The Texans were clearing out their locker and discussed the upcoming offseason

Offseason arrives for disappointed Texans

Zach Tarrant/Houstontexans.com

The Texans discussed plenty of things as they cleared out their lockers and headed into the offseason.

Bill O'Brien not ruling out new play caller

When asked if he thought about changing the play calling duties for the offense the Texans head coach didn't explicitly state change would or wouldn't happen. He did say it would be looked at by the team.

"I think at the end of the year we evaluate everything," he said. "Obviously, we just ended yesterday. But, we'll take a look at everything. We always try to make the best decisions in the best interest of winning. Like I said after the game, I think we have a very good future here. A lot of things to fix, but like I said, we'll take a look at everything."

Plenty of people would tell O'Brien he needs to give up the play calling to someone else. It doesn't seem likely O'Brien, who passed those duties to George Godsey years ago and took them back after his firing, would again give up the headset and the play sheet.

Quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan has gotten looks as an offensive coordinator before so perhaps he would be a in-house option. Anyone outside the organization forces the team to adjust to their philosophy and has to get along with O'Brien and Watson who already seemingly have a strong bond.

Like O'Brien said, it should certainly be evaluated.

Clowney's future is here

Jadeveon Clowney is a free agent but the impending payday isn't on his mind.

"I ain't thinking about that right now," Clowney said. " Just trying to soak in us losing this game right here. That's what I've been thinking about I haven't been thinking about that."

He said he was really upset with the loss to the Colts and it hurt his perception of the season. Clowney mentioned he thought they had four games left coming into the playoffs, meaning playing in the Super Bowl, and could have done something special.

He did discuss his thoughts on next season though.

"I promise to the Texans, and whoever else is watching, I'm going to be a much better and improved player next season."

Clowney said he went to sleep and woke up thinking about how he can be "much better" player and he hasn't even thought about a contract. He said he was worrying about his craft and he's focused on what's ahead.

When he was asked about potentially being franchise tagged by the Texans and his feeling Clowney brushed it off.

"We'll talk about that when it comes," said Clowney. "I'm going to worry about getting better. If I'm here, somewhere else."

He went on to say the business side getting settled would make him very comfortable and help him take care of his family. He then said he wanted to play the rest of his career with the Texans after spending five years with the team.

Romeo's return expected

Bill O'Brien said he expects defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel to return next season. He didn't elaborate, nor did he spend many words confirming the veteran coach's future.

The Texans finished 12th in total defense but 28th in pass defense. Their ability to stop rushing attacks was clear, finishing third in the league. O'Brien wasn't happy with the team's play on third down; they were ranked 20th allowing just over a 40 percent conversion rate. They were 11th in sacks with 43 sacks of opposing quarterbacks.

Crennel did help turn in the team's best takeaway statistic since they led the league in 2014. The Texans had 29 takeaways, up from 16 the year before and good for the fourth best mark in the league.

John Pagano is on the defensive staff as a senior defensive assistant and outside linebackers coach. He previously was the defensive coordinator for the Raiders in 2017 and the Chargers from 2012-2016. If Crennel's return became uncertain there's a chance Pagano could take over for the Texans.

Changes coming at cornerback?

Bill O'Brien made a comment that stood out when he was asked about having a franchise quarterback and not having to look for one anymore.

In listing elements of a successful team O'Brien mentioned "you need corners that can play man" as in man defense. The Texans use a lot of zone with the cornerbacks and the skills of their current defensive backs don't lend itself to playing man coverage.

The Texans have three picks in the first two rounds and will have plenty of money to spend in free agency as well. While people will be focused on the offensive line, the cornerbacks ended up being a weak point on this team as well. Injuries certainly played a part, but even when healthy, they underwhelmed.

Kevin Johnson said he is cleared and ready to get to work as he is under contract for next season. Kareem Jackson is a pending free agent. Aaron Colvin was a big free agent addition this season but injuries derailed him even further after his slow start to the year.

"He's a good guy. He worked hard," O'Brien said. "He was injured in the first Colts game, and I think that was a tough injury. Not to make an excuses for him, but tough one to come back from. It was an ankle injury and it just – I'm not sure that he every fully recovered from it. I don't want to speak for him, but we just felt like at the end of the day, we went with the 46 guys that we felt were the healthiest and the most ready to go."

Loaded with opportunity

The Texans have three picks in the top two rounds and are scheduled to have over $65 million in money so spend on free agency. There is a need for improvement on the offensive line and above we mentioned the cornerbacks as well. For many who want wholesale changes on the offensive line, remember this Bill O'Brien quote when free agency rolls around.

"I don't think you want to build it through free agency," said the head coach. "That's my personal belief. You want to build it through the draft so you can mold the guys. I don't think you want to bring in a bunch of free agents. These are decision that we have to make and these are decisions that we are going to be talking about daily."

O'Brien already has two free agents on his offensive line with guards Zach Fulton and Senio Kelemete. He had a big free agent addition at cornerback fail him. They have plenty of players to decide on with Jadeveon Clowney and Tyrann Mathieu among others being free agents. That being said, they will have some needs they can address with the money in free agency and should use it.

Training camp roads bring them back home

The Texans will return to Houston for training camp after spending the past two camps in West Virginia practicing at The Greenbrier. Bill O'Brien didn't confirm it, saying it would be a discussion with Cal McNair, but that it was "trending that way" when it comes to late July.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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