Some people are fans of the Houston Texans. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Houston Texans. This 2021 Defector NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.
Your team: AAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
Guess who ended up not being here after this happened.
Your 2020 record: 4-12. If you’ve lived in a cave for the past year—come to think of it, you might have—and you knew NOTHING about the year in Texans news and just looked at their bare record, you’d think, “Oh OK, they had a shitty season, fired their idiot head coach, and are probably ready to have their shit together now after all that.” But OHHHHHHHH, oh what a disservice your presumed ignorance would do you there.
However, before I dive headlong into this dignity crematorium, the Football Footballians DID play some football last season, so let’s start off with how that went:
NOW LET’S SEE WHAT HAPPENED EXACTLY TWO WEEKS LATER:
Let’s keep being ignorant for a moment. Just for fun. If this were a NORMAL dysfunctional NFL team, we’d already have a process in place to address the case of chronic endgame mudbutt you just witnessed. The Texans fired head coach/acting GM/head rent-a-cop Bill O’Brien after Week 4 and could have had their pick of the coaching litter after the fact. The ritualistic Firing Of The Coach should be a HAPPY occasion. You got rid of O’Brien and his paleontological dig of a chin cleft. Now you can hire a REAL coach—an Eric Bieniemy, perhaps—and a real GM to orchestrate a quick rebuild around one of the best young quarterbacks in football. All very easy. Thankfully, that’s EXACTLY how the Texans went about conducting their offseason, which is how they ended up with…
Your coach: …Eric Bieniemy!
[aide quietly, frantically whispers into my ear]
Wait, it’s not? Who’d they hire then?
[aide fumbles through a manila folder and shows me the following picture]
They hired a state attorney general to coach this team?
[more frantic whispering]
[even more whispering]
Well that doesn’t explain anything.
Then again, NOTHING explains the current state of the Texans. I’ve been watching football and hating on NFL teams since before you were weaned off your mom’s titty, but I’ve truly never seen a team self-destruct so quickly and so INEXPLICABLY. Just going through the facts of it blows my mind over and over again. It’s like Source Code but for shooting yourself in the dick. After O’Brien was fired, the Texans handed over official GM duties to another Patriots castoff in Nick Caserio, and then handed over essentially all-encompassing powers to THIS guy.
That’s former Patriots team chaplain and glorified HR mercenary Jack Easterby, who so has thoroughly charmed team heir Cal McNair—seen here auditioning to play Dr. Rick—that McNair allowed him to consolidate all vital decision-making within the organization and foster an atmosphere of paranoia and distrust that’s clearly destructive but also INCREDIBLY ENTERTAINING:
Within his first few weeks with the Texans, though, Easterby began making requests of multiple football operations departments to prepare presentations or reports, seeking specific information without disclosing how it would be used. Easterby framed these asks as a learning exercise. Looking back now, many of his colleagues wonder whether he was collecting the intel he would need to run a team.
That’s from the definitive Sports Illustrated report, by Jenny Vrentas and Greg Bishop, that laid bare both Easterby’s total control over the Texans and the painfully inept ways in which he has wielded that control. Usually with people like Easterby, there’s enough Hillsong energy to make you think they’re normal for a good, like, 10 minutes. But all I have to do is look at this upright turd of a man to know he’s the exact type of fella who will make all his colleagues eternally frustrated and afraid, who will drive away the most beloved player in franchise history, and who will alienate the SECOND-most beloved player in franchise history.
But wait! I’m not even CLOSE to being done yet. Easterby also shoved out the team president, the most beloved publicist in the league (do you know how hard it is to become a publicist that journalists actually LIKE?), and was reportedly the actual mastermind behind a DeAndre Hopkins trade that turned out to be exactly as catastrophic as we all, along with Hopkins himself, knew it would be. Nothing beats watching an otherwise decent NFL team instantly dissolve into a men’s prayer group for a few rich old guys who have no hobbies. More teams should try not to be teams, if you ask me.
Anyway, the new coach’s name is David Culley. Your new defensive coordinator is fired Illinois disgrace Lovie Smith, who would make a better head coach for the Texans RIGHT NOW than his boss. Here is the rare team that is actually somehow in a worse position since firing its old head coach. This whole team got on the fucking Lost plane.
Do they have a Guy on the coaching staff? None! They couldn’t even get that part right.
Your quarterback: Tyrod Taylor, eventually. Again, I’m looking at another situation without precedent. At least when the Chargers let Drew Brees walk, it was because they thought his shoulder was made out of wet Ritz crackers. In the case of Deshaun Watson, the Texans had what they thought was a gifted young passer with a sterling reputation who gave them the ability to rebuild instantly. They could have supplied Watson with a coach like Bieniemy (whom Watson specifically requested they interview) and kept Watson’s best teammates in the fold.
Instead, they went out of their way to piss Watson off, compelled him to demand a trade, refused to trade him when a dozen other teams would have traded their fucking stadiums for him, and then watched as Watson got accused of being a serial sexual predator and became the most radioactive asset in a league where Frank Clark is still employed. You and I have brains and even we’d have no idea what to do in the Texans’ current predicament. So imagine how completely fucking lost the Texans themselves are. It’s like handing Andrea Yates another child. Here now is the situation as of this writing: Watson reported to camp under the assumption on both ends that doing so would help showcase his trade value, which according to a source I’ll codename Ack Jeasterby, amounts to this:
Absolutely. Who wouldn’t give up the farm for a man who could be arrested and/or banished to the exempt list at any given moment? Gonna be a real awkward year. My guess here, and it’s an educated one, is that the Texans sign Tom Savage to make this all go away.
What’s new that sucks: JJ Watt was granted his release and promptly joined Hopkins in Arizona. I don’t know how the Texans suddenly became the Cardinals’ farm team, but that’s the mystery of God for you. Phillip Lindsay is here from Denver, because David Johnson tears an ankle ligament every other Wednesday practice. Laremy Tunsil occupies the largest cap hit on this roster and ranked 27th among tackles in PFF ratings last season. Remember: The Texans traded TWO first-rounders to Miami for Tunsil’s services. Miami turned those two first-rounders into four. I’m gonna learn how to stage games of three-card monte so that I can move to Houston, move into Cal’s pool house, and swindle him out of the rest of his daddy’s money.
The Texans also signed a passel of decent free agents, Mark Ingram most notable among them, to give off the appearance of attempted excellence. In reality, this team is run the same way Greg Abbott runs Texas itself.
What has always sucked: The Texans stadium is located in a desert of parking lots that expands to the horizon. It’s about as accessible as an airport and even less charming. The nearest restaurant is a Pappadeaux. The second-nearest restaurant is located in Beijing. Given what I’ve seen and what I know about Texans fans, they wouldn’t have it any other way. Only the stupidest, most inconvenient, most flavorless gameday experience will do. Other fanbases have a culture around them. The Texans have an endless frontage road.
The kicker here is that I’m gonna have to listen to Houston people tell me how sneaky underrated their city is. Well, this is the one summer Houston didn’t suffer from a catastrophic hurriquake, so I’m under no obligation to be gentle this time around. FUCK Houston, and fuck the burgeoning Houston Snob Industrial Complex, which is already poised to topple over into permanent insufferability. Here we have a city with no laws, no decent schools, and no reliable public transport. It also has the same climate as Karbala. And yet I’m already hearing yappy Houston fanboys—or “Hou-sters,” as I’ve just cleverly dubbed them—be like Y’ALL SLEEPIN’ ON US, like this city has a personality. Fuck off, Houston defenders. I hope they build an oil derrick atop your boiled asshole.
Brandin Cooks still blows. Cole Toner is a VERY silly name for a person. I’d rather live in Cole Beasley’s house than live in fucking Texas.
Ratto says: Everything you can say about this chewed-up gum of a franchise has already been said above. Some people think it could be good this year, but that’s missing the central point, which is that God has some serious locust-based plans for these guys.
What might not suck: Now that Watson is evil, let’s all say a little prayer for Whitney Mercilus and hope he ends up in Cardinals red a year from now.
HEAR IT FROM TEXANS FANS!
We FINALLY got a franchise QB only for it to turn out to be Bill fucking Cosby.
Good thing I’ve been a Cardinals fan my entire life now since four months ago.
Our owner is in thrall to a cult leader with all the charm of a mattress store so I guess they represent Houston pretty well actually.
The Texans could fuck up a wet dream.
I have at least come around to thinking it’s deeply hilarious that Bob McNair’s failson is getting fleeced by a charlatan minister.
David Culley was the passing game coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens. Which raises the question: the Ravens had a passing game?
This year the Texans have finally managed to take the joy out of insulting them. I’m writing this on my phone as I poop. I’m truly done being a fan of this team.
I was born in Houston and only lived there til I was five, and even though I’ve lived in goddamn Alabama for the last 26 years those first few in Houston were dumb as hell. Our idea of fun was riding down the water drainage systems in inner tubes; avoiding the crazy kid who SHOT my sister with a BB gun at point blank range one time; and climbing onto the roof and trying to Frog Splash dive onto the family dog to practice for my WWE career. All of it was better than living now as a Texans fan.
The team let an egomaniacal head coach seize complete power, firing the GM, leading to a host of bad contracts (see: Tunsil, Laremy), bad trades (see: Hopkins, DeAndre), and bad drafts (see: 2019, 2020). This, shockingly, is the least likely reason the Texans suck, since Bill O’Brien made the playoffs a few times and then lost in humiliating fashion. The only way the 2021 Texans make the playoffs is if the entire AFC forfeits 15 games because of an ongoing, three-month COVID scare.
The best QB in franchise history, and the best in Houston since Hall of Famer and domestic abuser Warren Moon, turned out to be a serial abuser who is unrepentant and currently locked in a court case which could last for a year or more. Because said Deshaun requested a trade right before news of his creepiness broke, he is in a weird limbo of being affiliated with the Texans while probably never playing for the team again.
The team has alienated every star, past and present, in franchise history. This is a team that has had very, very, very few stars in its brief history. And yet, here we are, with Andre Johnson refusing to be associated with them any more and J.J. Watt was released as a mitzvah to him so he could choose which franchise to pick next. This team needs every player it can get and couldn’t even get a draft pick for Watt.
Watt was legit beloved in Houston. Even by people who did not follow football. He gave back to the community in big ways and small ones. His help after Hurricane Harvey did a lot of good. And the Texans cut him to make way for a “better culture.” In short, the Texans currently have a clueless owner, a religious zealot in charge of the front office, a Patriots clone making roster moves, a head coach who has never been a head coach in 30 years of football, and no stars on the roster.
So yeah, they suck.
By now you all know the laughingstock clusterfuck story of my team. Religious charlatan sycophant wins power struggle for real life Tommy Boy failson owner’s trust over staggeringly inept butt-chinned coach/GM/mastermind. All the good players were traded or given their walking papers, except for the wonderboy QB who currently has more sexual assault cases pending than career wins. In one short season, the Texans fucked so much up that they made this idiot finally wise up and give up cheering for NFL teams forever. So, uh, thanks I guess??
I cannot imagine an organism without basic cognitive function could be more willfully stupid than the Houston Texans are. This is a team owned by a failson among failsons, who got his MBA from a business school that now bears his last name. The most powerful figure on the team is a religious zealot who wouldn’t know what a run/pass option was if it nailed him to a goddamn cross. That same zealot convinced the failson to hire the only general manager candidate in the NFL that would allow him to keep cashing a paycheck.
The head coach is a Guy. His only offensive coordinator experience was one year with UT-El Paso thirty fucking years ago. He’s a guy whose previous teams all seem to improve whenever he moves on to his next job. He’s a guy who, on the day he was hired by the Houston Texans, said his dream job was to be the head football coach for some backwater high school in Tennessee.
The best player on our team, the best quarterback in our sad-ass franchise’s history, is a guy who can’t keep his hands and his dick to himself and hates playing for the Texans so much he’s willing to miss as much time as it takes to force a trade elsewhere.
This is a team that has turned its season ticket holders nto little more than grocery store loyalty rewards program subscribers where you get to spend thousands of dollars for the perk of going to Texans training camp (which had previously been free to the public) to watch what might be the worst team in franchise history do deep knee lunges in triple digit August heat and humidity.
The only things this team has given me to look forward to are what kind of underwhelming trade haul they’ll get for Deshaun Watson when they inevitably trade him and somehow screw that trade up too, and the possibility of the Texans being the first 0-17 team in NFL history. That is it, end of fucking list.
That all said, I’m probably going to wind up at a bar (assuming everything doesn’t shut down again) week in and week out, spending irrational amounts of money on food (and way more booze this year) to watch this team shit the bed on a weekly basis, because I’m stupid and I make bad decisions.
Fuck this team. Go Texans.
Fuck Bill O’Brien with Greg Abbott’s dick.
This team once made me care about Matt Schaub. His 2011 leg injury absolutely destroyed me. Fuck this team. We don’t deserve nice things.
It is barely even funny anymore how sad the Texans’ situation has become. I long for the days of Matt Schaub, and nothing further needs to be said.
About the only thing going for either of our franchises is that the old one had one of the best uniforms ever but we can’t use it or the Oilers name because for some reason the NFL didn’t give us the same option they gave Cleveland, if I want to play as the Oilers in Madden I have to play as our hated arch rival who left us.
My granddad saw the Oilers rip off a couple of AFL titles before the merger and turned my dad into a rabid Oilers fan, and then turned me into a rabid Oilers fan. He never got to see his beloved team in a Super Bowl and now he never will, because he didn’t survive living in Greg Abbott’s Covid wonderland. I lost him about a week before the Deshaun Watson massage scandal broke so I guess I should be thankful for small mercies. I know I was supposed to write about the Texans but that’s not really the team anyone in Houston loves. We all cheer for a dead team and we always will. What is grief if not Luv Ya Blue persevering, I guess.
Nick Caserio cut me from a little league baseball team once. To be fair he was probably right to cut me, I had a bad tryout and wasn’t that good to begin with. It’s the way he cut me that I remember. He called me and gave me what felt like a 10 minute speech over the phone about his vision for the team and what I could’ve done to help him reach those goals. Even though I was only 13 I remember thinking to myself “Dude I get it, I’m cut, now shut the fuck up because you’re cutting into my Goldeneye time”
That team ended up going like 3-12. Good luck this year, Texans fans.
Submissions for the NFL previews are already closed, alas. Next up: Atlanta Falcons.