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.

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans loss rests squarely on this decision

Another tough loss for the Texans. Photo by Getty Images.

There are times in which you gamble and it pays off. Then there are times in which you gamble and lose badly. Today was definitely the latter. The Texans fell to the Titans 42-36 in an overtime thriller. The loss rests squarely on the head of interim head coach Romeo Crennel and his ill-timed gambling at the end of the game.

It started with the gamble to go for it on 4th&1 on the Titans' 35-yard line with 4:37 left in the game. That move said two things: A) we're on the road at 1-4 against the 4-0 division leader up by one point so let's try to end this, or B) I don't trust our kicker to make a 53-yard field goal. They converted because David Johnson is good for slamming into the backs of the offensive line for at least a yard or three. The next gamble came eight plays later. It was 4th & Goal from the 1-yard line. The play call was a pass. Deshaun Watson found Randall Cobb after scrambling to extend the play and putting the ball in a tight window on the sideline where only Cobb could catch it. Here's where I started to have a problem with the gambling.

That touchdown made it 36-29 in favor of the Texans. Up by seven with less than two minutes left in the game, the "right" call would be to kick the extra point to potentially go up by eight. That forces the opposition to have to score a touchdown and convert a two point conversion in order to tie the game. Alas...Crennel gambled by trying to force things, went for two, and came up short. Kenny Rogers once said: You've got to know when to hold 'em. Know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away. Know when to run.

The porous defense, however, gave up the game tying touchdown and extra point with four seconds left to send the game into overtime. From there, the Titans got the ball in overtime and drove down the field for the game winning score. A team that played a game on Tuesday evening bullied a team on Sunday at noon. Let that sink in. Sure, Derrick Henry is a linebacker playing running back, but the amount of yards you gave up to him was unacceptable.

Not kicking that extra point to go up by eight with less than two minutes left (1:50 to be exact) was the key coaching move that I feel cost them the game. There's no coming back from blunders like that when you're now 1-5 and would need to go at least 8-2 with tons of help down the stretch to have an outside shot at the newly created seventh spot in the playoffs. You had the division leader down and were in position to get a division win to go to 2-4. Instead, you're now in position to help the Dolphins continue to improve their franchise from the boneheaded decisions Bill O'Brien made before his exit. Crennel and staff coached a good game, until the end when it mattered most. With an extra playoff spot available, they still have an outside shot to make it, but it'll be difficult.

This city and fanbase deserve better. One day, they'll get it and get a winner. Until then unfortunately, they'll have to settle for purgatory, disappointment, and mediocrity. Hold tight. I see good things coming one day Houston football fans.

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