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The Earl of Texas

2019 Houston Texans

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Texans open the season against the New Orleans Saints on Monday the 9th at 6:10pm on ESPN.

We've had crazy roster moves between the close of camp and the first game, as much as any team I've ever seen and definitely the most shake up this team has ever had in that time-frame. Personally I think we didn't do very well in these trades, but if Tunsil can play at a high level, and we manage to re-sign him, we could limit the damage.

Big fan of not maxing out Clowney, he's definitely got the talent to be a max player I just didn't want that much money tied up in a guy who takes plays off and has injury concerns, especially for a team that has so many other needs to address. 

Should be an interesting season, with the retirement of Luck we are the odd-on favorites to win the AFC South, with the Jags in a very close second.

 

https://www.houstontexans.com/news/texans-trim-roster-to-53-players

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Texans trim roster to 53 players

The Houston Texans released ILB Tyrell Adams and P Bryan Anger.

The Houston Texans waived WR Floyd Allen, OLB Jesse Aniebonam, CB Derrick Baity Jr., OLB Davin Bellamy, CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun, RB Damarea Crockett, OLB Jamal Davis II, T Christian DiLauro, WR Johnnie Dixon, NT Javi Edwards, S Austin Exford, RB Josh Ferguson, WR Chad Hansen, DE Joel Heath, S A.J. Hendy, RB Karan Higdon Jr., DE Albert Huggins, S Chris Johnson, WR Tyron Johnson, T Rick Leonard, WR Steven Mitchell Jr., NT Walter Palmore, CB Jermaine Ponder, OLB Gimel President, G Malcolm Pridgeon, G Maurquice Shakir, WR Vyncint Smith, DE Tracy Sprinkle, QB Jordan Ta'amu and WR Jester Weah.

The Houston Texans waived-injured ILB B.J. Bello and ILB Xavier Woodson.

The Houston Texans placed QB Joe Webb III on the Reserve/Injured list.

DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney signed as a franchise player.

https://www.si.com/nfl/2019/09/02/nfl-cuts-trades-waiver-claims-texans-laremy-tunsil-bill-obrien-seahawks-jadeveon-clowney

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Texans Sit at the Center of Two Seismic Trades on a Frenzied Saturday in the NFL

A whirlwind of action on Saturday confirms just how much pressure Houston is facing—but will the moves prove to be shrewd or hasty? Let’s examine the moves from the perspective of all three involved teams. Also, a look back at last year’s league-shift move (Khalil Mack to the Bears), additional takeaways from roster cuts and waiver pickups, a coach who will likely be running a team sooner than later and much more. It’s Week 1, let‘s go!
September 02, 2019
 
 

While heading to Texans’ training camp a few weeks ago, I thought about how fleeting Houston’s current circumstances are.

J.J. Watt is 30 years old and in year nine of his NFL career. Whitney Mercilus is 29 and in his eighth season. DeAndre Hopkins is just 27, but with a lot of mileage on his body going into year seven. Others on the roster, like Tashuan Gipson and Jonathan Joseph, are at that stage and even further along than that.

I asked a couple of those players, and they agreed—there should be a sense of urgency among the team. Then I talked to Bill O’Brien, heading in his sixth year as the Texans head coach, about the idea that the existing core needs the make the most of what it has left, because there’s no telling how much longer it’s going to last.

“I’d say every year there’s got to be a sense of urgency,” O’Brien said during training camp. “On every team you have guys at different stages of their career. I’d say, and you used [Watt] and [Hopkins], those guys have come back in great shape, they look great, I don’t see either one of them anywhere near the end of their careers. But there’s always got to be a sense of urgency relative to practice, meetings, and knowing the games are right around the corner.

“We’re trying to get this team ready for the regular season as fast as we can. It’s right around the corner. Before you know it, it’ll be Monday night in the Superdome and we’re playing a great team. There’s always gotta be that sense of urgency.”

Monday night in the Superdome is now a week away. And Saturday’s transactions—trading away Jadeveon Clowney and trading for Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills, among other assets—implicitly confirmed that the Texans are feeling that sense of urgency.

During one crazy day, O’Brien made sure of that.


It’s the first MMQB of the new season! There’s football on Thursday, football on Sunday, football on Monday and football for the five months after that. So there’s a lot for us to get to, including …

• Bears coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace detailing the lessons they take from the Khalil Mack deal, one year later.

• The NFL’s next hot offensive assistant coach.

• The Patriots’ next franchise quarterback?

• The Packers’ confidence in Aaron Rodgers.

• Melvin Gordon’s situation.

But we’re starting with a wild Saturday in the NFL, the last of the offseason, and a focus on the three teams in the crosshairs.


I asked O’Brien on Sunday, via text, for perspective on the Texans’ moves—about a month after we had that talk about the pressure on the core guys to win.

“We are committed to continually trying to get better in all ways,” he explained. “The roster is just one way to do that.  There are tons of other ways to get better. Every part of our building is continually trying to get better.”

The Texans, of course, have undergone plenty of change the last two years. They team has parted ways with two general managers. They’ve installed a former team chaplain, Jack Easterby, as an executive vice president. They’ve reworked their sports science, modernized their nutritional program for the players, and changed strength coaches twice. And Cal McNair has taken a larger role in running the team since his dad, Bob, the team owner, passed away last November.

O’Brien’s point is well-taken, but that doesn’t make the move for Laremy Tunsil any less seismic. The Texans gave up two first-round picks and a second-round pick to get him (with Kenny Stills, and fourth- and sixth-rounders coming too, and Johnson Bademosi and Julien Davenport going to Miami), which means, barring more big trades, Houston will go through three draft cycles in four years (2018, ’20, ’21) without picks in the first two rounds.

The risk there is obvious. A team’s young, cost-controlled talent comes from those early rounds, and losing high picks cuts down on both a team’s margin for error in college scouting and flexibility to move around the board. Magnifying it is the fact that Deshaun Watson won’t be on a rookie deal for much longer, meaning filling out the roster with young players, from a cap perspective, will become more of a necessity. It’s why the Eagles, with Carson Wentz off his rookie deal, are now stockpiling, rather than dealing, their picks.

All of it begs the question: How did the Texans get here, having to deal far more than the Browns did for Odell Beckham or the Bears did for Khalil Mack to land a left tackle?

 

Here, as best I can ascertain it, was their process.

• It was impossible for anyone to prepare for the loss of franchise left tackle Duane Brown, who was haphazardly traded to Seattle in 2017 after the offensive lineman spoke up against the elder McNair stepping into the anthem controversy with his comment referring to NFL protests as “inmates running the prison.” Players like Brown are hard to replace—Texans personnel studied the draft and free agency, proving as such to the team‘s brass.

• Trent Brown, Nate Solder and Russell Okung were the three legit left tackles to hit the market the last three years, and each signed a record-breaking deal. Each is a good, but maybe not great player.

• The top tackle in next year’s draft, Georgia’s Andrew Thomas, is likely to go well before where the Texans would expect to be drafting. Moving up to draft him would be expensive, as it was to go up for Watson two years ago.

• Though the team had discussed Tunsil before, Andrew Luck’s retirement crystallized things for the Texans—the beating he took literally pushed the Colts star out of football. Watson, to this point, has taken a similar pounding. And that had to stop.

• Tunsil is widely seen as one of the top-five left tackles in the game. He may not be an in-prime Trent Williams or Tyron Smith, but he’s not far off from that, and the Texans see him as a better player than Brown, Solder and Okung, and better than what Thomas projects to be. He checked the other boxes for the Texans, as a young, ascending player, a good locker room guy and an elite pass protector.

Put together the circumstances, and the Texans knew they’d have to overpay, but were O.K. with it for someone they believed was a true blue-chipper. It’s fair, of course, to question the move when looking at the two linemen Houston took in the first two rounds. Tytus Howard and Max Sharping were thought to be potential bookends at tackle. The team now sees Howard as the right tackle of the future and Sharping settling in at guard, where he may start against the Saints in Week 1. 

O’Brien wanted to pull every lever—and he certainly did that.

There’s more collateral damage in the $5.5 million spent on ex-Vikings, ex-Panthers and now ex-Texans left tackle Matt Kalil, and now there’s a flying-by-the-seat-of-their-pants look to the team’s work on its offensive line the last six months.

Yet, if Tunsil plays like the top-five tackle he has been, and Howard and Sharping find starting jobs in time, and Watson grows as a result of it, maybe all of this won’t matter.

All we know for sure right now is the sense of urgency we referenced earlier will be there in Houston in 2019. As will all the pressure that comes with it.


Of course, that wasn’t the only blockbuster move the Texans were a part of over the weekend. The first one involved the first draft pick of the O’Brien era, and the first pick in the 2014 draft, being shipped off to Seattle. And it wrapped up pretty unceremoniously.

Sure, Seahawks GM John Schneider might’ve liked to celebrate landing Clowney. But by the time he and O’Brien got off the phone late on Friday night with an agreement in principle, just in time to get the 26-year-old on an early Saturday flight to Seattle, there was way too much going on for that, with the cutdown deadline just hours away.

Thirty-six hours later, he’d had more time to take it in. And he could best explain the move by describing what he felt like the Seahawks were getting in Clowney.

“He can do whatever he wants to do when he wants to do it,” Schneider says. “That’s what sticks out—he can do whatever he wants to do whenever he wants to do it. He’s a freak athletically.”

Given Seattle’s attrition up front over the last few years (Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, etc.), plus the six-game suspension Jarran Reed is about to serve, finding pressure players up front was an obvious need for the Seahawks. But they weren’t going to panic to fill it, which made getting to the finish line on Clowney a process.

The Texans and Seahawks first discussed a trade before the draft, but Schneider says the team was jammed up logistically at that point doing massive extensions for Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner, and the price tag to trade for Clowney was a little higher than they’d have liked. So they let the draft pass—and in the meantime, they did their homework on Clowney. Because he was such a high pick in a year Seattle had the last pick in each round, the team hadn’t done much of that ahead of this spring—“Probably like everybody else, I knew he was supposed to be a freak, and he had the huge hit against Michigan [in the 2013 Outback Bowl],” Schneider says.

 

The staff called around 20 former teammates and coaches of his. But the most powerful testimonial came from right down the hall—Brown had been a teammate of Clowney’s for more than three years in Houston.

“He couldn’t have spoken about him more highly than he did,” Schneider says. “He loved the guy.”

What moved the GM to get more aggressive was seeing on the internet that Clowney was resisting the idea of a trade to Miami. Schneider thought all along that the Seahawks’ culture would be a fit for Clowney, and that Carroll would get the most out of him (“Pete loves working with guys like this.”) That belief also helped ease the issue of, by rule, not being able to extend Clowney, with the hope he’d want to stay once he got there.

So Schenider moved on him and, ultimately, what’s going back to Houston isn’t anywhere close to crazy. The Seahawks sent a third-rounder there, which they’ll likely get back in a comp pick if they lose Clowney in 2020, plus role players Barkevious Mingo (who Clowney replaces) and Jacob Martin (who impressive rookie Cody Barton will replace).

If Carroll can get the most out of this prodigious talent, who has been through microfracture surgery as a pro, the move will fit in with the Seahawks have built their best teams over the course of this decade—focusing on getting to the quarterback.

“You never feel like you have enough pass rushers,” Schneider says. “And that’s not necessarily a reflection of the people you have here. It’s just, we’re constantly looking at all positions, but especially how you improve your pass rush, for sure.”

And to be able to pull that off on the doorstep of September? Schneider can celebrate that, because it’s not easy to do.


As for the third team in this Texans’ triangle, the Dolphins are very clearly in a place where the Browns were three years ago under Sashi Brown—focused on resetting the franchise and stockpiling assets. The team’s cap is clean, and now it boasts a wealth of draft picks.

The problem? Well, that’s for Brian Flores to navigate... for his part, he can say the Dolphins aren’t tanking until he’s blue in the face.

“This game means a lot to me,” he reiterated Sunday, to the local press. “I wouldn’t disrespect the game with that. Again, no we’re not [tanking]. We’re going to try to win every game. I think that’s disrespectful to even say that. These guys have worked extremely hard. They’ve done that all summer, they do it all spring, and they’ll continue to do so. It’s disheartening to hear people talk about it, to even say that.

“For a guy who respects the game and for as much as the game has done for me, when people say that—you shouldn’t say it.”

But Flores’s players are human. They’re reading and hearing the claims that their team is tanking. They know, as well as anyone else does, that this could be a lengthy rebuild that many of those now in the locker room won’t be a part of anymore in a year or two. And Flores has asked a lot of those guys the last six months—his program is a Patriots-styled program, and many of his methods mirror what Matt Patricia did in Detroit last year.

If Flores can make it work better than the Browns did as they were building up their resources, the groundwork could laid for something pretty incredible.

Consider that …

• The Dolphins will have two first- and two second-round picks in the next two drafts, and will likely get a compensatory third-rounder in 2020, as a result of tackle Ju’Wuan James signing in Denver.

• They should have multiple shots at finding a quarterback of the future, which is the primary objective owner Stephen Ross has privately set for his new football brass. They’re in the midst of taking one of those sorts of shots with Josh Rosen. Chances are, they’ll be in position to pick a quarterback in the 2020 draft—and maybe in 2021 as well, which will be the year of Trevor Lawrence.

• Their cap will be clean, after this year’s purge. They’re carrying over $51 million in dead money on this year’s books. Right now, there’s only $4 million in dead money scheduled to go on the 2020 cap.

• There are some building blocks. Not many, but some. Xavien Howard is locked up, the staff loves LB Jerome Baker and first-round pick Christian Wilkins is the kind of cultural fit around whom Flores can build.

 

Now, that’s not to say this is some sort of foolproof plan. They didn’t intend to deal Tunsil, but did when the return got to the point of being without any recent precedent. Still, that was an elite, 25-year-old left tackle walking out the door. And those, again, aren’t easy to find.

Also, while it’s nice to have all that cap space and money, it won’t mean much if Grier and Flores don’t draft and sign the right guys—a lesson Cleveland learned painfully over a two-year period.

Most difficult of all, there’s the challenge of making it through the first year amid all the noise, through the talent deficit of a true rebuild, and finding a way to come out of it without real, tangible damage having been done. Great programs aren’t built on paper—they’re built with people, and that’s what Flores has to manage.

If he can? There’ll be a lot to like here going forward.

 

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I can’t rehash all of the stupid mistakes the organization has made this off season any longer. Yeah, there is a very long list of stupid moves, but at this point it’s time to roll with it. The O-line should be decent now and I like the addition of Stills. The offense should be pretty damn good. It’s time to see if Mercilus can be an impact rusher and hope JJ stays healthy. They should win the South and at least host another playoff game. I’ll go 10-6 and a second round loss to either KC or NE.

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On 9/2/2019 at 2:29 PM, Hate said:

I can’t rehash all of the stupid mistakes the organization has made this off season any longer. Yeah, there is a very long list of stupid moves, but at this point it’s time to roll with it. The O-line should be decent now and I like the addition of Stills. The offense should be pretty damn good. It’s time to see if Mercilus can be an impact rusher and hope JJ stays healthy. They should win the South and at least host another playoff game. I’ll go 10-6 and a second round loss to either KC or NE.

I was like you once.  

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Cautious optimism creeping in. Astros are on fire so attention is becoming focused on the Superdome...

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Since when did football become such a pussy sport. That's a grown ass man tackle on a ball carrier. 15 yard penalty my fucking ass. 

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Hey buttchin, why don't you adjust to the blitz. Instead of calling 5 step drops, get the ball out of Watson's hands quickly.

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Just now, HtownHorn said:

Hey buttchin, why don't you adjust to the blitz. Instead of calling 5 step drops, get the ball out of Watson's hands quickly.

Huh? Watson had plenty of time to throw. Made a bad decision. 

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2 minutes ago, HtownHorn said:

Hey buttchin, why don't you adjust to the blitz. Instead of calling 5 step drops, get the ball out of Watson's hands quickly.

He abandoned the screen game. 

Meanwhile Romeo Cornell on D has been playing prevent or something

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