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Emptying Out The Mailbag

I’m sorry to have failed you.

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Friendship for 37 years between postman and swan Photo by Gokhan Balci/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

We here at Battle Red Radio (Houston Texans Podcast) have faced a conundrum. The last two episodes of the show have been too long or we have been pushed up against the clock, and your beautiful, perfect, and wonderful listener questions faced the chopping block. We here at BRR make it a point to answer each and every listener question, rain or shine, or unexpected life bounding upon the horizon.

To absolve old sins, I come to you with a full mailbag. Here are your listener questions answered through written word, instead of through the spoken word.

It’s a strange collection of players. Shaq Lawson had his most productive season in Miami, but he ran his way into a lot of it because of the high blitz defense he played in. Desmond King, isn’t a good slot coverage cornerback, but is a hybrid safety-cornerback-linebacker, who is better at playing zone, and his best skill is tackling. Maliek Collins had less pass rushing production than even Ross Blacklock did. This was chalked up to a shoddy shoulder. Jordan Jenkins is an exit plan from Whitney Mercilus, whose contract was recently restructured and is still on the roster, and I like most front seven players from the Jets scrappy defense. Phillip Lindsay is a mid-outside zone back, and Denver is better at running a power run scheme now.

I like this group. Yet, each has their own set of problems. Lawson has never really found it, even playing on a better defensive line and regular old front four pass rush in Buffalo. King is the perfect example of a player who you have to get the most of what he does, instead of worry about what he doesn’t do. I don’t think Lovie Smith is the guy to do this. Collins was fine before, and last year was a disaster. Jenkins is an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, and everything points to Houston being a 4-3 team. And the Texans haven’t had a cohesive run game, even under Tim Kelly, changing the run scheme week to week, and removing any sort of consistency.

I’d take Lawson, Collins, and Lindsay. Lawson is already Houston’s best pass rusher, and he’ll be pretty good once again. I don’t love Collins, but he scraped the bottom last season, and it should be easy for him to improve. And Lindsay is a better mid-outside zone back then David Johnson, and a better back than Mark Ingram, his success just depends on the scheme they run, and towards the end of last season Houston ran more mid-outside zone.

Texans fans like to think they love a team that is better than the NFL’s cellar. They think they are better than the Lions, or the Bengals, or the Browns, or the Jets, or the Jaguars, but the reality is, they fall into the same collection of teams. Anything out of the cellar is just a glimpse, and quickly they suffocate back below to where they belong. Adding additional Browns is just plucking cousins from a family reunion. New misery is easy when you are already accustomed to old misery. There’s no surprise, no confusion, when you go from Cleveland to Houston. If you go from Baltimore to here you may feel differently.

In the year 2024 there will be an episode of Battle Red Radio we argue over how many starts Briean Boddy-Calhoun made in Houston. Most will not even remember his existence. Everyone will forget the two tackles he made. That being said, I’d rather watch Boddy-Calhoun instead of Vernon Hargreaves III. Each of his sixteen starts were metaphysical. They questioned my ability to enjoy football. Resigning him was an act of war.

The argument why they will be worse is simple. The Texans won’t have Deshaun Watson. He’s either going to sit, be traded, or be suspended. Even with Watson, the Texans won four games, and the talent drain we hollered about, the one that most masked, become apparent. Houston fell from a ten to a four win team. The bottom fell out.

The argument for why they will be better is their one possession record, and the offseason signings they made. Houston went 2-8 in one score games last season, the opposite of the 9-3 they went in 2019 when including the postseason. Houston thought they were on the precipice on the Super Bowl. When in reality, their luck ran out. A flip in one score games will help them. And as much as I don’t like the signings they made for the future of the team, when they will be good again, if they ever will be, at least they turned this team from like a 62 overall to a 65 overall, and that has to count for something. They maybe able to run their way to enough 24-20 games next year.

Strange question. I’m not sure why he would ask this.

I’ve had one massage in my life. Once upon a time, when I was fresh out of school, depressed and wanting to die, I had a sales job that showed me how crushing existence can be. I accidentally made two sales that morning. My reward for doing this was a couple of hundred dollars and a chair massage. After the massage was over I was ruined my nausea, I was sick and loose and terrible. The hippie told me it was from the toxins. I haven’t had one since.

Instead of paying $75 to have a stranger rub my strange body down, I lay in the grass and nap and let the sun fill me up. I don’t need someone to do something the sun already does for me.

1. I don’t love Kevin Pierre-Louis. He wasn’t a good coverage linebacker, he had tackling problems, he didn’t make many plays playing behind one of the league’s best defensive lines. OUR Washington Football Team defense took off once they found their linebacker pairing of Cole Holcomb and Jon Bostic. Pierre-Louis was phased out.

Although this is true. Pierre-Louis is at least fast. That counts for something. The rest of the linebackers are athletically limited, have failed when they had chances, or is Christian Kirksey, who is just a crappy version of Benardrick McKinney.

2. After hoping for the offensive line to finally be good, after all the investment, I’m done guessing on it, or projecting what happens with it. I have zero expectations. I’ll just wait until it happens. Plus, Cannon is a good player. The difference between him and Fulton, and going from Justin Britt to Nick Martin, isn’t a tremendous difference. It’s going to be up to Max Scharping to finally put an entire season together, and for Tytus Howard to learn how to run block, in order for there to be a monumental difference in their offensive line play.

1. Linebackers are like every breath you will ever take over the course of your life; you can never have enough of them.

2. I’m guessing they will start Bradley Roby and Terrance Mitchell on the outside. I’d still like to see Lonnie Johnson Jr. play cornerback, especially in a zone heavy scheme like this, where he can use his body to jam receivers, squeeze them along the sideline, and chase and tackle—something he improved on last year. King will play the slot. Hopefully they don’t force him to play too much man coverage.

3. After the contract restructure Houston is stuck with Tunsil for another season. I can’t imagine a world where they trade him either, even if it is the right decision to make. Houston has remained adamant about keeping their previous failures around. Tunsil is no different.

4. One of the things we have learned over the years, is that there is a kernel of truth in every rumor. After the past few years, there isn’t a rumor you can completely right off. I don’t feel one way or the other about Mike Lombardi’s claim.

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If you ever have any Texans questions, for the show or whenever, you can always reach out to me @Matt__Weston.