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.

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After splitting the first two games of the series, including the extra-inning affair on Saturday, the Astros looked to defeat the Angels on Saturday to secure the series win and leave Los Angeles with a winning record. On the mound were two pitchers looking to shrug off bad debuts to the season. Here is how the game went on Sunday afternoon:

Final Score (11 innings): Astros 6, Angels 5.

Record: 5-4, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Blake Taylor (1-0, 0.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Jacob Barnes (0-2, 3.86 ERA).

James walks his way into trouble

After a disastrous start to his pitching season where he was unable to record an out, Shohei Ohtani was able to sit down the Astros 1-2-3 on just eight pitches in the top of the first. However, Houston would take advantage of his struggling command in the top of the second, working three straight walks to load the bases with no outs. They then would get two more walks with two outs to grab an early 2-0 lead and end Ohtani's day early yet again.

Meanwhile, on the mound for Houston was Josh James. He, too, allowed some walks but was able to work around them in the first two innings, erasing two in the bottom of the first and one in the second for two scoreless innings.

That changed in the third when he would walk the bases loaded with two outs before Albert Pujols continued his nearly twenty-year reign of being a thorn in Houston's side, hitting a grand slam, Los Angeles' first hit of the day, to put the Angels up 4-2. James would get the final out of the third, but that would conclude his day, making it two straight starts he would be unable to reach the fourth inning. His final line: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 6 BB, 4K, 1 HR.

Valdez impresses as Bregman makes it a one-run game in the seventh

Framber Valdez was first out of Houston' bullpen, likely to try and eat up several innings. He would accomplish that mission, getting through the next three innings scoreless, holding the 4-2 score. It remained locked on that score despite Houston getting runners on base in each of those innings, as they would struggle to turn players on base into runs yet again in this series.

Alex Bregman gave the Astros a spark in the top of the seventh, leading off the inning with a solo home run to straightaway center to make it a one-run game. Valdez returned for yet another inning, another scoreless frame to keep it 4-3 going to the eighth.

Reddick ties it in the ninth, Astros win in extras

Houston would threaten to tie in the top of the eighth, getting a pinch-hitting Carlos Correa to third base after a single to leadoff the inning, but would be unable to score him, leaving it at 4-3. Valdez would record another scoreless inning in the bottom of the eighth, giving the Astros one more chance to tie or go ahead in the top of the ninth.

Michael Brantley led off the inning with a double and was pinch-run by Myles Straw, who would score the tying run on an RBI-single by Josh Reddick, but the Angels would hold the Astros there. Valdez remained in the game trying to push extra innings and would do so, erasing a leadoff walk.

Kyle Tucker started the top of the tenth on second base and moved to third on a sac fly by Carlos Correa to start the inning before scoring on another sac fly, this time from pinch-hitting Garrett Stubbs to give Houston a 5-4 lead. Valdez, well above his comfortable pitch count, was still on the mound in the bottom of the tenth, and allowed his first run, though unearned, on a leadoff RBI-single to tie the game again at 5-5. He would get one more out before Houston moved to another reliever, bringing in Andre Scrubb.

After an intentional walk to Albert Pujols, Scrubb would walk the bases loaded before getting a popout, then Houston would turn to Blake Taylor. Taylor would come through, getting a big strikeout to send the game to the eleventh. Springer started on second in the top of the inning and would score and put the Astros back in front on a one-out RBI-single by Alex Bregman. In the bottom half, Taylor would get through the inning, giving Houston the win and series victory.

Up Next: The Astros will have a day off tomorrow before picking up a three-game set with the Diamondbacks in Arizona on Tuesday. The opening game of that series will be at 8:10 PM Central. While Arizona is expected to start Madison Bumgarner, the Astros will have to pivot as they had Framber Valdez slated for that start, who made a lengthy appearance out of the bullpen on Sunday.

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