Charlie Pallilo

For what it is worth, Texans are worth a LOT

Bob McNair's Texans are worth 2.8 BILLION. Bob Levey/Getty Images

Forbes Magazine Thursday released its annual valuation of NFL franchises. According to Forbes Bob McNair now holds a property worth four times what he paid for it. McNair’s expansion fee was $700 million dollars; Forbes says the Texans are now worth $2.8 billion. The Cowboys are No. 1 at an even FIVE billion. The Texans come in at number nine. That’s great for generations of McNairs, but if the Texans don’t beat the Giants Sunday the rest of this season will be worth closer to a plugged nickel.

16 games on the week three NFL schedule, Texans-Giants is the only one matching teams that stumbled out of the chute to 0-2 starts. Most years, there is a team that begins 0-2 which winds up in the playoffs. The Texans did it in 2015. An 0-3 start? Call the coroner. The 1998 Bills were the last team to recover from 0-3 to wind up in the postseason. So for late September the stakes are high Sunday. It seems a fair fight. The Texans and Giants both have credible defenses, and atrocious offensive lines that drag down the offenses.

At least the Texans have hope at quarterback with Deshaun Watson. The Giants have 37 year old Eli Manning. Eli has had a fine career highlighted by two runs to Super Bowl victories, but since the second Super win over New England the Giants have made the playoffs once in the last five years. Manning is among many reasons why. Eli is extremely immobile, and while he has that weak o-line he also has what would be the number one tandem picked in a draft of same team running back/wide receiver combos in rookie RB Saquon Barkley and WR Odell Beckham Jr. Some might prefer the speed kills pairing in Kansas City of Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill.

Coaching woes

The evidence mounts that for all his command of a room, Bill O’Brien lacks the goods of big time head coaches. Losing to a Blaine Gabbert quarterbacked Tennessee team was feeble if not a disgrace. Parts of it absolutely were a disgrace. The Texans repeatedly looked poorly coached, unaware, and/or undisciplined.

O’Brien is on his third special teams coach in four years, over which time their special teams have routinely stunk. Gifting the Titans first touchdown by not even covering one of their outside punt coverage guys? You could have justified firings on the spot.  O’Brien’s explanation was lame.

After his “it’s not my job” snorting away questioning of his timeout non-usage at New England, I wonder if O’Brien considers knowing the rules part of his job. It’s a terrible rule, but O’Brien didn’t know the penalty when Gabbert caught his own pass and threw the ball again from behind the line of scrimmage.

On the Astros

While the Texans wallow in franchise mediocrity the Astros close in on back-to-back 100 win seasons for the first time in franchise history, and a crack at getting back to and winning another World Series. The odds are against them winning it all again, but that’s true of any single team. The Astros have as a good a shot as anybody.

I can’t see A.J. Hinch doing it, but if Carlos Correa doesn’t show something at the plate the final week of the regular season there is a case to be made for sitting him against the Indians. In 34 games since returning from the disabled list Correa has been the worst everyday offensive player in the big leagues (OPS a stunningly woeful .480), and it’s not as if he has been trending up of late. Hinch dropped him from the cleanup spot to fifth in the batting order, then to sixth. Correa has three doubles and one homer in 121 at bats. The Indians will start three nasty righthanded pitchers in Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, and Carlos Carrasco. In his career Correa is a combined seven for 39 against them (.179).

The guess is Hinch would hope Correa finds it out of nowhere and produces. It could happen. Sports! And while Correa is a class act, he has an ego as does everybody. The Astros probably wouldn’t want to tempt any possible hard feelings going forward. Correa’s defense has looked fine so the “he’s still hurting” argument seems shaky, but if Correa isn’t physically right and his play is hurting the team he should sit. Unless his back is really messed up and will be an issue going forward, Correa should get back on a star track next season.

Buzzer Beaters

1. Sure didn’t take long for Patrick Mahomes to zip past Watson as the most exciting QB out of the 2017 Draft. Of course, Mahomes has much better offensive teammates and coaching.  2. If UT wants to matter this season, beating TCU is a must. 3. Best college football fight songs: Bronze-Notre Dame Victory March Silver-Yea Alabama Gold-Hail to the Victors (Michigan)



 

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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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