And some thoughts on the debacle in Dallas.

The most WTF moments of the Texans offseason

Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

It's a good thing that preseason games don't matter. Because I'm STILL shaking off Saturday's Texans - Cowboys match, not to mention the hangover it spawned.

It only took about 8:02 for me to bust out the scotch, wait, just kidding you know I'm a White Claw boi check out entirely on that Dallas disaster:

  • Deshaun Watson got sacked on the Texans first offensive play
  • Lamar Miller tore his ACL the next play
  • Watson was sacked AGAIN on play 3, fumbling this time
  • ...on a play where Nick Martin was holding, no less
  • The Cowboys marched down the field for a quick touchdown...
  • ...helped by a missed Whitney Mercilus sack
  • ...allowing Dallas to score on third and goal from the 12
  • The Texans put in Joe Webb for drive 2, likely out of fear
  • Julien Davenport - who was starting at left tackle for some reason - got called for holding
  • ...As did Martin again...
  • Before former 12th man (cult) Cullen Gillaspia missed a block in punt protection
  • ...which led to a blocked punt...
  • ...that the Cowboys scored on
If you happened to DVR the game and are still waiting for a chance to sit down and hate watch something, spare yourself the thrown remote. Just watch this.

Saturday's loss was a chunk of nether-hair on top of a Texans dried out brisket-esque offseason...

"Like you know a damn thing about brisket PAWL, you carpetbagging cartoon."

...and now, the said offseason has MERCIFULLY finished (after gallons of water/alcohol). How did we get here?

-PS: Preseason game 4s can go straight to hell.

- PPS: "PAWL, technically it's not done until we know what's going on with Clowney..."

Cancelling Kareem Jackson

Any time you've got a player who...

  • Has been in the building for 9 years
  • Is coming off the best season of his career (while playing safety)
  • Can provide added versatility as an extra cornerback should injuries happen
  • Is one of the best tackling defensive backs in the NFL sure to make absolutely no contact with him during free agency and let him walk. Instead, focus your attention on the player who had a very average season and probably played more effective defense on social media.

A Lot Of Cap Space, But A Lot Of Nothing In Free Agency

...outside of signing tackle Matt Kalil, THE 4th overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft!

Though to be fair, they took a shot on cornerback Bradley Roby, signing the former first round pick to a one year prove it deal. He's looked good in the preseason thus far.

The Texans had A LOT of obvious needs going into free agency. The offensive line has been a major weakness with little experience FOR YEARS. The corner group features a 35 year old (Johnathan Joseph) and a former first round pick that didn't get a second contract from the team that picked him (Roby) as its two top corners. And they could have used some running back depth. You'd have thought with those holes and TONS of cap space (per Over The Cap, the second most in the league) that the Texans would have aggressively pursued experienced players.

But Bill O'Brien and company clearly don't (or didn't, more on that later) view things that way given their lack of activity in free agency. For a team that still has its quarterback on a rookie contract and two of the league's best players - DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt - in their primes, it was a confusing approach.

The Musical Chairs At Offensive Line

I don't want to be mean about Matt Kalil. But...


...You'll be hard pressed to find anything that indicates he can/could protect a franchise QB. For that reason alone, I can't buy into Bill O'Brien naming him as starter last week.

On top of that, I'm STILL trying to figure out why the Texans gave Julien Davenport ANY reps with the first team unit Saturday night. Especially with how Roderick Johnson had played the week before. I know that O'Brien said he wanted to give Davenport reps with the 1s. But do you really want him protecting Deshaun Watson? Or Lamar Miller?

Other confusing things concerning the Texans O-Line this offseason:

  • Should Nick Martin - a former second round pick - still be the starter at center? He seems to have regressed...
  • I dislike when the Texans move young linemen back and forth from position to position in the pursuit of "versatility." Tytus Howard already had his work cut out for him going from playing at Alabama St. to the NFL. And now, you're asking him to slide back and forth between left tackle and left guard? Didn't you try musical chairs with Xavier Su'A Filo already?
  • If the Texans truly liked Washington State tackle Andre Dillard, they should have traded up to get him in the draft. It only took the Eagles a first round swap, a 4th and a 6th to move up 3 spots (in front of the Texans) to get him. They'd have a left tackle of the future. I'm not upset about the idea of Howard at guard.

The Firing Of Brian Gaine

I'm still confused as to why the Texans fired a guy after his second draft. Especially when his first draft - a draft without a 1st or 2nd rounder - featured several rookies that actually contributed:

  • Justin Reid
  • Jordan Akins
  • Keke Coutee
  • Duke Ejiofor
  • Jordan Thomas
In my mind, there's only one acceptable reason to fire Gaine: a lack of urgency in free agency. The last two offseasons featured two big name offensive tackles - Nate Solder and Trent Brown - that the Texans were interested in but unable to sign. The only noteworthy move of his tenure? Last year's one year deal for Mathieu, which got mediocre returns. Maybe Roby will be that guy.

There were some reports that Gaine and O'Brien disagreed on Clowney's future. Gaine wanted him long term, and O'Brien didn't. But our next offseason check point is probably why the Texans are now a "flat organization," whatever that means...

The Attempted Hiring Of Nick Caserio

The Texans likely got rid of Gaine because they thought they'd be able to hire Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio, who has worked for the Patriots since 2001. The timeline adds up. Texans Executive Vice President of Team Development Jack Easterby (the former Patriots team development director / character coach who joined the Texans in April) attended the Patriots Super Bowl ring ceremony in June (along with Caserio). The Texans fired Brian Gaine the next day. Of COURSE they wanted the guy. And seeing as he's been with the organization for all 6 Super Bowl victories and 9 appearances this century, why shouldn't they pursue him?

Unfortunately, they didn't do their homework. Caserio allegedly has a clause in his contract that prevents him from leaving the Patriots. And because of that, the Patriots filed anti-tampering charges. The Texans backed off, announced that Easterby, Matt Bazirgan, James Liipfert, and Chris Olsen would divvy up the GM role, and started using the phrase "flat organization" to describe themselves.

This G.M. Democracy might be able to hold it together for the next season. And the Texans might be able to bring Caserio in house for 2020. But the process to get there has been a Walk of Shame.

A Series Of Jadeveon Clowney Rumors

Let's just list them:

It's been tiring. But there has always been something to the rumors. Those original quotes from King sound all too familiar some of the things that I've talked about with my own ravens.

If the Texans trade Clowney...

  • They're punting on the 2019 season. This team needs the best pass rush possible with all the elite quarterbacks it'll face this season.
  • They're unlikely to get full value in return for him since he can't immediately be signed to an extension

Lamar Miller's Season Ending Knee Injury

Say what you want about Lamar Miller's tenure in Houston:

  • That the Texans ran him in between the tackles too much...
  • ...gave him too many carries compared to his time in Miami
  • ...Didn't pass him the ball enough
  • That he never was the gamechanger they hoped he could be
...but the Texans will SORELY miss him this season. With Alfred Blue gone to Jacksonville and D'Onta Foreman waived, Houston will have an entirely new backfield behind a yet to be determined O-Line in 2019. That's an awful lot of unfamiliarity to head into a season with.
I like Duke Johnson, especially his pass catching ability. But he's not an every down running back. He's a smaller third down type of back who has carried the ball 10 + times (in a game) just 4 times in 4 NFL seasons. Taiwan Jones and Buddy Howell seem like nothing more than special teams players, while undrafted free agents Damarea Crockett and Karan Higdon hardly move the needle. Here's hoping that the Texans can find a back with actual NFL experience when teams make their final preseason cutdowns.

I see all this offseason drama, and can only come to one conclusion. Though they have a loaded passing offense, the Texans will be hard pressed to scrap out a 6-10 season this year. They play too many good quarterbacks and have too many holes to overcome all these WTF moments above.

Paul Gallant hosts the "Gallant Says" podcast (Tuesdays & Fridays), "Just Sayin'", Friday nights at 10:30 on Kube 57, and contributes to SB Nation Radio. Have any questions? Get after him on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.


6 Houston fried chicken sandwiches better than Popeyes or Chick-fil-A


Ranking the AFC South head coaches

Fred Faour

Astros roundup: September callups, closing in on 100 wins, and more

Chris Campise




ESPN Houston 97.5 FM

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images.

After a "qualifying round" of playoffs, the actual Stanley Cup playoffs are here. In a weird hockey world that saw two 12 seeds win in round one and the team with the best record in the Eastern Conference finish last in the round robin and get a four seed, things appear wide open. The lower seeds may actually have a bit of an advantage at the beginning of these series, as they have already gone through an actual elimination round, while the top four seeds played a less intense round robin. As teams still adjust to a long layoff, more upsets could be in order. It should be fun. Here is a look at the matchups:


Philadelphia Flyers (1) vs. Montreal Canadiens (8)

The Flyers were dominant in the round-robin phase and look very much like a team that can make a deep run. Montreal was the lowest seed in the qualifying tournament, but stunned Pittsburgh, and were the better team throughout the series. Philly, however, is playing much better hockey than their Pennsylvania counterparts. The Canadiens will need a big effort from goalie Carey Price, who is capable of stealing games. Young Flyers goalie Carter Hart was outstanding in the two round-robin games he played and is an emerging star. Philly has more talent, but a goalie like Price can win a series.

Prediction: Flyers in 5.

Tampa Bay Lightning (2) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (7)

Tampa is as talented a group as you will find in the NHL. They have depth on all lines, terrific defensemen and an elite goalie. Yet they have a checkered playoff past. Last season, they were dominant in the regular season and looked like a Cup lock. They were promptly swept out of the first round by the Jackets. Columbus outplayed a similarly talented team in Toronto in round one and are a tough matchup. Can the Lightning be struck down twice? Absolutely.

Prediction: Jackets in 7.

Washington Capitals (3) vs. New York Islanders (6)

The Caps still have Alex Ovechkin and a recent Stanley Cup, and have to be considered a contender against whoever they play. But the Isles play terrific defense, grind you down and get just enough scoring to win games. Plus they have the coach who won the Cup with the Caps, Barry Trotz, which gives them another edge. The Isles are a long shot Cup contender and could pull off the upset.

Prediction: Islanders in 7.

Boston Bruins (4) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (5)

The Bruins were the best team in the league in the regular season, but played flat in the round robin, winding up with a fourth seed. It seems a little unfair that they dominated all year but three games determined their fate, but that's life. By now they should have figured things out again and should be able to advance. They are a tricky team, because if they play as poorly as they did last week, Carolina could knock them out. But the Bruins should get better the deeper they get in the playoffs. The Hurricanes have a rising star in Andrei Svechnikov, who had a hat trick in the first round against the Rangers. The Bruins, however, are deeper, more talented and have the more tested and reliable goalie in Tukka Rask.

Prediction: Bruins in 5.


Las Vegas Golden Knights (1) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (8)

The Golden Knights were impressive in the round-robin, and looked like they did not miss a beat from the break. They were on a 8-2 run before the Rona interruption and swept the three seeding games since. But the Blackhawks are a scary matchup. They dominated Edmonton in the play-in round, winning 3-1 despite being the last team to qualify. They are young and shaky on defense, but still have proven Cup winners like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Corey Crawford. It would be foolish to count them out, but the Oilers were a much better matchup for the Hawks. If Crawford dominates in net, they have a fighting chance. But the Knights are on a different level right now.

Prediction: Las Vegas in 6.

Colorado Avalanche (2) vs. Arizona Coyotes (7)

This might be one of the more intriguing matchups of this round. The Avs look like a Cup contender, and Nathan MacKinnon is an MVP candidate and might be one of the most underappreciated superstars in the league. The Coyotes, however, are going to be a tough out. Goalie Darcy Kempner faced a ton of shots against the Predators and held up well. He will have to do the same here. Taylor Hall and Phil Kessel provide top end forward play, and Arizona matches up OK here. The Avs should win, but don't be shocked if they are pushed hard.

Prediction: Avs in 6.

Dallas Stars (3) vs. Calgary Flames (6)

Dallas is an interesting team. The Stars have Stanley Cup-level talent, but they struggle to score at times, which could be a problem in a seven-game series. They play strong D and have great goaltending, but have issues with quicker teams, which bodes well for Calgary. The Flames are also a bit of an enigma, but they seem built for the playoffs. They have two young American-born stars in Johnny Gaudreu and Matthew Tkachuk, solid depth up front and on the back end and can hold their own with most teams. Cam Talbot is the key, however. If he can consistently man the goal the way he did in the series win over Winnipeg, they have a big shot. He finished off the series with a 31-save shutout.

Prediction: Flames in 7.

St. Louis Blues (4) vs. Vancouver Canucks (5)

The defending champs were not very good in the round-robin, hence the four seed. But it will probably work out; the Canucks are an easier matchup than what they would have faced with Calgary as a 3 seed. Vancouver is an interesting young team. Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser are two up and coming stars, but the rest of the lineup is bolstered by gritty vets. Defensemen Quinn Hughes is another young star in the making. Goalie Jacob Markstrom was solid against Minnesota, but he will need to be better in this round. The Canucks could have made a run against Dallas, but hard to see them beating the champs.

Prediction: Blues in 6.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome