The Houston Texans are inept, woefully directionless, and incapable of logic.
The Week 18 win over the downtrodden Indianapolis Colts propelled the Texans out of the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, which is now held by the Chicago Bears. In an act of malevolent and ominous guile, Lovie Smith gave us one parting win before he was inexcusably fired as head coach. He must have knew he was being let go before the game, otherwise he never would have gone for two at the end of the game.
To close out the Groupthinks for this unremarkable 2022 season I ask a historical question to put this victory into perspective:
Very simply, where does this rank in the worst things to happen to the franchise?
Oh I don’t know. We’ve had last second losses that felt about the same. This was a car wreck that could be seen a mile away and yet there was nothing that could be done. The Saturday Colts have/had a spectacularly brilliant ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. They are so brilliant it almost feels purposeful but we know it isn’t. It’s more the confluence of events that staggers the mind. Fourth and 20. A desperation throw. The Colts simple inability to knock it down. You can’t put it together better than that.
In the end, it’s just a football game. It’s one slot in a fairly deep QB draft. The key is what happens from here. If it results in thinking that they don’t need a QB then it becomes a HUGE deal. If Cal thinks this victory is anything but a colossal blown opportunity it could be a huge deal. If they immediately start scouting Young and Stroud then this has a chance to be okay. Who knows? Maybe the Bears draft a defender. Maybe a team that leapfrogs us makes the wrong choice. I prefer not to compile misery onto misery until it happens. Maybe Cal makes some smart decisions. We can hope right?
There have been far, far worse things to happen to this franchise than losing a game that costs them the #1 pick in the draft. Houston allowed a minor-league level Youth Pastor to drive a playoff contending franchise into the muck we see now. Houston blew a 24 point playoff lead, had a franchise quarterback, only to alienate him and then see that player become so toxic they couldn’t off-load him for over a year...we can go on and on for this. Yes, the #1 pick would have been a nice silver lining for this dark cloud of a season, but this season, there are some quality QB prospects (Will Levis doesn’t count).
The key is what are the Texans going to do this off-season. For the first time in several seasons, there will be significant cap room. The team is armed with a plethora of draft picks, and some of the picks from the past couple of seasons show some significant promise. Now, who will calls the shots on the field and in the GM office, TBD. There is a chance for optimism and hope, but as always tempered. The Texans had the #1 pick before, and none of those three got the team to the promised land. The team has never had the #2 pick. Maybe it will work out. Besides, is it ever a bad thing to stick it to Indy in their house? I think not.
If we’re going by the full span of franchise history, all 20+ years of it, it’s probably not the worst thing to happen. Hell. it probably doesn’t crack the top 10. But I think the reason this stings so bad is that if there was one thing the Texans were good at last year, it was losing. You could almost set your watch to when Davis Mills would throw his traditional “what in Durga’s name were you thinking” game-losing interception, that’s how good they were. And then when the “prize” we’d been consoling ourselves with all season came within reach, the Texans tripped over their own feet and coughed it up to the friggin’ Bears.
They were good at losing until you wanted them to start losing, then they’d start to suck at losing. That sucked. Will not having the top overall pick and, by default, a guarantee to get Bryce Young make this list? Maybe, only time will tell. The only thing you can count on the Texans for is to always be able to identify the worst, dumbest, yet funniest, outcome to a situation and run headlong for it. Giving up the first pick was just more of the same.
In my opinion this is the most self-sabotage I’ve seen in a while. I truly think there were a core group of players who thought “I’m not going to be on this roster next year, so I might as well get mine while I can.” That thought process most likely extends to former HC Lovie Smith. If I’m him and I know I’m getting canned in less than 24 hours, I’m not granting any well-wishes to this team.
Other instances of catastrophe I can recall was O’Brien’s trading of DeAndre Hopkins for peanuts. We gave away our most talented player while also taking on a worse contract. The team has never been the same since.
As well, and there may be some legitimate criticism here, I think former owner Bob McNair passing away has been a huge loss to the ownership group. The quantity of horrific mistakes and blunders made by the team since his passing has been quantum-changing. For all his bias thoughts, he ran a tight ship professionally. The team took a while to get on its feet, but you felt that year after year they were heading in the right direction. The son and wife do not elicit the same feeling.
Additionally, Deshaun Watson’s famed and alleged allegations put the franchise in a spiral. The entire future weighed on his shoulders... and yeah I’m not going to finish that metaphor.
This team is not a lovable loser. There is nothing to love here, just hope for brighter days in the future, even if we are actively working to make that future more distant.
Everything hurts. As a studier of the draft, it makes the next four months all the more difficult. Who knows what Chicago will do, but it’s now not in our control anymore.