Texans: It's Time to Play Monte Hall, Let's Make a Deal!

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We all know by now that the Texans plan to get through the entire 2019 season without a General Manager. Bill O' Brien and his staff will make decisions as a group as they try to do what's best to improve the squad and make the appropriate personnel decisions regarding roster moves, cuts and most importantly right now, trades. We heard reports on Monday that Jadeveon Clowney plans to end his holdout, sign his franchise tag and show up to camp sometime around the third preseason game. Regardless of what Clowney does, the team needs to focus on a few key position groups that need help and three players in particular that could really help boost those ares of the team while improving their overall chances of winning this season and for seasons to come.

Texans offensive line The Texans offensive line has been in decline since 2014. Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

We all know that the offensive line of the Texans has been the number one problem area for the franchise over the last several years. Ever since Duane Brown departed for Seattle the line has been on the decline and some would say it wasn't great leading up to that trade. The offense has been consistently hindered by the shortcomings of the five guys up front and failed draft picks and veteran free agents signed on the cheap with hopes of finding lightning in a bottle have set the squad back more than they have pushed it forward in a positive way. Rick Smith swung and missed on several draft picks that didn't pan out and Brian Gaine took his cuts in this summers draft, only to be shown the door before the verdict could come back on the latest crop of o-line candidates. The fact is, the team has a franchise quarterback in Deshaun Watson it has to protect and keep upright if they want any chance of winning another division title or even grabbing an AFC Wild Card berth. In his short career in Houston he has already suffered a major knee injury and taken way too many hits for anyone to feel comfortable about. If that trend continues, and he suffers through another season of excessive hits and crushing blows, it could have a long-term negative affect on the team's future. It's with that key issue in mind that I think the team needs to look long and hard at making a trade for an experienced offensive lineman.

Washington Redskins left tackle Trent Williams would be the perfect fit for the Texans and a young and mostly inexperienced offensive line. The former all-pro lineman has had some major issues with the 'Skins front office, including the training staff and has vowed to never play for the team again. The rumblings from the team standpoint is that he very well could have played his last game for the franchise, and they are just bidding their time before taking offers to make a deal and find Williams a new home. Since Williams owns a business in Houston and lives here in the offseason, it just seems to be a perfect fit and a match made in football heaven. Whoever is in charge of making phone calls and inquiring about player availability for the Texans needs to pick up the phone and pester Dan Snyder and his staff until they come away with a deal that both teams can live with. If Houston can swing something with Washington by giving up a second or third round pick and maybe a current player on the roster, consider that a huge win, get it done and never look back as you push the franchise forward in a big way.

Another player the team needs to consider making calls on is Los Angeles running back Melvin Gordon. The former Wisconsin standout and first round pick seems to be at a stalemate with the Chargers as he holds out looking for more money and multiple years added to a new deal. With Houston cutting former third round draft pick D'Onta Foreman this past weekend and cutting ties with the once promising running back, the team is in desperate need of experienced help in the backfield. The Texans have plenty of money to play with this year, sitting on around 40 million dollars and have in the neighborhood of 80 million available heading into next season, so the finances shouldn't be a stumbling block. The main issue would be what the boys on Kirby would have to give up to get him. Would a package of Lamar Miller and picks get it done or would Clowney be more appealing as the centerpiece? Regardless of the pieces involved, it would be in the team's best interest to again pick up the phone and explore the possibilities. Can you imagine how explosive that offense could be if you had Gordon added to the mix along with Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller and Keke Coutee? I don't know if the defense could keep up their end of the bargain, but it would be a whole lot of fun watching that team put up points.

DeAndre Hopkins and Jalen Ramsey

The final player the Texans should at least ask about is Jalen Ramsey, the all-world defensive back of the Jaguars. He has made no secret of his desire to get paid in a big way as he looks for a new, long-term deal. He even went so far as to have an armored car drop him off at training camp when he checked in with the Jags. The Texans secondary could be in for a long year with Kareem Jackson and Tyrann Mathieu departing in free agency, former first round pick Kevin Johnson cut, and Johnathan Joseph another year older. Adding a guy like Ramsey could instantly change the entire position group for the better, while it would give the defense a lock down corner to shut down the best receiver across the line of scrimmage. It would also instantly give the team added depth and the ability to move guys around as needed to capitalize on matchups and specific schemes and packages. As good as all of this sounds, it is rare that a team is willing to make a trade within its division. On the surface a Clowney for Ramsey swap looks and sounds good for Texans fans and could be a win-win for both squads, but getting an actual deal consummated may be easier said than done. In any case, it wouldn't hurt for someone on "Team O'Brien" and the Texans to run up their cell phone minutes and see what Jacksonville might be willing to take in a swap for Ramsey. After all he is pretty good friends with Hopkins and the two have exchanged a few what if scenarios on social media, dreaming of the chance to play together in H-town. If B.O.B. and the boys could pull off a trade for Ramsey, it could go a long way towards getting everyone to forget who the GM is, was or is supposed to be in Houston while it gives the roster a better chance to win.

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Yordan Alvarez provided the offense to back up more stellar pitching by the Astros as they took ALCS game 6 to advance to the 2021 World Series. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of this series in Houston then falling behind in the series 2-1 by dropping the first of three games in Boston, the Astros took over the ALCS in Games 4 and 5, sending them back to their home crowd with a chance to finish things off in Game 6 at Minute Maid Park. After another stellar performance by their pitching staff and more timely hitting, they would accomplish that mission, winning the series and moving on to the 2021 World Series.

Final Score: Astros 5, Red Sox 0

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): Houston wins 4-2

Winning Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Losing Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Houston strikes first to start tightly-contested Game 6

After a scoreless top of the first inning by Boston's offense, the Astros capitalized on a chance to be first to score in the bottom of the frame. Alex Bregman started the two-out rally, reaching base on a single against Nathan Eovaldi for the first hit of the night. Yordan Alvarez followed, delivering his sixth RBI of the series with a double to put Houston on top 1-0.

That did not spark further immediate scoring, as the one-run score held while both starting pitchers provided solid outings for their team. For Eovaldi, he was able to limit Houston to just that single run through four frames. He returned in the bottom of the fifth, facing two batters, allowing a single, and getting a strikeout to end his night.

Garcia impresses in big start

For the home team, they were recipients of another expectation-exceeding performance from one of their young arms. Only anticipated to go a handful of innings, Luis Garcia worked efficiently and effectively against Boston, keeping them scoreless and hitless through five innings. He continued in the sixth, getting two more outs before allowing a two-out triple, ending his night as Phil Maton would enter to strand the tying run. Garcia's final line: 5.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 76 P.

With both teams dipping into their bullpens, the Astros took advantage of Boston's as Yordan Alvarez's dominance went on display once again. He led the inning off with a triple, then scored on a double-play ball to extend Houston's lead to 2-0. Kendall Graveman took over on the mound in the top of the seventh and worked himself into a big moment. He gave up a one-out walk, followed by a single, which put runners on the corners for Boston. He continued to struggle with the zone, falling behind the next batter 3-1, but was able to battle back to get the strikeout paired with a terrific throw by Martin Maldonado to cut down the runner from first trying to steal second, ending the inning and maintaining the two-run advantage.

Astros headed to the World Series

Ryne Stake was Houston's next reliever, and he put Houston three outs away by getting a 1-2-3 eighth. With Ryan Pressly warming, he watched and hoped that his offense could give him some more insurance to work with when he went to the mound in the top of the ninth. His wish would be granted, as after getting two on base, Kyle Tucker would put a major exclamation point on the night's offense, hitting a three-run opposite-field homer to the Crawford Boxes to push the lead to 5-0.

Pressly, now with the five-run lead, came on to try and start the celebration by getting the final three outs. Against the tougher part of Boston's order, he would get a 1-2-3 inning, giving the Astros the American League pennant, which along with those won in 2017 and 2019, puts them back in the World Series for the third time in five years.

Up Next: The Astros will have three days off before The Fall Classic kicks off. While Game 1 will be on Tuesday, October 26th, nothing else has yet been determined as Houston awaits to see which of the Dodgers and Braves will advance out of the NL, which will also dictate if the Astros will host or travel to World Series Game 1.

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