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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Keep an eye on Alex Bowman this weekend. Image via: Wiki Commons.

For the first time since July 1984, NASCAR returns to one of its most popular cities in Nashville, Tennessee for the inaugural Ally 400 at Nashville Super Speedway. This track is a 1 1/3rd mile concrete oval that was dormant for nearly ten years and was only used as a testing facility. So it came as a bit of a surprise last season when it was announced that this track would be getting a date. For a lot of drivers, this will be a brand new racetrack, but we will see practice and qualifying, so that will be a huge help for the newcomers that haven't raced here before. Back when the Xfinity and Trucks ran here, this track featured a lot of first time winners. Back in 2008, future NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski shocked the world by jumping in Dale Jr's car and capturing his first win here. There will be a lot of veterans like Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick who have plenty of experience at this track, but it will be tough to compare. It should be fun with everyone coming into this race with minimal knowledge.

Last week, Kyle Larson continued his hot streak by winning the All-Star Race. Overall, while Larson and his Hendrick teammates probably enjoyed the race, the feedback from crews and fans was less than positive. As I was walking through the garage area and talking to a few crew members, a lot of them were very critical of the 450 horsepower motor and the tall spoiler to try and keep the cars bunched up. When I asked one of the crew-members what he thought about the package he told me, "Oh it's awful. The track is terrible, the package makes it impossible to pass and it's super hot out here." On green flag runs, it was the same as it ever was as the lead car would pretty much take off and the only time there was really any "pack racing" it came after there were restarts. The whole race was well-intentioned and the fans showed up as it was nearly a capacity crowd, but the whole thing just didn't make any sense. From the start time being in the nearly 100 degree heat to the wacky full-field invert at the end of each stage. Let's hope that next season's All-Star Race is a lot more concise.

In Silly Season news this week, Truck Series regulars GMS racing announced that they would be fielding a full-time cup series team. The team is currently owned by Allegiant Airlines CEO Maurice Gallagher and his son, Spencer, who used to drive for them in the Xfinity Series. This move seemed to come from out of nowhere as there was never any indication that this was a move they were exploring anytime soon after they turned down the opportunity to purchase Furniture Row Racing in 2019. This is certainly a great sight for the sport as there will be more new teams on the track and with their close relationship with Chevy, it wouldn't be a surprise if they step in and help this team become competitive. The favorite to drive their car has to be 2020 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Sheldon Creed. He has easily been their best driver in trucks, and it would make the most sense for him to get the promotion.

This week at Nashville, the driver that I have winning is Alex Bowman. Now while this is a brand new racetrack and he has a grand total of zero starts here, this track suits his driving style perfectly. With the inclusion of this track, there are now four tracks with a concrete surface. Nashville, Bristol, Dover and Martinsville. At the three of the tracks they have run at, he has shown a lot of speed, including a victory at Dover this season and a top ten finish at Bristol. This is also a track where crew-chief Greg Ives said Bowman has gravitated towards during testing. In an interview with Sirius XM Ives was quoted as saying "we used to have a lot of fun testing there," so this is clearly a track that they both enjoy going to. Another big factor going into Sunday will be just how fast these Hendrick Motorsports cars are, they have finished 1-2 over the last four points races. He has watched his teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott have immense success, and now this week I think he is due for a third win of the season. Look for the bright purple #48 Chevy to go to victory lane this week at Nashville.

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