THE PALLILOG

Will Fuller signs with possible Texans trade partner, and surprising Rockets odds

Will Fuller is heading to Miami. Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images.

The sexual deviant allegations against Deshaun Watson are disturbing and depressing. Either Watson is a pathetic degenerate who belongs in jail (at this point not an option with these being civil suits) or Watson is the rightfully irate victim of a disgusting smear attempt with the smearers deserving time behind bars. The only possible middle ground is an implausible series of horrible misunderstandings.

This jaw dropping addition to the Deshaun Watson/Texans mess first surfaced mere hours after the Texans struck a deal with Tyrod Taylor to become their starting or backup quarterback. Taylor is a vast upgrade over A.J. McCarron as a number two, but if Taylor is the starting QB, the whole Texans' season looks that much more like number two.

Taylor was one of the more than a dozen entirely unexciting roster additions new general Manager Nick Caserio made this week. No high impact signees and definitely not a promising collection of younger guys. More than half the new Texans will be at least 29 years old when the season starts.

In the short term, Watson's situation likely has some chilling effect with respect to trade interest in him at what cost. The Texans' posture remains they have no interest in a trade. Nevertheless, interesting that logical potential trade partner Miami is signing Will Fuller to bolster the Dolphins' receiving corps.

Rockets favored?

It can't get much worse than the Rockets vs. the Pistons Friday night at Toyota Center. Despite their brand spanking new franchise record 18 game losing streak the Rockets are actually small favorites. Overall at 11-28, the Rockets sit just one half game behind the Pistons for the second worst record in the NBA. Opportunity knocks! A Rocket loss would strengthen their chances of finishing with a bottom three NBA record, which is where they must fall to have their maximum chance of 52.1 percent to keep their draft choice if it winds up in the top four of the draft lottery.

The Rockets got a minimal and reasonable return in trading P.J. Tucker to Milwaukee. They project to move up eight picks or so in the draft from near the top of the second to somewhere in the bottom seven or eight picks in the first round. New General Manager Rafael Stone basically has to move Victor Oladipo by Thursday's trade deadline. The Knicks seem the most logical trade partner. Newly acquired D.J. Augustin makes no sense for the Rockets' roster next season for which he's guaranteed seven million dollars. Stone has to be looking to move him as well. If the Rockets could literally give away Eric Gordon they would. There would be no takers.

After having only three losing seasons in the last 36, it is very possible the Rockets stink for several years. Christian Wood looks good when healthy, Kevin Porter Jr. flashes some nice skills. That's it for guys who reasonably project as average or better NBA starters going forward.

March Madness

By their two seeding in the Midwest Region, anything short of the Elite Eight would be a disappointment for the Houston Cougars. I'm sure their players would agree, if anything they might say anything short of the Final Four would be disappointing. The odds are against them getting that far. Cleveland State should pose no problem in round one, after that any team the Coogs play will be capable of beating them. The Clemson/Rutgers winner is no gimme on Sunday. UH clearly played the weakest schedule of any of the top 16 seeds in the tournament. Had the Cougars been in the Big 12 or Big 10 there is no chance their record would be 24-3. They are a two seed however because they are damn good. Sensational is understating the job Kelvin Sampson has done with the program. With the whole NCAA Tournament being held in Indiana using six venues and the UH-Cleveland State game set at Indiana University's Assembly Hall, Sampson returns to the campus where he was fired for NCAA rules violations and then functionally banned from college coaching for five years.

Baseball is coming

Inside two weeks to the Astros' season opener at Oakland. No position battles. Hardly any roster spots are up for grabs. Zack Greinke is tabbed as the Astros' game one starter. Greinke has previous Opening Day starts with the Royals and Diamondbacks. Only two pitchers have made Opening Day starts for five different franchises. Name 'em? One best known for his curveball, the other for his spitball. Answer below in Buzzer Beater #3.

Buzzer Beaters:

1. Sure Michigan likely routs Texas Southern Saturday, but the way the Tigers won the SWAC Tournament to reach the First Four, then their rallying from 10 down at the half to beat fellow 16 seed Mt. St. Mary's…good stuff.

2. In five of the last seven tournaments a 14 seed has stunned a three seed. Beware Texas Longhorns vs. Abilene Christian.

3. Bert Blyleven and Gaylord Perry. Three other pitchers most defined by one pitch in their repertoire: Bronze- Trevor Hoffman change-up Silver- Bruce Sutter split fingered fastball Gold-Mariano Rivera cutter.

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Another tough loss for the Texans. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans started fast but faltered late as the New York Jets hand Houston their ninth loss of the season 21-14. Here are 11 observations from the game.

1. Starting safety Justin Reid was benched for the game. David Culley said after the game it was his decision as head coach and he would keep the matter internal with Reid.

2. This is the third defender benched for disciplinary reasons this season. Reid joins Zach Cunningham and Desmond King as players who missed time for discipline.

3. Justin Reid told Fox 26 he was benched because he had a disagreement with the coaching staff. He also said he was shocked the Texans benched him. You have to wonder if the “culture” the team is building is right when one of the more likable and personable players falls victim to their rules. Reid, who is a free agent this offseason, could leave the Texans.

4. Tyrod Taylor had a couple of nice plays early on for the Texans. His willingness to take some shots downfield was refreshing and led to a touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks.

5. Rookie tight end Brevin Jordan found the end zone. He has played well in recent weeks after finally getting on the field. Jordan is playing over Jordan Akins as Akins was a healthy scratch again this week.

6. Tytus Howard started at left tackle with mixed results. Howard has struggled to find his way at guard but could be a long-term option at tackle if given the chance.

7. The offensive line overall played poorly after some early success. The pass rush of the Jets got going and the run blocking was poor again. Lane Taylor played at left guard some, with Max Scharping also playing some at that spot.

8. The offense was horrendous after the two scoring drives. The Texans amassed 202 net yards with 91 yards coming on those two scoring drives. Houston gained just 49 net yards after their opening three drives.

9. After the game, I asked David Culley if he would be making a change with his play-caller. Culley stood behind offensive coordinator Tim Kelly and said he would remain the team’s play-caller.

10. Second-year defensive lineman Ross Blacklock had two horrible errors that handed the Jets a chance to turn three points into seven points. Blacklock got a personal foul on a field goal attempt giving the Jets a first down. The very next play his offsides penalty erased a sack. Each week Blacklock falls even more behind a bevy of players drafted after him who contribute positively on a regular basis.

11. The loss to another bottom-dweller has the Texans back in the second spot in the 2022 NFL Draft order. It also feels like the deflating nature of this loss erased some of the good feelings after the victory over the Titans. The Indianapolis Colts come to Houston next week to begin December’s portion of the schedule.

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