CODY STOOTS

Texans Monday: 3 headlines, 2 questions, 1 bet

The Texans have not had a plan at tackle since trading Duane Brown. Tim Warner/Getty Images

It's Monday so as always I have three headlines, two questions, and one bet for you to get your week started. 

"It Starts With Me"

You guessed it, Bill O'Brien on the poor play points to himself. I'm not sure what else he can say at this point and if you put penalties and the lack of discipline that allows them it is on O'Brien. The shaky offense, it is on O'Brien. 

"We've been beating ourselves too much," O'Brien said. Most notably the difference is red zone failures. The Texans were amazing with Watson last year in the red area but this year has been atrocious. Too many negative plays turning touchdowns into field goals has doomed this team each week. The Texans are 28th in red zone scoring percentages when it comes to touchdowns. 

"We're Definitely Looking at That Position"

Bill O'Brien didn't mince words when he was asked about Julién Davenport's play. The head coach said Davenport is struggling and the team has to work with him to keep getting better but then added the above quote. 

Davenport finds himself under fire after another shaky performance on the right side of the offensive line. Five different times the flag was thrown with Davenport as the culprit. He has looked mismatched and out of sorts playing right tackle. He was playing there after Seantrell Henderson was lost for the season in the team's opener and Martinas Rankin came in to play left tackle. Rankin has not been without his warts either. There was one play yesterday he was flat deposited on his behind by the Giants defender. 

Kendall Lamm and Roderick Johnson are the team's backup tackles for now so it should be Davenport and Rankin unless something changes on the roster. 

The Texans Have Beaten Someone: Themselves

Tyrann Mathieu said it best. 

"We can watch the tape and say we’ve beaten ourselves three games in a row," he said. He's absolutely right about that. From penalties to a lack of cohesion the Texans have had very little spurts of play that compliments each other. The defense has been decent in the second half but bad in the first half. The offense, the opposite. Playing a complete game in the NFL is rare, each week there is an issue somewhere. The Texans haven't even played a complete half. Just everything is out of synch. 

Mathieu said leadership and practice are necessary to pull this team out the rut they're currently in. 

Keke, can you to play?

Texans wide receiver Keke Coutee is a fourth-round draft pick and has yet to appear in a game, be it preseason or regular season. He's been on the injury report with a hamstring injury and has yet to even be active for a regular season game. 

He said today the leg is way better and he's very confident in it and the treatment he has been going through to get back to playing. He said he expects to be rusty and the rustiness is more of the reason he hasn't been playing. He said he is "very close."

It's time to see what he's made of in the NFL. Bruce Ellington went down in the game Sunday early and the Texans lacked a slot presence from that moment on. Coutee was a dynamic playmaker at Texas Tech and had some solid practices in the preseason. Even if Ellington is back, which with a hamstring is tricky, Coutee should finally be active. 

Bill O'Brien has had some weird interactions with rookies in the past, especially at wideout with the likes of Jaelen Strong, but it is time to see if Coutee can help this team win football games. 

Who is going to play cornerback going forward and how well?

Aaron Colvin and Johnathan Joseph are the first two answers to this question. Colvin is a unique situation. He was an amazing slot corner for the Jaguars when A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey were patrolling the outside. He's been pretty good in the slot but has overall not been the standout many, myself included, expected he would be. He is best suited to play on the inside. That leaves the other outside spot vacant. There's really only two options for that spot and both present their own troubles. Shareece Wright is brand new to the team but was pressed into action this week. Kayvon Webster is still recovering from an Achilles injury that ended his season last year. Neither are spectacular options but they have at least been in the building and worked on the system. Whichever one gets the shot opposite Joseph the other, assuming Webster gets healthy soon, will have to hold his own to keep his snaps. Kevin Johnson isn't returning anytime soon so there's an opportunity for Wright and Webster and hopefully not the opportunity for opposing quarterbacks. 

I bet the Texans regret how things have played out at tackle the past few years

 In 2016 the Texans had a solid tackle combo with Duane Brown and Derek Newton. By the end of the season, Newton was hurt and Brown didn't like his pay or playing for the team. Newton never bounced back and was attempted to be replaced by Chris Clark, Breno Giacomini, Seantrell Henderson, and Davenport. While not great, Newton was serviceable and on his second contract. There have been attempts, a few tackles have ended up on the Texans radar but signed elsewhere, but no success in replacing Newton with a proven asset. As far as Brown, it seems Davenport was drafted with the idea of replacing Brown but when he sat out and was then traded Davenport, a project, wasn't ready. The Texans could argue trading Brown was necessary for the locker room and draft pick it recouped but I could argue he was necessary to winning and should've been paid. Now the total investment in the tackle spot for the Texans is a third-round pick, a fourth-round pick, a fifth-round pick on his second team (Roderick Johnson), and undrafted free agent Kendall Lamm. That has to be near the bottom of the league in terms of investment.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Composite photo by Jack Brame

Former Astros manager Andrew Jay Hinch is on a short list of candidates to become manager of the Detroit Tigers in 2021.

The question is, after being suspended and later fired for his role in the Astros sign-stealing scandal, does A.J. Hinch deserve to manage again in baseball?

It's weird to think because so much has happened in 2020, but Hinch was suspended and fired only nine months ago. His banishment, however, ends in a matter of weeks with the final out of the upcoming World Series. At that point, he will be available to manage the Tigers or any other team. There's a possibility that the Mets are interested. Some were hoping it'd be the Astros, but the Astros are committed to manager Dusty Baker for next year. After that … never say never.

Shortly after getting the Astros ax, Hinch went on MLB TV and apologized for his role in the Astros cheating scandal. Although baseball's investigation said the garbage can banging scheme was "with the exception of (Astros coach Alex) Cora, player-driven and player-executed," Hinch took responsibility as manager and didn't challenge his punishment. No players were punished.

"I still feel responsible and will always feel responsible as the man out front," Hinch said. "As the leader, I was in charge of the team. I put out a statement to apologize. But there is something different to doing it on camera and putting a face to an apology, and saying I'm sorry to the league, to baseball, to fans, to players, to the coaches.

"It happened on my watch. I'm not proud of that. I'll never be proud of it. I didn't like it. But I have to own it. And the commissioner's office made very, very clear that the GM and the manager were in position to make sure that nothing like this happened. And we fell short."

In effect, while Hinch didn't authorize or participate in the sign-stealing scandal, he didn't do enough (really anything) to stop it. He is the rare case of being a guilty bystander.

To be clear, Hinch has not been offered the Detroit manager job. However, he has more experience and more wins under his belt than most of the other candidates being considered.

Hinch's reputation is blemished, but his credentials can't be disputed. During his five years as Astros manager, the team never had a losing season, won 100 or more games three times, including a team record 107 wins last year, made the playoffs three times and won a World Series.

Has baseball forgiven Hinch, and does he deserve another chance to manage in the big leagues? This is America, the land of forgiveness and second chances.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."

Hinch knew his team was cheating and didn't do enough to stop it. There's no defense for that. But I think he's paid enough of a price to get back in baseball.

Mike Tyson raped a woman, went to jail, and now he's practically America's sweetheart. Hillary forgave Bill. We not only forgave Confederate leaders, we built schools and statues to honor them. Martha Stewart went to jail for insider trading, now she's back on TV baking crumpets. Ozzy Osbourne was arrested for pee'ing on a monument outside the Alamo, there is no more sacred place in Texas, and now he sells out concerts at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

Pee-wee Herman, well, let's not say what he was caught doing, but he's planning to tour the U.S. celebrating the 35th anniversary of Pee-wee's Big Adventure movie.

Remember, Hinch was suspended for a year. It could have been worse. Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has the power to ban people for life. Since becoming the commish, Manfred has permanently banished two people: former St. Louis Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa for hacking into the Astros computer database, and former Atlanta Braves general manager, John Coppolella for signing international players illegally.

Manfred also has temporarily banned Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman for shouting inappropriate comments at female reporters last year. Taubman is eligible to apply for reinstatement after this year's World Series. However, if he commits one more violation of baseball rules, he will be banned for life.

Lifetime bans aren't as unusual as you might think. Since baseball's beginnings in the 1800s, dozens of players, managers and team owners have been banned, mostly, like Pete Rose and the Chicago Black Sox, for gambling-related offenses.

A.J. Hinch copped to his crime, suffered the consequences, now it's time for him to manage a baseball team again. It's not like he'd be landing a plum job with Detroit. The Tigers are out of this year's playoff picture. They lost 114 games last season. And were 64-98 the two years prior. Managing the Tigers will be punishment enough.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome