FRED FAOUR

Texans defense is a complete joke, which is why they are 0-3

Texans defense is a complete joke, which is why they are 0-3
The Texans have gotten nothing from Whitney Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney. Photo courtesy of Houston Texans

The Texans lost on Sunday to the New York Giants 27-22. Why? The Texans defense - supposed to be the strength of the team - is terrible.

Bill O'Brien said the Texans have to "coach better, and play better" at halftime. That is his go-to statement. They simply needed to play better. But this loss was solely on the defense.

J.J. Watt? Yeah, he had three sacks once the game was decided. But he was nowhere when it mattered. Jadeveon Clowney? Useless. Bernardrick McKinney? Worthless. Remember when Whitney Mercilus made plays? Yeah, me either. The Texans have lost nine games in a row. Who is to blame for that? 

The vaunted defense, which the Giants gashed all game. The Texans gave up 27 points, all earned by the Giants offense. You can blame Bill O'Brien. You can blame Deshaun Watson. But how about blame the defense? They were terrible in all phases. 

Let's start with the beginning of the game.

-The Texans allowed points to the Giants on four straight possessions, putting themselves in yet another early hole. 

-They let a broken down Eli Manning throw for almost 300 yards. He completed 25 of 29 passes for a QBR of 88.0 and a traditional rating of 132.3.

-The Giants best offensive weapons were unstoppable. Odell Beckham Jr. had nine catches on 10 targets for 109 yards. Rookie Saquon Barkley rushed for 82 yards on 17 carries and added another 35 on five catches. As a team the Giants averaged 4.2 yards per carry on 27 attempts.

-The Texans did not force a turnover for the second straight game.

-For a second straight game, they made adjusments and finally slowed the Giants to start the second half. But on the last drive, when they needed a stop to have a chance, they allowed a 9-play, 77-yard drive for the clincher.

-The Giants were 7 of 13 on third downs and 3 of 4 in the red zone.

The game was eerily similar to last week's, when the Texans started slow, got in a big hole, made adjustments but could not stop the opponent with the game on the line.

When your top two tacklers are in the secondary (Tyrann Matthieu and Kareem Jackson, nine tackles each) you are fighting a losing battle. So while it would be easy and convienient to blame the offense (and O'Brien did more than his share to assist in the loss), the group that was supposed to be the strength of the team is killing them.

As a result? They are 0-3. The season is all but over. And all because the defense could not stop anyone. That was supposed to be their strength. Clowney may not be healthy, but he has been beyond useless. And he wants Khalil Mack money? What a joke. 

The Texans are bad as a whole. Their defense is brutal. And that's why they have not won a game.

And unless there is a major turnaround, don't expect that to change anytime soon.

 

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Cristian Javier is in better shape this season. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

As the Astros prepare to play their first game of spring training against the Nationals this Saturday, we're starting to see reports about how the players approached the offseason, and what tweaks they made to improve in the 2024 season.

Cristian Javier is a player Astros fans are hoping bounces back this year, as his ERA jumped from 2.54 in 2022 to 4.56 in 2023. Workload was thought to be one of the main factors causing his regression, he dealt with a dead arm last season and threw more innings than ever before (162).

Another explanation could be the pitch clock. This was another new element all pitchers had to deal with last year, and that also likely played a role in his struggles.

But according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome, Javier believes he was carrying some extra weight last season. Add that to some mechanical issues he was experiencing, and his struggles in 2023 make a lot more sense. And to be fair, he wouldn't be the first person to get a little fat and happy after winning a World Series.

In an effort to get back on track in 2024, Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. With the pitch clock not going anywhere, pitchers need to be in better cardiac shape than ever before.

Hopefully this modification helps Javier return to form and put up jaw-dropping numbers like he did in 2022. This rotation needs Javier to be the dominate pitcher we all know he's capable of being. With Justin Verlander behind schedule and Framber Valdez trying to bounce back from his own down year, Houston will depend on Javier like never before.

The Astros are certainly counting on it after giving him a 5-year, $64 million contract last season. Javier will definitely be a player to watch this spring.

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