FALCON POINTS

The 5 most likable active athletes in Houston sports

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

When it comes to current athletes in Houston, there is no shortage of likable ones. Yes, the Astros cheating scandal did tarnish a few, but there are still some Astros who are easy to root for. There are also great players like James Harden, but he is a polarizing person. Some fans love him, some just can't root for him. The ones on this list are not only great at their sports, but they make an impact on their community. These are my five favorites based on that criteria. There are certainly many others who could have made this list, but when you limit it to five...

5) Lance McCullers, Astros pitcher: It's easy to forget about McCullers, who missed last season after Tommy John surgery. But he was a key contributor on the 2017 championship team, and had ace stuff before the surgery. It's possible his best years are ahead of him. Off the field, he and wife Kara have long been supporters of stray and homeless animals through the Lance McCullers Foundation. McCullers is active on social media and simply a really likable dude.

4) Carlos Correa, Astros shortstop: Correa has not quite reached the superstar level predicted for him, but he has still been very good, and he is young enough to still reach those heights. He was one of the few Astros to come off as open and honest after the cheating scandal, and he has been instrumental in raising money for Puerto Rico as well as Houston. He has helped distribute beds for children in the city of Houston with Texas Mattress Makers.

3) George Springer, Astros outfielder: Yes, the Astros dominate this list. Springer has been a terrific player, but he has also been an inspiration for stutterers as one himself. He donated money to Astros employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like the other two, unless you just hate cheaters, Springer is hard to root against.

2) Derrick Lewis, UFC heavyweight: The 35-year-old "Black Beast" is one of the best heavyweights in the UFC, an exciting fighter who is worth every pay per view penny. He is also charismatic, a terrific interview and an easy guy to like. He also went out after Harvey and pulled an estimated 100 people out of the water with his elevated truck. It's almost impossible not to root for this guy.

1) J.J. Watt, Texans: In a lot of people's minds, Watt can do no wrong in Houston. He has been the best player in franchise history, and his amazing efforts after Harvey were the stuff of legends. His wife, Kealia Ohai Watt, is also a popular athlete, although she no longer plays in the city. Still, they make for a sports power couple. Yes, Watt can occasionally come off the wrong way, and injuries have slowed him in recent years, but in general, he has been one of the highest profile athletes in Houston history and has made unprecedented impacts both on and off the field.

HONORABLE MENTION

Just missing out on this list, in order, are Jose Altuve, Justin Verlander, Simone Biles, Deshaun Watson, Russel Westbrook.

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Another tough loss for Houston. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans lost again as their road game ineptitude continues. Former Texans stars DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt helped the Cardinals to the 31-5 victory.

1. The lack of talent is getting exposed earlier and earlier each week. The Texans have seen games slip away faster and faster from them each week. The team is overmatched almost everywhere.

2. Penalties remain a problem for the Texans. It seems like clockwork the team gets an illegal motion or illegal formation each week. Jordan Akins torpedoed a drive with a chop block. Max Scharping erased a positive play with a hold.

3. Davis Mills had some solid moments, but again, this team isn't good. It is hard to assess Mills with this team. He's making quicker decisions but he doesn't have the time or the players to make big plays.

4. The offensive line stinks. The interior of the line is still a mess and with Laremy Tunsil down the edges find themselves shaky as well. The running backs don't block well. The blocking tight ends don't block well. It is bad football in what was supposed to be a much-improved unit.

5. Desmond King was the best returner in the preseason. The team elected to give Andre Roberts an opportunity for a few games, but with his departure, the duties went to King. King is the most successful returner the Texans have had in a long while. Yes, it is that clear after just one game.

6. Max Scharping was benched in favor of Justin McCray. McCray produced similar levels of success. Scharping was benched last year for a journey-man veteran as well. The former second-round pick isn't getting it done.

7. Speaking of former second-round picks, Lonnie Johnson had an interception. That was the highlight of his day. Otherwise, Johnson frequently has me asking "what is Lonnie Johnson doing?" The former second-round pick at cornerback has been less than impressive at safety. Johnson seems to frequently be out of position or making the wrong choice in coverage.

8. DeAndre Hopkins had a solid day against the team that traded him away. Hopkins hauled in seven catches for 53 yards and a touchdown. After he scored, Hopkins looked to bring his hands together and mimic a prayer motion. I don't anticipate this was a nod to Arian Foster but perhaps could this have been about Jack Easterby?

9. The Texans had some sacks, but little of that action came when the game was close. Jonathan Greenard added two sacks to his total. The success Greenard is having is frustrating when you consider he couldn't get on the field last season. Charles Omenihu returned to action and had some pressures for the defense.

10. During the game reports surfaced that the Panthers might be interested in trading for Deshaun Watson. It was also reported by the Houston Chronicle Watson had vetoed a trade to Philadelphia, so the Eagles will not be involved in the Watson sweepstakes. The Panthers can only trade two first-round picks. The Miami Dolphins have three first-round picks they can trade for Deshaun Watson.

11. The Texans decided on a "culture" head coach in David Culley. His team has looked lifeless on the road. While the Texans took their beating, the Lions gave it their all against a good Rams team. Detroit is winless, but they play harder and better than the Texans. It grows clearer each week "culture" is meaningless if the team can't win.

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