And some thoughts on the debacle in Dallas.
The most WTF moments of the Texans offseason
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
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
Kareem Jackson! 😤🔨💥💥 pic.twitter.com/t3SfXNaIB9— WeAreDBnation (@WeAreDBNation1) November 5, 2018
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
A Lot Of Cap Space, But A Lot Of Nothing In Free Agency
Don’t want to sound any alarms but if Cam Newton dies this fall, suspect number one is Matt Kalil (via @CarolinaHuddle) pic.twitter.com/pRuLvs13O8— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) July 31, 2018
...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
Bill O’Brien’s entire exchange on if Matt Kalil is hurt. He is also asked if Kalil will start week one. #Texanspic.twitter.com/kinSbS2dgx— patrick (@PatDStat) August 20, 2019
I don't want to be mean about Matt Kalil. But...
Let’s once again check in on Matt Kalil pic.twitter.com/PXn5wckARB— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) August 18, 2018
Checking in on Matt Kalil. pic.twitter.com/qV1Za7GTuT— Ryan Boser (@Ryan_Boser) September 24, 2017
...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
#Texans Bill O’Brien asked numerous questions about the abrupt firing of GM Brian Gaine this was his answer everytime. @abc13houstonpic.twitter.com/3No1XYYszu— Bob Slovak (@BobSlovak13) June 11, 2019
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
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
Bill O’Brien on if the #Texans had any contact with Patriots Nick Caserio before the dismissal of Brian Gaine. pic.twitter.com/kYIBEc22lf— patrick (@PatDStat) June 12, 2019
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
Lombardi shares his expert knowledge on the building trade rumors involving Jadeveon Clowney.— VSiN (@VSiNLive) August 24, 2019
Only on the #LombardiLine with @mlombardiNFL & @TheWrapRadio Sunday-Saturday 6A-9A PT/9A-12P ET / @SIRIUSXM / @NESN / https://t.co/omBpOjPlh5pic.twitter.com/chgzynD90G
Let's just list them:
- 2/18: Peter King: Texans are not convinced he is "the worker bee" his teammates are
- 2/27: O'Brien on Clowney's work ethic: "I have nothing but good things to say about J.D."
- 2/27: Clowney turned down a long term deal from the Texans in 2018
- 2/28: Gaine: Franchise tag for Clowney "Not the priority, but it is certainly an option."
- 3/8: Jay Glazer mentions teams are looking to trade for Clowney
- 3/26: O'Brien says "I have a great fondness for Jadeveon" and that negotiations "will be interesting"
- 3/26: Gaine says the Texans are "going to work long and hard" to make sure Clowney (and Watson) are part of the long term future
- 4/18: Gaine says that a long term deal for Clowney "is the plan"
- 4/25: Charles Robinson says that the Texans put out trade feelers about Clowney
- 4/27: Clowney - when told that rookie Texans pick Charles Omenihu wore his jersey number - says "Hopefully when he gets here I'll still be here."
- 5/22: Former Texans WR Cecil Shorts says that Clowney won't report to the team until September without a new deal
- 5/24: Clowney posts this cryptic message on his Instagram story
- 7/9: Aaron Wilson says Clowney will "likely" miss "at least a major portion of camp" but isn't expected to miss games
- 7/23: Tom Pelissero says The Texans don't expect Clowney to report anytime soon, but that he'll be ready for week 1
- 7/25: O'Brien says the Texans want Clowney "unequivocally." "The sooner the better."
- 8/5: Ian Rapoport says the Texans expect Clowney to show up after the third preseason game
- 8/12: John Granato says Texans nearly traded Clowney to the Dolphins, but he refused to sign a long term contract and is now threatening to sit out the whole preseason.
- 8/12: Lance Zierlein says that the Texans will do everything in their power to move him this year
- 8/13: John McClain says he'd be surprised if Clowney isn't traded
- 8/14: O'Brien has no idea when Clowney will report, is unaware of all the trade speculation surrounding him
- 8/14: Charles Robinson: The Eagles don't think Clowney is a culture fit
- 8/14: Armando Salguero: The Dolphins won't trade for Clowney
- 8/22: Jay Glazer says 10 teams have talked to the Texans about Clowney
- 8/27: Clowney fires his agent Bus Cook
- 8/27: Aaron Wilson says the Dolphins are interested in trading for Clowney, but he'd rather go to Philly or Seattle
- 8/27: Ian Rapoport says Clowney met with Dolphins coach Brian Flores & The Dolphins
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
- THEY BETTER ACQUIRE A TACKLE, LIKE PLEASE MAN!
Lamar Miller's Season Ending Knee Injury
Here’s the play that caused Lamar Miller to leave the field on a cart. #Texanspic.twitter.com/qV4MQt9ONb— Aaron Reiss (@aaronjreiss) August 24, 2019
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
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.