The Harris County – Houston Sports Authority Insider

Texans are in a position to turn things around fast

Deshaun Watson and the Texans can turn things around quickly. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

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It’s so not the start we expected.

Yes, we’re talking the Texans.  The team we thought would be – worst case – 1-1 after the first two games. We even had hopes of 2-0 dancing through our heads. Who wouldn’t with a healthy Deshaun Watson working his offensive magic and a full-speed J.J. Watt taking the defense up a few levels.

Instead we’re looking at 0-2 with the home opener on the horizon. Shaking your head? Thinking slow start? Or worse?

Yes the last two weeks have been a mess. Slow starts. Mistakes. Turnovers. Head-scratching decisions. Dropped passes. Turnovers. Only three sacks?

Sigh all you want. But don’t write this season off.

Houston, there is a solution.

We’re here to tell you that the playoffs are still within reach. Forget about that stat everyone’s hammering hard  - only 10.9 percent of the NFL teams that start 0-2 make the playoffs. Yes, 1-1 would have been better, but it is what it is.

With the desperate and stumbling Giants heading to NRG Sunday for a battle of 0-2s then a trip to Indianapolis followed by a Sunday night home game with the Dallas Cowboys and a home matchup against the Buffalo Bills .  . . well, this is definitely the stretch to make up some ground.

Run the tables and the Texans are at 4-2 and that chance of making the playoffs just jumped to 62.3 percent. Go 3-3 and Houston has a 38.3 percent chance of extra games. Go 2-4 and it drops precipitously to 8.6.

Start 0-4 and . . . well if a team did that it could tie the 1992 San Diego Chargers as the only teams to make it to the playoffs. But, let’s not go there.

The bottom line here is the Texans are close. Maybe thisclose.

A 1993 Dallas Cowboys close? That year an Emmitt Smith contract dispute meant 0-2 start for the Cowboys but, once signed, Smith led them to the Super Bowl XXVIII title.

Different situation, but . . .


What we do know is Watson has shown flashes of what could be – even with a struggling offensive line. The running game – without D’onta Foreman who is out until at least late October – is solid. All-pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins is still one of the best in the league and Will Fuller is on Fire!

And then there’s the fact they opened the season with back-to-back road games. Now, they’ll play three of the next four in NRG. Hmmm.

Regardless, Sunday will feature Hopkins and the Giants’ Odell Beckham, two of the best receivers and playmakers in the game. Edge to . . well, when asked what Hopkins did well, Watson didn’t hesitate.

"Everything. There's nothing that he can't do."

Assuming the Watson – Hopkins, or Watson – Fuller connection is on point as expected  . . . well, it would then be up to the Texans’ defense to limit Beckham – on offense and as a returner – and slow down the very dangerous Saquon Barkley.

For the most part, the Texans are taking it a day at a time. Will Jadeveon Clowney be back? Will Fuller? Will the play calling and focus and intensity be there Sunday?

“Can’t get ahead of ourselves and can’t look back on the previous games,’’ Watson said. “You got to focus on that day and today’s Wednesday, and focus in on the game plan and try be the best we can today, and then we’ll focus on tomorrow when it comes.”

If nothing else, your takeaway from the first two games should be those flashes you did see and that the Texans are better than 0-2. They could have won both games – losing to the Patriots by 7 and the Titans by 3. Things obviously could have gone better, and mistakes need to be corrected.

But, if they learn from that . . .

Well, the 2015 Texans were a much different team - as was the competition - but they too started 0-2 and won the AFC South.

Time to turn it around boys.


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It's Draft SZN! Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

On Thursday June 22, the NBA will hold their annual draft. With the Rockets owning the number four overall pick, you'd think things would be looking up for them. However, in a draft where the top three players are all expected to be immediate impact guys, the drop begins where the Rockets are selecting. Armed with some young talent, cap space, and a new head coach, the Rockets are looked at as a team on the rise. But what will help contribute to that rise?

When you have assets, you have options. There are three main options I see here for the Rockets with number four: keep the pick and select the guy you think will work best moving forward; trade up to select the guy they feel they missed out on that isn't a punk Frenchie who dislikes Houston; or trade the pick for an established star. The other option is trading the pick for a good player and a future pick/s. Let's take a look at the options:

Option 1: Keeping the pick means you're drafting the leftovers. Those leftovers start with Amen Thompson. He's the guy I believe can come in and help sooner rather than later. At 6'7 and 215 pounds, he has an NBA body. His skill set can come in handy because he's played point guard. This team could use a true point guard, but Thompson isn't exactly a traditional point. He has the size of a wing player, which allows him to see over the top of the defense. His outside shooting is abysmal and needs a vast improvement. To me, adjusting to life as a pro without his twin brother Ausar, another good draft prospect himself, will be difficult. Overall, I believe he's the guy to take at four if they decide to stay.

Option 2: Trading up to get Scoot Henderson or Brandon Miller may prove to be difficult. Both teams picking ahead of the Rockets have their point guards. Charlotte wants to find Lamelo Ball a running mate and have their eyes rumored to be set on Miller. Portland is trying their best to keep Dame Lillard happy. The Rockets would be best served to trade with either team willing to move down for whatever they offer, provided it's worthwhile. Portland was just in the playoffs the last few years and aren't as far out as some would think. They're the ones I'd eye to trade with. Speaking of Portland and Dame…

Option 3: The Rockets need a point guard and Dame may be looking to get out. Help them start their rebuild and bring Dame to Houston. Or, how about the Jaylen Brown rumors? Fred VanVleet has a player option for next season, then becomes an unrestricted free agent. There are a few options of finding veteran help around the league, especially at the point. Problem is, are any of these team willing to take the Rockets' offers? It'd start with number four, and include other assets as well. This option makes sense if the organization believes the roster, with whatever vet addition they make via trade, is playoff ready.

Option 4: The last option I thought about is to trade the pick for a first rounder in next year's draft and a decent player. I see this as a last resort of sorts. But only if they do not feel comfortable with whatever player they may take. That, and if they want to save cap space for next free agency period. Not having a first rounder next year isn't as bad as one might think. The team will need to make the necessary moves this offseason to ensure that won't be an issue next draft. FOMO is real, especially when a team is rebuilding and can't use one of the best/cheapest forms of acquiring top talent.

I talked with my good friend “TC.” The guy loves basketball and even hips me to a bunch of stuff. He wants them to move up in the draft for Scoot or Miller. While he is a James Harden fan, he doesn't necessarily want him back. He wouldn't mind it, but it's not his first option. I've spoken with a lot of native Houstonians about this. They all want a winner sooner than later, but have different philosophies on how to get there. Personally, I say options two and three are my faves. Trade the pick for help, rookie or vet, and go from there. I guess we'll have to wait three more weeks before we find out. Or will we…

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