Falcon Points

Texans keep trying to erase mistakes, but at what cost?

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Texans released cornerback Aaron Colvin on Tuesday, a night after his embarrassing performance against the Saints. Colvin signed as a free agent last season and proved to be a disaster. He was given $18 million at signing, of which the Texans will still have to eat 7.5 million this year.

Signing Colvin did not work out. At least the Texans ejected, and signed free agent Phillip Gaines, who might be an upgrade. Then again, anything would be an upgrade.

Bill O'Brien the GM continues to try to erase mistakes at high costs. And probably making more along the way.

Had to be done

Colvin was clearly a mess, and cutting him probably was a must. It was once again admitting a big mistake. In the last month, they have cut running back D'Onta Foreman, a third round mistake. They traded Martinas Rankin, a third round mistake. They IR'd tight end Kahale Warring, who looks like...you guessed it, a third-round mistake. All they got in return was veteran RB Carlos Hyde, who at least looked good against the Saints. But the assets they have punted on are adding up.

Where it all started

It all began in 2017 when the Texans traded tackle Duane Brown to Seattle for next to nothing. They have been trying to fix left tackle ever since. That led to paying a premium for Laremy Tunsil. When Foreman was cut, they had to pay a premium for Duke Johnson. While those moves might not be bad in the long run, they sacrificed draft picks to try to correct mistakes.

More problems

They likely find themselves having made more recent miscues that will have to be corrected. The Colvin signing cost them money and a possibly the game against the Saints. But that was an easy erasure. The problem was not addressing the corner position effectively in free agency and the draft. They used a high pick on corner Lonnie Johnson, who only played special teams Monday night. While he might eventually work out, the fact that they thought Colvin was a better option...

And they have now invested five premium picks - three firsts and two seconds - on the offensive line. Only Tunsil started Monday night.

Fresh mistakes

They traded Jadeveon Clowney for nothing, weakening their defense, when they could have kept him another year. That is a mistake they will have to clean up next. Then on Tuesday they paid Nick Martin - a below average center - like a Pro Bowler. Don't be surprised if they Colvin that one in a year or two. They could have easily used the Martin money on Clowney. Instead they double down on less than ediocrity.

What does it all mean?

Deshaun Watson covers a lot of mistakes. But at some point, the Texans have to stop making them, and start making good calls. Maybe Bradley Roby works out. Maybe Johnson improves and is a factor by season's end. Maybe Titus Howard and Max Sharping become quality OL starters before the year is out. Those are realistic possibilities.

But what if they are mistakes, too? Watson can only carry them so far. As Bill O'Brien has become the be all, end all, he has erased past errors. Most of them are his own. So can his current moves be trusted?

I have mentioned this before, but this is very much like Chip Kelly's tenure in Philadelphia, when he took over personnel and made one misstep after another. At least when he was fired, they got a real GM and head coach and won a Super Bowl.

Watson should carry them to a winning season and a possible playoff berth, but if not, the mistakes will only be more glaring. And if O'Brien keeps making them? More of Watson's prime will be wasted.

O'Brien keeps making moves and trying to eliminate his missteps. And owner Cal McNair is giving him free reign. But are they making even more mistakes in the process?

We will find out soon enough.

Saints 34, Bucs 17

Saints vs. Bucs 2: Good, bad and ugly

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The Saints got back in the win column by dominating a lesser talented division rival this week. Here's what I thought of the Saints' move to 8-2:

The Good

-Michael Thomas and Drew Brees are perhaps the most prolific quarterback-wide receiver duo in the league. Brees was 28/35 for 228 yards and three touchdowns, while Thomas had eight catches for 114 yards and a touchdown. Thomas is still leading the league in receptions and yards, despite Brees missing a chunk of the season.

-The defense came up big depite giving up over 300 yards. They had two sacks, four interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), and limited the Bucs to only 36 yards rushing. After last week's performance against the Falcons, it was important for the defense to step up.

-Sean Payton made a concerted effort to get Alvin Kamara the ball. Whether it was rushing, receiving, or on returns, Kamara was heavily involved in the gameplan. 26 total touches for 155 yards altogether.

The Bad

-Giving up 313 yards passing to Jameis Winston and the Bucs was terrible. Sure Marson Lattimore was out this game, but this defense has too much talent to give up that many yards through the air.

-Speaking of giving up passing yards, Cameron Brate had 10 catches for 73 yards. Tight ends haven't really been a problem for the Saints, but it was today. Moving forward, they need to do better about giving up the easy stuff underneath, especially to tight ends.

-The longest run recorded was a 14-yarder by Kamara. The team only totaled 109 yards on the ground, which is uncharacteristic of them since they committed to the run more a few years ago. They are used to averaging upwards of 130 yards a game on the ground.

The Ugly

-I think it may be time to invest high picks on linebackers. The current linebackers on the roster are pretty good, but the only real playmaker is Demario Davis, who's already 30. Where's the young playmakers at linebacker? There are none. Hopefully Alex Anzalone can turn into something.

-As I mentioned earlier, Marshon Lattimore missed this game. Some of the guys that filled in lately, such as CJ Gardner-Johnson, have done an okay job at best. There's no replacing one of the better young cover corners in the game. Gardner-Johnson had a couple rookie mistakes, but looks like he'll be a player, just not yet.

-Speaking of young guys needing to step up, I sure hope Marcus Davenport removes himself from the back of the milk carton soon! When a team gives up the type of draft capital the Saints did to draft you, you have to produce. Far too often Davenport has been a no show in the stat column and on film. Two first round picks and a mid rounder were used to get him and he's so far playing like a fourth rounder.

Last week, the Saints were outplayed by a then 1-7 division rival. This week, they decided to dominate a 2-7 division rival. Brees and the gang returned to form against the Bucs and have a firm grip on the NFC South thanks to the Falcons dismantling of the Panthers, who the Saints play next week. If they win next week, they can wrap up the division crown and start taking aim at a first round bye in the playoffs. Here's to consistency and health down the stretch.

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