STRANGE BEDFELLOWS

Would a Bob McNair/Colin Kaepernick marriage be good for everyone?

Bob McNair would not really OK a Colin Kaepernick signing. Would he? Bob Levey/Getty Images

News of Deshaun Watson’s torn ACL has put a damper on the Houston Texan’s season. His star was shining bright. He made the team appointment television. The franchise finally had its long-awaited quarterback of the future. Alas, this is Houston. And there’s always the plot twist that feels more like a kick in the groin.

Not more than an hour or so after the news broke, did the rumor mill of Bob McNair OK'ing of a Colin Kaepernick a workout. This also comes on the heels of McNair’s "inmates" comments last week. Could this be the beginning of a beautiful story, or just another pump fake of Kaepernick getting a shot to play again?

The main reason this is a bad idea is because it will seem like McNair is using a form of appeasement or affirmative action. Let’s call a spade a spade here. It will look like a rich white guy is using the plight of a perceived militant black guy to get him off the hook with his players and portions of the team’s fanbase who were highly upset about his choice of words and subsequent apology. I want to believe this signing off of a workout is genuine, but the timing of the comments, apology, injury, and Kaepernick’s availability is very convenient for McNair’s benefit. As far as the football side, the team most likely isn’t going anywhere, so why bother? They don’t have a first or second rounder. The offensive line is horrid. And Kaep isn’t a more superior decision-maker or more accurate passer than Watson to say he’d make a difference.  People will soon realize (if most haven’t already) that this was a way to clean up McNair’s standing with those that were offended by his comments. It’ll be his “Get Out Of Jail Free” card. Fans will reject the idea of the face of the NFL anthem protests is now wearing their team’s jersey and playing the most important position. The money the team would lose because of counter-protests to the signing could be substantial. Should McNair decide the scrutiny and monetary losses too much and eject on the idea after approving it, it’ll get worse by making him appear to bow to the pressure.

However, there’s always a flipside to this story. What if McNair genuinely signed off on this idea and wants to use it to aid race relations? What if he actually wants to sit down with Kaepernick and truly open dialogue between two polar opposites to help heal the wounds caused by the continual fallout to anthem protests and the police brutality which originally spurred them into existence in the first place? On the football side of things, Kaep’s abilities are similar to Watson’s. Bill O’Brien has adapted his play calling to fit Watson’s skill set and could possibly do the same for Kaep. With the offensive line being as bad as it is, they need a mobile quarterback to continue to take pressure off of them. And let’s say McNair is down to take the heat in the name of race relations. This could reverberate throughout society by him being a billionaire white man talking to his much younger black quarterback fighting for racial equality about how to help mend some fences that most deem irreparable. Imagine the conversations that could take place as a result of this highly unlikely union? This would be akin to a Hatsfield and a McCoy collaborating on a book on neighborly conduct.

Whether or not this comes to fruition, I only hope it will be done out of mutual respect and a combined effort to help not only race relations, but a franchise’s hope for a successful season, as well as the reputations of two men on opposing sides some hot button issues. These issues have caused enough divisiveness in this country. It’s time to truly attempt to put them to rest. Will Bob McNair and Colin Kaepernick be Jerry Maguire and Rod Tidwell in changing the course of an out of control ship by taking a leap of faith with each other? Or will they be the Caesar and Colonel, doomed to fight until the end of the other’s kind?

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It's easy to blame Bill O'Brien for the Texans woes. He is a lousy GM, a below average play caller and his offense is boring, predictable and ineffective. Not once has he had a top 10 offense in the league. So he does not get a pass here.

But Deshaun Watson shouldn't, either.

Last year, Watson was in the MVP conversation entering the game in Baltimore. Four of the nine games he played before that, Watson had an ESPN Total QBR over 85, which is playing at an elite level.

Since that 41-7 debacle (where his QBR was 13.6), Watson has played 10 games. He has topped 85 just once (and barely - 85.6) in the win over the Patriots. While QBR is not the be all end all, it shows a trend. And before you blame the talent around him or the ridiculously stupid DeAndre Hopkins trade, eight of those games were with Hopkins in the lineup.

Over his last 10 games, Patrick Mahomes has done it five times (and just missed last week at 84.7). Lamar Jackson has done it six times in his last 10. Russell Wilson is six for his last 10. Dak Prescott? Three. Aaron Rodgers? Three. Ryan Tannehill? Three. Josh Allen? Two. Lamar Jackson led the league last year with an 83 for the season. Watson was sixth at 71.3. To be a top 10 quarterback, you had to average 64.1. In two games this season, Watson sits 20th, about where he was over the last six regular season games and two playoff games last year.

In essence, Deshaun Watson - who often gets compared to those players - is not on their level. Yes, O'Brien has a lot to do with it, but it's also time to start looking at Watson's performance and regression as an NFL quarterback.

In 2018, Watson had four such games. In 2017, four in six starts. And now ONE since that Baltimore game. In fact, he has topped 80 just once in that stretch, and 60 just three times.

What it tells us is Watson has been an average quarterback over his last 10 starts. The Texans invested heavily in an offensive line to protect him. They have added depth at WR but a net loss without Hopkins. Elite quarterbacks turn in performances like that roughly half the time. Getting more consistent has always been an issue for Watson. But since that Baltimore game, he has not been close. And he is being paid to be elite.

In the end, O'Brien is still the main culprit. He has hand picked all the players around Watson, he designed the offense, and he controls everything.

But it's time to quit giving Watson a pass. Right now, he is part of the problem.

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