Every year around this time, people are busy searching for plans and/or gifts for their special someone/s. Valentine's Day has been dubbed the unofficial holiday of love. From the pictures of Cupid with his bow and arrow, to the many versions of hearts, Valentine's Day has turned into another commercially charged day of consumer spending.
Part of that spending is the planning of dates and buying of gifts. While it has been geared more towards women being on the receiving end of the dates and gifts, men have experienced their share of gifts as well. The ratio of which sex receives gifts is about 87,963:1, and I'm being generous.
With all that being said, I was sitting back contemplating what to get the wife for Valentine's Day. There are the traditional candies, cards, and flowers; but there's also jewelry, really nice dinners at upscale restaurants, new houses and/or cars. Some of this stuff she already has or won't want. As I was thinking of what to get her, it crossed my mind: if sports were a significant other, what would I get them for Valentine's Day? Since I asked, and I don't mind talking to myself, here's what I'd get them for Valentine's Day:
Football: a nice piece of jewelry
Football is the one sport I had to work hard at playing when I was younger. The fact that I couldn't master it with little to no effort intrigued me. Now that I've done all the necessary watching, networking, and intense studying, I feel like our relationship has been taken to a new level and I'm ready to commit.
Basketball: a new car
This has been my ride or die since day one. She's always been there for me and has never left my side. She was there for me before the Sports Map fame, before the radio guest spots, and even before I was an intern at 1560. For her always being there and being my go-to move, she deserves a nice new car.
Baseball: a nice card and candy
Baseball was always the one that played hard to get. I'd invest hours on end into baseball, only to get rejected. Especially in the 90s when I moved to Atlanta. The Braves went from worst to first and appeared in several World Series. They finally pulled through and won in 1995. However, they haven't won since. I waited 22 years until 2017 when the Astros won a title before a team I rooted for won it all. This is all baseball gets from me for now.
Soccer: upscale dinner date
Every once in a while, you come across that one that makes you want to change your ways. There's a person in your life that comes along that makes you want to change. You feel the need to impress this person and their family. So, you do what you can to impress her and her family because you feel this could be "the next one." This is how I feel about soccer. It's the sport that I've grown to truly appreciate over the last few years and have spent more quality time investing in.
I'd love to hear from you guys on which sports you'd buy gifts for, and if so, what gifts you'd buy for which gifts for. Sometimes, you can't help yourself. There's enough talent there so you can't help but make a leap of faith. This list is fluid and could change on a day to day basis depending on how I feel about the different sports.
“Another one!”- DJ Khaled
That's the first thing that came to mind when I heard the news of Tytus Howard being shut down for the season because of a knee injury. They've had more injuries on the offensive line this season than Nick Cannon has Father's Day cards. Almost every member of the offensive line has spent time on the injury report. Howard went down in the same game in which Juice Scruggs was finally on the active roster. He missed the first 10 games due to a hamstring injury. The irony of next man up has never been so in your face.
The other thing that came to mind was the soap opera As the World Turns.
Howard had just signed an extension this offseason. So did Laremy Tunsil and Shaq Mason. They drafted Juice Scruggs, and signed a few guys too. Those moves, along with other holdovers, were expected to fill out the depth chart. Then a rash of injuries struck. At one point, only one of the original five guys expected to start was playing! In fact, they beat the Steelers 30-6 with that backup offensive line!
One can't have the expectation of backups to perform as good as the starters. They're professionals and are on an NFL roster for a reason. However, the talent gap is evident. One thing coaching, technique, and preparation can't cover is lack of ability or talent. The Texans have done a good job of navigating the injury minefield this season. While the Howard injury will hurt, I have faith in the guys there still.
As of this writing, the Texans are in the eighth spot in the AFC playoff picture. The Steelers, Browns, and Colts are all in front of them at the fifth through seventh spots respectfully. They've beaten the Steelers already. They play the Browns on Christmas Eve and their starting quarterback is out for the season. The Colts are relying on the ghost of Gardner Minshew to steer their ship into the last game of the season vs. the Texans with a possible playoff trip on the line. The Broncos and Bills are the two teams immediately behind them. They play the Broncos this weekend. Even though they're on a hot streak, this is the same team that got 70 put on them by the Dolphins. The Bills are the old veteran boxer who still has some skill, but is now a stepping stone for up & comers.
To say this team should still make the playoffs would be an understatement in my opinion. I believe in them and what they have going on more than I believe in the teams I listed above. That includes teams around them in the playoff race that aren't on their schedule. The one thing that scares me a little moving forward is the sustainability of this line. When guys get up in age as athletes, it becomes harder to come back from injuries. The injuries also tend to occur more frequently when it's a knee, foot, ankle, shoulder, elbow, or another body part critical to blocking for C.J. Stroud.
I know they just re-signed three of those guys and drafted one they believe can be a starter, but depth and contingency plans are a way of life in the NFL. We see how important depth was this season. Why not plan ahead? Don't be surprised if the Texans spend valuable draft capital on the offensive line. By valuable, I'm talking about first through third or fourth rounders. Those are prime spots to draft quality offensive lineman. Whether day one starters or quality depth, those are the sweet spots. The only guy on the two deep depth chart for this offensive line that wasn't drafted in one of those rounds was George Fant, who was an undrafted rookie free agent. While I highly doubt they spend any significant free agency dollars on the group, I'm not totally ruling it out.
The bottom line is, this team will be okay on the line for the remainder of this season. The only way that doesn't happen, more injuries. Stroud is clearly the franchise guy. Protecting that investment is a top priority. I don't care about a number one receiver, or a stud stable or singular running back if the quarterback won't have time to get them the ball. If the pilot can't fly the plane, you know what happens. So making sure he's happy, healthy, and has a great crew is of the utmost importance.