Every-Thing Sports

Texans have a history of hitting below the Mendoza line when it comes to personnel decisions

Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The Mendoza Line is actually a baseball term to define a piss-poor batting average. Any player hitting .200-.215 is considered to be hitting below the Mendoza Line. Think about it: the Texans' personnel moves over the years have been at or below the Mendoza Line for their history.

"Texans need offensive line help, especially at left tackle. They should go after Trent Brown. He's a former Patriot and fits their M.O. of mimicking anything New England does." Brown ended up signing a four year deal for $66 million with the Raiders not too long after the "official" negotiating period opened.

"Texans need to bring back Tyrann Mathieu. He's the best safety this team has had, a real leader, and they need help in the defensive backfield because the corners suck!" Mathieu signed a three year deal for $42 million with the Chiefs. He reportedly turned down a deal with the Texans for three years worth $9.5 million a year.

This pattern of behavior is nothing new for this organization. For Texans fans, it has been one bad breakup after the next. The relationship between fans and this organization has been abusive in nature. The organization continues to string the fans along with promises of improving, building a winner, and becoming a perennial contender. Yet sadly, it has done nothing but mire in mediocrity, hang banners for winning the AFC South with 9-7 records, and bumble offseason improvements. While this offseason is off to a pissy start, it should look eerily familiar to those who've paid attention over the years.

It goes back to the Texans' initial draft. Most would think starting a franchise from scratch would necessitate drafting a quarterback to be the face of the newborn franchise. David Carr was sitting there as the consensus number one quarterback/player on the draft board in 2002. So was Julius Peppers. Peppers was a can't-miss physical freak at defensive end, while Carr was a good, not great, quarterback. The franchise further bumbled this decision by not putting together an offensive line or quality running back to help Carr. Sure they drafted Andre Johnson in 2003, but that wasn't enough to save Carr. he was damaged goods after getting sacked 76 times his rookie year which is still an NFL record.

Cornerback is another position of need this offseason. When the team drafted Kevin Johnson in 2015, they passed on a guy they may sign this offseason who is clearly better in Ronald Darby (drafted 34 slots after Johnson), the best corner in that draft Marcus Peters (drafted two slots after Johnson, but deemed "not Texans-worthy" due to off-field issues), and Byron Jones (picked 11 slots later and was the combine darling with his show of athleticism). Where's Johnson? He signed with the Bills.

The idiocy doesn't stop at draft picks. Remember the extensions given to Matt Schaub and Brian Cushing? How about the signings of Ed Reed and Ahman Green? Who can forget preseason Hall of Famer Lestar Jean? Anybody recall the trade for Phillip Buchanon?

General Manager Brian Gaine had a good offseason last year. Working with less than optimal draft picks and keeping cap space in mind, he managed to improve a 4-12 team to 11-5 and making the playoffs via winning the AFC South. That only made the expectations higher in the eyes of the fans and supporters. If Gaine wants to build upon his success from last offseason, he's going to have to pull another rabbit out of his hat. He's armed with about $60-some odd million in cap space and three picks in the first 64 selections of the draft. The immediate return of investment on draft picks isn't always noticeable, but quality free agent signings are judged with immediacy because they're veterans.

Going from the Mendoza Line to .300 means getting a hit three out of 10 times instead of two. That one extra hit every 10 at-bats could mean the difference in being a Hall of Fame player, or a forgotten nobody. Translated into football vernacular: Brian Gaine can go from Charlie Casserly to Bobby Bethard. Not in the sense of going from a coat-rider to a Hall of Famer, but in the sense of going from a nobody to a somebody.

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Watson's accusers appeared on Real Sports on Tuesday night. Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images.

HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel’s heavily promoted and much anticipated examination of Deshaun Watson’s legal mess involving alleged sexual misconduct shed little new light and merely presented a summary of well worn he said/she (x22) said accusations and denials.

The episode debuted Tuesday night on the premium cable service and will be repeated dozens of times throughout the week on HBO’s platforms. Check your local listings for times and channel.

The segment was hosted by Soledad O’Brien who presented compelling face-to-face interviews with two of the quarterback’s accusers: massage therapists Ashley Solis and Kyla Hayes. Their stories were detailed and graphic. Both cried during the interviews.

Solis: “As I’m working, he deliberately grabs himself and put his penis on my hand. I pulled my hand away instantly and I started crying. I told that I’m done. I don’t want to do this anymore.”

Solis said she felt threatened when Watson, before leaving the session, allegedly told her: “I know you have a career to protect, and I know that you don’t want anyone messing with it, just like I don’t want anyone messing with mine.”

Solis added, “That’s when I got really scared because that sounded like a threat to me.”

Hayes: “He wanted me to kind of make a V motion in his pelvic area. I just kept massaging and did what he asked, until his penis kept touching me repeatedly as I did it.”

Hayes said that Watson had an orgasm, which she said was “mortifying, embarrassing and disgusting.”

O’Brien asked Hayes why she continued to have contact via email with Watson after their encounter.

Hayes: "I wasn't sure what he was capable of. He could've physically assaulted me. He could've bashed my business, so I had to protect myself and my business the best way I saw fit. Did I ever see him again after that? No. Did I give him the runaround? Yes."

O’Brien pointed out that two separate grand juries in Texas heard criminal accusations against Watson and neither found enough evidence to indict him.

Solis and Hayes, and 20 other massage therapists have filed civil suits against Watson. The cases aren’t expected to reach a courtroom until next March. Both sides could reach a settlement before then which would effectively shut down any legal action against Watson. However, both sides say they aren’t interested in any pretrial settlements. That’s what they say now, anyway.

After being banished to the sidelines for the 2021 season by the Houston Texans, Watson signed a historic, 5-year fully guaranteed $230 million contract with the Cleveland Browns.

Hayes said she feels Watson “is being rewarded for bad behavior." Solis said, "It's just like a big screw you. That's what it feels like. That we (the Browns) don't care. He can run and throw, and that's what we care about.”

Watson currently is participating in preseason workouts with the Browns and, at the moment, is cleared to play the upcoming NFL season.

That is unless the NFL suspends Watson for some, most or all of the 2022 season. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league is nearing completion of its independent investigation into Watson’s case and will reach a decision “shortly,” probably this summer. The NFL and NFL Players Association mutually agreed to have former U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson decide whether or not Watson violated the league’s Personal Conduct Policy and what discipline should be handed down if he did.

The Browns are scheduled to play the Texans on Dec. 4 at NRG Stadium in Houston.

O’Brien said, while producing the Real Sports piece, she tried to interview Watson, his attorneys and the Cleveland Browns for their side of the story. All declined.

During a press conference in March to announce his joining the Browns, Watson denied any inappropriate behavior with the massage therapists.

Watson: “I never assaulted any woman. I’ve never disrespected any woman. I was raised to be genuine and respect everyone around me. I’ve never done the thing that these people are alleging. My mom and my aunties didn’t raise me that way.”

Leah Graham, a member of Watson’s legal team, sat for an interview after O’Brien’s segment was complete.

Graham: "It's 22 women. It's one lawyer. There's only one lawyer who was willing to take these cases. And as we know from Ashley Solis’ deposition, Mr. (Houston attorney Tony) Buzbee was not the first, probably not the second or third lawyer she went to, but he was the only one to take her case. Why? Not because it had merit, but because he would use these cases to increase his social media following and quite frankly to get on shows like this one.”

My reaction after watching the Real Sports segment? We weren’t in the room when the massage therapists worked on Watson. We weren’t in the grand jury room when evidence against Watson was presented. We don’t know what happened. We don’t know what will happen if these cases go to trial.

Until then all we have is one big, lurid, embarrassing mess. In American courtrooms, defendants are presumed innocent. That’s often the opposite in the court of public opinion. We’ll just have to wait while the wheels of justice grind painfully slow.

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