The news dropped rather suddenly Monday, following a performance of indignation in Indiana. There have been few inter-divisional games in recent memory, where the game was so heavily imbalanced as Sunday. The Texans were completely out-classed by the Colts, who only required 48-offensive plays to compile 31-points to Houston’s 3. That somber mood was reflective in Brandin Cooks’ post-game media conference, which then took a further turn the following day.
No Merci As Caserio Swings The Axe
The public sentiment of their parting being by mutual consent may have been agreed out of respect for previous service. There was similar motivation behind that ill-fated and widely predicted third contract handed out to Whitney Mercilus, late in 2019. As the Texans pass-rush was a clear weakness down the stretch, a perplexing $54m 4-year-deal was inked. It was just one of many ill-advised moves at that time. It in some ways seemed like a reparation payment after he clearly outplayed his previous 4-year-$26m deal, singed back in 2015.
After notching 57 sacks, some game changing plays added to his unrivalled benevolence in the greater-Houston community, the era of Whitney as a Texans ended Monday. After re-structuring his contract, the Texans will take a total of $15m dead cap over this season & next. The move will be a sting in Caserio’s budget for a team who are devoid of competitiveness this season. Regardless of why they may have felt compelled to make the call, it seemed pre-determined from the minute it was signed that the contract would not be fulfilled.
A Change in Tact?
The inevitable leak, prior to the official announcement was contextualised with a nod towards the future. The Texans reportedly wanted to get younger at the position. But this must beg the question, aside from this move, why didn’t they do that this off-season? Nick Caserio assembled an expensive, veteran-heavy roster, with so many mid to low sized APY, short term deals, that contracts were restructured to do so.
So far, a strategy this has not paid any dividends this season & it will continue to impact them into the future. There is no wonder why this isn’t the selected approach by other teams as a norm. Choosing quantity over quality, whilst shunning youth looked ill-advised then, just as its been confirmed to be the case now. So if Caserio and his entirely inherited staff were so convicted with the 4-7 year experience player mould, why the sudden move away after 6 weeks?
As for all the placement via the media around their culture and positive notions. This team is the oldest, nigh on the least talented but without doubt, the least disciplined. Brandin Cooks’ comments were jarring and pinned the Easterby-lead hot air-balloon of vibes that the team have expended so greatly to craft. Sunday and the subsequent actions seemed to hallow out this season for it is – empty.
The watching brief of Davis Mills’ development that is hemmed in by a limited ceiling aside, this season is verging on pointless. There is also just too much lamentable about this year. Money spent. Mis-placed training camp reps. Game time & coaching. All wasted. This team was badly in need of a youth movement in March. So why now, after 6 games?
Is there a true turn of focus or was this misplaced lip-service? And if so, why make an example of that with these players? Both Andre Roberts & Whitney Mercilus were not signifiant contributors. So the team is no worse off on a Sunday. But not for the first it’s not clear where this team is headed. The Watson situation is the ultimate wedge holding the door to once again enter football relevancy. But if youth & future years were to be the focus, why wait until now?
Only Caserio can answer that question with how he proceeds across the next twelve months. As to date, there are limited reason to say definitively he’s taken this team forward by any noticeable bounds. It’s hard to bought-in at this stage, based on the front office’s performance to date.
Entering The Gauntlet For A Fortnight
After Sunday, it’s difficult to see any further spawning green shoots than has already shown up. Some players may surprise but it would take significant, game breaking contributions. We can only hope. There is the task of a trip to Arizona, the undefeated Cardinals, who will line up with our two former favourite sons. It undoubtedly will be a tough watch.
There’s a clear mis-match against Lovie’s floundering Tampa-2 defence against a red-hot plethora of skill players. The gapping gulf in talent this Sunday and equally with the re-born Matt Stafford-speared Rams are equally frightening prospect, across the next two weeks.
There’s been an omni-present question of when the Texans might hit rock bottom. It’s been down right gut wrenching in Buffalo & against Indy. But make sure you have sufficient libations, good friends and great food over the next few weeks. As for their on-field demise it’s about to take a turn for the worse. But after theses next two weeks, there may be some light emerging from the tunnel.