Falcon Points

Texans continue to make off-field news for all the wrong reasons

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It's hard to know what the Texans are as an organization right now. While every team has off-field controversies and issues, the Texans have taken it to a new level over the past few months. They have made significantly more news off the field than on it, and most of it has not been good. While things might still work out this season, the off-season has made them look disorganized, rudderless and like they are flying by the seat of their pants.


Key moment?

The issues probably started with the draft, when the Eagles traded up one spot ahead of the Texans to take tackle Andre Dillard. The Texans then took Tytus Howard, who was not nearly as highly regarded. Reports since then are that the Texans were never that high on Dillard, but that was likely spin control. They got out-maneuvered for a player who could have helped immediately.

All hell breaks lose

In the time after, the Texans fired GM Brian Gaine, who had barely been on the job for more than a year. Gaine had been head coach Bill O'Brien's hand-picked choice. A few days later, a lawsuit came out alleging racist practices by the Texans. While the lawsuit may or may not have merit, it was yet another bad look.

Things looked even worse when they team tried to pursue New England's Nick Caserio, who was still under contract.

After that, they simply decided not to have a GM. While it may work, again, yet another bad look.

Then they punted on running back D'Onta Foreman, a third-round pick from just three years ago, necessitating a trade with Cleveland to get Duke Johnson, which could cost them another third round pick. While a good move, once again, the optics are poor.

More fallout

One of the reported issues with Gaine was how to deal with Jadeveon Clowney's contract situation. Clowney is on the franchise tag and has yet to report. Rumors have begun to swirl that the team is looking to trade him. Of course, with rumors, you have to wonder where they come from. Clowney's agents? O'Brien's people often leak info that makes him look favorable. Did they do it to see what the reaction would be?

Regardless, the entire situation is yet another bad look. If they had decided to move on from Clowney, the time to trade him would have been before the draft. It's unlikely you can get fair value for him now. Yes, if you could get a legitimate offensive tackle or lead cornerback, it might be worth it. But are those players really available?

Cooler heads?

The smart move would be to simply wait for Clowney to report, play him this season, tag him a second time and trade him next year when you get more value. But who is making that decision? O'Brien? The mysterious Jack Easterby? Cal McNair?

Let's not forget Cal McNair's corporate speak description of the GM arrangement. "It's a flatter organization with a faster management style," he said. "The organization is totally re-energized with a team-based approach and new leadership based on sub programs with each sub program being fully optimized as a goal.

"I know it's a lot, but it's a lot of improvements and we can't wait to get out of the office on the fields and get back to winning football games."

"Flatter" organization. "Sub programs." Word salad. Will all that lead to the right decisions? Who knows? The no-GM thing might actually work. Depending on how the Clowney situation plays out, of course. Otherwise, it's just another bad look for a team that is making more noise off the field that on it.

One of the biggest mistakes pro sports franchise owners make is trying to run it like their other successful businesses. McNair is talking like just such an owner. And more voices will mean more leaks. None of this will matter if the team succeeds on the field. But with one bad look after another? Fans should be concerned.

Will McNair be right? Will they get back to winning football games? For now, that has become a sub plot. Or a sub program. Whatever it is, if the Texans fail on the field, it will be the worst look of all.

NFL Playoffs: Conference Championship

NFL Playoffs: Conference Championship good, bad and ugly

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The NFL Conference Championship Weekend is their Final Four. You don't get the games played in the same place, but there is a buzz in both stadiums because each team knows theyarethisclose to a Super Bowl. Here are my observations:

The Good

-Chiefs' quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the real deal. We gawk at his arm strength and ability to make throws in spaces and from angles that'll challenge physics. But his athleticism and escapability are underrated. Prime example was his 27-yard touchdown run right before halftime. Not only did he evade the rush and scramble to the outside, but he tightroped along the sideline, cut back inside, then carried a couple defenders across the goalline. He led the Chiefs in rushing yards with 56.

-49ers running back Raheem Mostert has played on five different teams in his five year career. In his second stint with the 49ers, he's turned himself into an valuable piece of that offense. Although they use a stable of backs, it was Mostert who set a new team postseason rushing record with 196 yards and there was still almost 20 minutes of football left to play!

-We will have a great matchup of coaches in the Super Bowl. Head Coaches/Playcallers: Chiefs' Andy Reid vs 49er's Kyle Shanahan; defensive coordinators: Chiefs' Steve Spagnuolo vs 49er's Robert Saleh. The meeting of the minds with two weeks to prepare should give us a good game. Key word: should. Please guys, no blowouts.

The Bad

-Derrick Henry was dubbed "King Henry" after his recent rushing performances. He was unceremoniously removed from his throne by the Chiefs' defense. 69 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown with a long run of 13 backed up the tough talk from Chiefs' defensive end Frank Clark who said earlier in the week leading up to the game that Henry wasn't hard to tackle.

-Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers looked a little off. He missed a few key throws, including an interception that ended any hope they had of coming back because it led to the 49ers having a short field and going up by four scores instead of the Packers being down by two scores. It was a minute before halftime, but the way the 49ers were running the ball, that pick was a backbreaker.

-The NFL fined Chiefs' offensive lineman Eric Fisher $14,037 for an unsportsmanlike conduct for his double-fist beer touchdown celebration during last week's win over the Texans. I thought they turned the corner when they started allowing more touchdown celebrations. So let me get this straight: you can choreograph a dance routine with the whole team, but can't pretend to chug beer from a league sponsor? Talk about hypocrisy.

The Ugly

-With the score 28-17 Chiefs with 7:44 left in the game, 3rd&6 on the Chiefs' 40-yard line. Titans' corner Tramaine Brock Sr. fell down and was called for a holding penalty on Sammy Watkins as he was falling. The worst part of that play: Watkins broke open and Mahomes found him for a 60-yard touchdown. Later when they were down by 11 with 3:59 left, Brock was called for a 41-yard pass interference on 3rd&10 with the Chiefs on their own 19-yard line. Those plays sealed the deal for the Titans.

-49ers running back Tevin Coleman was carted off the field in the 2nd quarter with an injury to his right elbow. An arm injury must be pretty damn bad if you're carted off. Thoughts and prayers to the running back I thought the Texans should've signed. Major props to him wanting to come back to the sidelines to be with his teammates wearing a sling.

-The 49ers outrushed the Packers 185 to 51...IN THE FIRST HALF! They were up 27-0 and had "only" passed for 40 yards. That's all they needed since the Packers couldn't stop the run. Mind you, they ran the ball 22 times to get the 185 yards. Packers defense looked like wet brown grocery bags trying to hold two gallons of milk.

And then there were two. Through all the strife and struggle, we have our Super Bowl 54 will be a matchup of arguably the best on their respective sides of the ball: 49ers and their defense vs the Chiefs high octane offense. However, don't sleep on the 49ers' ability to score, or how well the Chiefs' defense has been playing as of late. Ultimately, I have the sads. We only have one meaningful football game left. Hopefully the 49ers and Chiefs give us something to talk about. I won't mind seeing a 24-21 or 31-27 game. As long as we don't get a multiple score blowout, I'm good. Props to the Titans and Packers for putting up a good fight. It just wasn't good enough. From 32 to two. And there will only be one.

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