-round pick and LB Kamal Martin

Packer receive: J.J. Watt

The Green Bay Packers are one of a handful of teams who has a realistic chance to stamp their ticket to Super Bowl LV. Following a win over the Texans on Sunday, the Packers stand first in the NFC North with a 5-1 record and possess one of the NFL's best offensive teams.

Green Bay's offense can compete in a shootout with just about any team in the league, but their defense may be the reason why they fall short of representing the NFC in Tampa Bay come February. They have only accumulated a total of 10 quarterback hits and are currently 30th in the league in pass rush through the first six games. The Packers' lack of ability to get to the opposing team's quarterback could be an immense problem during a playoff game that could feature Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Russell Wilson.

So what do the Packers have to lose by acquiring their Wisconsin native?

The addition of Watt would allow the Packers to add one of the best pass rushers of all-time. Although Watt is nowhere near the player that finished second behind Aaron Rogers for league MVP honors in 2015, he has illustrated that he is still a disruptive defensive lineman five years later.

Through the first seven games, Watt has accounted for 11 pressures, six quarterback hits and three sacks — which would make him Green Bay's second most reliable pass rusher trailing only Za'Darius Smith.

For the Texans, receiving a first-round pick for Watt is self-explanatory and would be the most suitable return for the aging star. However, for a team that is building for the future, the Texans should consider obtaining a young and raw prospect to evaluate.

Kamal Martin, a fifth-round draft selection in 2020, made his NFL debut against the Texans on Sunday and left an exceptional first impression. He recorded six tackles and one tackle for loss in 29 snaps inside NRG Stadium, and could be a building block should the Texans begin to make modifications to their linebacking corps.

Seattle sends multiple draft picks for Watt

Texans receive: 2021 second-round pick and fourth-round pick

Seahawks receive: J.J. Watt

If the Packers do not take advantage of improving their pass rush with Watt — perhaps the Seattle Seahawks will. Both NFC teams mirror each other with a high-powered offense, but a feeble defense may hinder one another from advancing to the Super Bowl. In a deal for Watt to the Seahawks, the Texans would miss out on the chance to acquire a first-rounder, but obtaining multiple picks would be just as prominent.

Seattle's general manager John Schneider is no stranger to taking a significant risk, and appears willing to make any moves that will put his organization closer to their long-overdue second title with Russell Wilson. Perhaps, Watt would be that missing key.

The Seahawks are pretty solid at stopping the run but need a tremendous upgrade in their pass defense. Seattle has given up the second-most passing yards on the season (2,212), and the reason seems to be their inability to get to the quarterback. Seattle has only implemented pressure to the opposing team's quarterback on 20.1% of their dropbacks, while only recording a total of nine sacks.

The Seahawks pass defense may not become elite, but the disruption of Watt on their defensive line could be enough to limit the devastation they have experienced through the first seven weeks of the season.

Watt to the Big Easy for Brees' last dance

Texans receive: 2021 second-round pick and Marcus Davenport

Saints receive: J.J. Watt

Seven weeks into the season, the New Orleans Saints are not sitting near the top of the NFC nor their division when compared to recent years. A bevy of injuries have been attributed to their minor decline this season — mainly to their All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas.

However, the Saints have prevailed through the injury bug to march their way to a 4-2 record. If New Orleans can get healthy during the second half of the season, they will be in the running to represent the NFC in Tampa Bay for Super Bowl LV. But unlike the Packers and Seahawks, this could be the Saints last chance to recapture the Vince Lombardi Trophy in what is likely Drew Brees' last dance.

The addition of Watt to the Saints would give general manager Mickey Loomis a chance to create the most disruptive defensive line in the league. Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen would be able to shift the five-time Pro-Bowler to the interior — allowing the Saints to trot out a d-line of Watt, Cameron Jordan and Trey Hendrickson.

This trade would give Watt arguably the most help he has ever had on the defensive line — which would allow New Orleans to maximize what is left of his career.

This trade would have the Texans missing out on obtaining a first-rounder, but a sound-round pick would be just as valuable for Watt. However, Houston should consider adding a young prospect in a potential swap, and Marcus Davenport would be their best return.

Drafted in 2018, Davenport is a former first-round talent who can help transition the Texans into the post-Watt era. He has showed promise of a bright future through his first two seasons, but injuries have prevented the 24-year-old prodigy of San Antonio from establishing himself as one of the league's top young talents.

This season, elbow and toe injuries have limited Davenport to just a pair of games in 2020. Although there is an immense concern regarding Davenport's health, the Texans cannot pass on adding a player who has already registered 11.5 sacks and 31 quarterback hits through his first 28 career games.

Coty M. Davis is a reporter for ESPN 97.5 Houston/SportsMap covering the Houston Texans. He is also the co-host of Locked On Texans, a part of the Locked On Podcast Network. Follow Coty on Twitter @CotyDavis_24.

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