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.


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Houston couldn't keep up

Astros fall to Blue Jays as Toronto gets homer-happy

Houston's bats couldn't keep up with Toronto's Saturday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With an offensive clinic in the opener on Friday night, which helped them handily defeat the Blue Jays, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park Saturday with a chance to secure another series. Toronto had other plans, though, reversing roles with Houston by getting big home runs to even the series.

Final Score: Blue Jays 8, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 17-16, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Steven Matz (5-2)

Losing Pitcher: Cristian Javier (3-1)

Toronto flips the script and turns on their offense against Javier

Toronto flipped the script from the night before early in this middle game of the series, dealing damage to Cristian Javier, who so far in 2021 had been able to limit his amount of earned runs. After retiring the first four batters he faced, a one-out walk in the top of the second set up the Blue Jays' first hit of the night, a two-run home run by Cavan Biggio, giving them a 2-0 lead over Houston.

After a leadoff home run made it a 3-0 score, Javier would deal with the fallout of more walks in the top of the third, issuing two to set up a two-out two-RBI double to give the Jays a commanding 5-0 advantage. Javier would battle back and complete five full innings, getting one out into the sixth before a walk would prompt Dusty Baker to make the call to the bullpen. His final line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 2 HR, 91 P.

Alvarez keeps mashing as Houston tries to claw back into it

Javier would exit with at least some runs on the board in support of him, with Yordan Alvarez hitting a two-run opposite-field homer in the bottom of the fourth to cut the lead to three runs. Alvarez accounted for another run in the next inning, coming through with an RBI-single to make it 5-3, which is where the game stood as Andre Scrubb would take over in the top of the sixth.

Scrubb finished that inning for Javier and returned for a 1-2-3 seventh to keep it a two-run game. Bryan Abreu was the next reliever, and he, too, was able to retire the Blue Jays in order in the top of the eighth. The Astros continued to chip away at Toronto's lead, getting another run in the bottom of the inning on an RBI by Yuli Gurriel to make it 5-4 heading to the ninth.

Toronto evens the series

Brooks Raley entered to try and keep it a one-run game with a clean inning, but instead, two runners would reach on a walk and error before Joe Smith would enter to try and strand them. Instead, a two-out home run put the game back out of reach at 8-4, with Houston coming up empty in the bottom of the inning, setting up a rubber match in the finale.

Up Next: This series's third and final game will be an afternoon start of 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Zack Greinke (2-1, 3.76 ERA) will try to add more wins to his record for Houston, while Nate Pearson will be making his 2021 debut for Toronto.

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