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The Texans Can’t Win For Losing

A season between a rock and a hard place.

New England Patriots v Houston Texans
Houston head coach David Culley looking for the light at the end of the tunnel...
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

When everything played out as it did this past offseason, we all knew the Houston Texans would need to lose as many games as possible this year in order to set a solid rebuilding foundation. They’re not getting a high draft pick in 2022 by overachieving in 2021.

At the moment, the Texans are 1-5, joining the Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins and New York Giants in the “One Win Club.” Only the Detroit Lions are worse off, with no wins at all. However, the Lions have scored more points (109) than the Texans (92). The Jets (67) are the only team to have scored less than the Texans.

Houston needs to lose. It’s just so hard to want your favorite team to fail, even if you know it’s for the future good. Especially when they get blown out by the Buffalo Bills 40-0, then give up a huge lead on the New England Patriots to lose 25-22, and then get pantsed by the struggling Indianapolis Colts 31-3. In that three-game span, Houston had a points differential of 96-25. It’s 71-3 if you remove the aberration of the Patriots game.

To make matters worse, the laughingstock of NFL management, Jack McEasterby, and first year general manager Nick Caserio did a terrible job laying the groundwork for future success this past offseason. They spent a ton of cap space on aging veterans, made multiple trades involving parting with draft picks for players they eventually cut, seemed to entirely ignore the crop of unsigned rookie free agents, and got rid of just about every decent young player they had not named Zach Cunningham or Justin Reid.

With Laremy Tunsil out for the foreseeable future, a constant game of musical chairs across the offensive line, the worst run game Houston may have ever seen, a defense that’s coughed up 172 points in six games (good for a negative 80 point differential), and Caserio continuing to dump players like a fire sale, it’s pretty obvious: Houston can’t even win when trying to lose.

As long as they don’t actually win another game, there’s a good chance they’ll land a top five draft pick in 2022. However, based on the “team building” they did this year, it’s becoming harder and harder to have faith that the current regime at NRG Park actually knows how to build a winning roster. While they ran the whole “character!” mantra this past offseason, all the character in the world doesn’t matter when a team starts losing wholesale. Professional athletes aren’t wired that way. The players who have potential for a great future will most likely just check out, and those who don’t will become toxic. All the locker room leaders berating, cajoling, and otherwise trying to motivate winning mindsets are doomed to fail.

Meanwhile, the headlines are full of “This is what the Texans need to do to fix the losing” sorts of articles. The problem with that mindset is that Houston doesn’t want to fix the losing; they need to fix the team. In a perfect world, the McNairs would sell the franchise. That’s probably not happening. Next, they’d remove the influence of Jack McEasterby. That’s not happening either. That simply leaves all of us in a tough place: wanting our team to win and lose at the same time.

It’s about to get a lot uglier when J.J. Watt, DeAndre Hopkins, and the undefeated Arizona Cardinals blast through the 2021 Texans on Sunday. The loss will be welcomed for draft positioning purposes, but the lack of faith in the people charged with rebuilding this franchise make it tough to believe things will get better.