The Pallilog

Texans still have work to do, right move for Oliver and Rockets-Warriors

Tytus Howard out of Alabama State could develop into a tremendous offensive tackle who protects Deshaun Watson for the next decade. He probably won't but he certainly could. If Howard is a good, dependable starting tackle he's a good pick. He went 23rd overall not third. It's still difficult to not think that Texans' General Manager Brian Gaine got beaten to the punch for his first first round selection, and was forced to some extent, settle. To my knowledge, no one credible thinks Howard is the tackle prospect that Andre Dillard is. The Texans had been regularly linked to Dillard. The Eagles paid a modest price of fourth and sixth round picks to trade up three spots and select Dillard immediately before the Texans went on the clock.

The Texans aren't thinking they got a stud o-lineman from Nick Saban's Crimson Tide, right?

With two second round picks and one third rounder, the Texans absolutely should be thinking another offensive lineman and a cornerback for two of those selections. With the other pick "best player available" expanding to running backs to complement/challenge/succeed Lamar Miller, wide receivers to give depth beyond the fragile Will Fuller and Keke Coutee, and a pass rusher since J.J. Watt is 30, Jadeveon Clowney's future is up in the air, and Whitney Mercilus enters the last year of his contract having produced just five sacks in 21 games over the last two seasons.

Oliver to the Bills

Only silly people criticized Ed Oliver for not playing in the University of Houston's bowl game. Playing would have entailed only risk, no reward. Especially for a guy whose final UH season was disrupted by a knee injury. Oliver's decision needed no validation, but going number nine in the draft to Buffalo made for a very good Thursday night for him. The ninth pick last year (o-lineman Mike McGlinchey to the 49ers) signed a guaranteed four year contract worth more than $18 million dollars.

Oliver is just the sixth UH Cougar to go in the top 10 overall. Of the prior five, Riley Odoms is the only one to start an NFL game after he turned 28 years old. Those who didn't: Mack Mitchell, Wilson Whitley, Andre Ware, and David Klingler.

​Finally, Rockets-Warriors

Unless the Golden State Warriors complete an epic collapse we will get the long anticipated Rockets-Warriors rematch. The champs are clearly vulnerable having lost two home games already to the Clippers. If the Warriors close out in six they face a quick turnaround to game one with the Rockets Sunday afternoon in Oakland. If the Clippers force the two-time defending champs to a Game 7 the Rockets would have time to kill until Tuesday. If somehow the Clippers win the series the Rockets would get homecourt advantage for round two.

With loads of respect to the Clippers pushing things this far, Rockets-Warriors remains the desired marquis attraction. It should be a tremendous series. It better be a tremendous series, because other than one incredible game and shot from Damian Lillard, the first round of the NBA playoffs has generally been awful.

On paper it still sets up as advantage Warriors. If both teams play their best ball, Golden State simply has more top end talent, with the tipping point player being Kevin Durant. James Harden didn't have a great series vs. Utah (37.4 percent field goal shooting stinks) but as a player he's better than he's ever been, and he'll have to be because Chris Paul isn't. In boxing terms, and probably basketball terms, as a tandem Harden and Paul have to outpoint Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

Eric Gordon probably needs to be outstanding. He's not remotely of Durant's caliber but needs to score well, and likely is the primary defender on Thompson, with Harden hidden on Bogut, Andre Iguodala, or Draymond Green.

The injury loss of DeMarcus Cousins takes away one very potent Golden State option, which makes life easier for Clint Capela. But having brought back Andrew Bogut was a shrewd Warrior moves. He's not an offensive threat, but Bogut is a better and smarter defender than Cousins.

Along with the historic ramifications of winning a third straight title and fourth in five years, before moving across the Bay to their billion dollar playpen palace in San Francisco next season, the Warriors want to finish their Oakland era with one last title at Oracle Arena. The Rockets would so love to be the detonator that demolishes Oracle a few weeks early. All dynasties end. I just don't think this one does quite yet.

Buzzer Beaters

1. John Havlicek died Thursday at 79. An acknowledged all-time great, eight time NBA champion, but I think underappreciated as more time passed. 2. The Rockets have zero reason to regret trading for Chris Paul, but given the circumstances the Clippers did great in getting Pat Beverley, Lou Williams, and Montrezl Harrell. 3. Best Paul/Harden insurance commercials: Bronze-Clutch Fires Away Silver-The Bot Gold-The Microwave

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Another tough loss for the Texans. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans started fast but faltered late as the New York Jets hand Houston their ninth loss of the season 21-14. Here are 11 observations from the game.

1. Starting safety Justin Reid was benched for the game. David Culley said after the game it was his decision as head coach and he would keep the matter internal with Reid.

2. This is the third defender benched for disciplinary reasons this season. Reid joins Zach Cunningham and Desmond King as players who missed time for discipline.

3. Justin Reid told Fox 26 he was benched because he had a disagreement with the coaching staff. He also said he was shocked the Texans benched him. You have to wonder if the “culture” the team is building is right when one of the more likable and personable players falls victim to their rules. Reid, who is a free agent this offseason, could leave the Texans.

4. Tyrod Taylor had a couple of nice plays early on for the Texans. His willingness to take some shots downfield was refreshing and led to a touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks.

5. Rookie tight end Brevin Jordan found the end zone. He has played well in recent weeks after finally getting on the field. Jordan is playing over Jordan Akins as Akins was a healthy scratch again this week.

6. Tytus Howard started at left tackle with mixed results. Howard has struggled to find his way at guard but could be a long-term option at tackle if given the chance.

7. The offensive line overall played poorly after some early success. The pass rush of the Jets got going and the run blocking was poor again. Lane Taylor played at left guard some, with Max Scharping also playing some at that spot.

8. The offense was horrendous after the two scoring drives. The Texans amassed 202 net yards with 91 yards coming on those two scoring drives. Houston gained just 49 net yards after their opening three drives.

9. After the game, I asked David Culley if he would be making a change with his play-caller. Culley stood behind offensive coordinator Tim Kelly and said he would remain the team’s play-caller.

10. Second-year defensive lineman Ross Blacklock had two horrible errors that handed the Jets a chance to turn three points into seven points. Blacklock got a personal foul on a field goal attempt giving the Jets a first down. The very next play his offsides penalty erased a sack. Each week Blacklock falls even more behind a bevy of players drafted after him who contribute positively on a regular basis.

11. The loss to another bottom-dweller has the Texans back in the second spot in the 2022 NFL Draft order. It also feels like the deflating nature of this loss erased some of the good feelings after the victory over the Titans. The Indianapolis Colts come to Houston next week to begin December’s portion of the schedule.

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