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Some people are fans of the Houston Texans. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Houston Texans. This 2018 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.

Your team: Houston Texans

Your 2017 record: 4-12. Goddamn if the Texans didn’t at least TRY to be the biggest disaster to befall the state of Texas last year. Really a stunning effort. The team insisted on opening the season with Tom Savage as the starter, which resulted in this:

Amazing. It’s like watching reverse footage of Frankenstein getting up from the table. The Texans gave up the charade and benched Savage after his Week 1 performance, which prompted a remarkably detailed and futile tape-eating analysis from his own agent. And really, what better resource will you find out there for Tom Savage takes? Even Tom Savage’s mom has no Tom Savage takes.

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Stud rookie Deshaun Watson took over and the Texans averaged nearly 35 points a game thereafter, culminating in a 41-38 duel with Russell Wilson that, despite ending in a loss, portended not only remarkable things for Watson and the Texans, but for the very future of football itself. I saw it with my own eyes, I tell you. I watched those two brilliant talents duke it out at the Clink and I thought to myself, “I have seen the future. This is the NFL’s salvation. Roger Goodell should get on his wrinkly ginger knees and praise GOD that these two men are here to show his doomed sport the way to redemption: games featuring relentless up-tempo attacks and precision mobile passing and dexterous young men scampering all over the field, booting out to the weak side and zinging LASERS to their impossibly athletic counterparts!” It was all there, so pure and beautiful. I wanted to cry.

And then Watson tore ACL in practice four days later. More Tom Savage for everyone!

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We cannot have nice things in this sport.

Watson was the lone bright spot in a Texans season that was otherwise a 17-week referendum on how big of a racist shitbag owner Bob McNair is. McNair, seen here setting out to collect gambling debts for the East London mob…

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…is a fucking horrible human being who can’t even be bothered to disguise his unyielding and total contempt for the players he employs, along with the rest of humanity in general. When excellent tackle Duane Brown staged a holdout and then had the temerity to openly criticize McNair, he was shipped off to the Seahawks a week later. When a cheerleader privately complained to the team about low wages ($2.75 an hour!) and having her stomach duct-taped by her coach, she was summarily dismissed. When Watson went down and the team had a chance to sign Colin Kaepernick (whose style of play would have easily fit into what they were doing with Watson), they blithely passed, with head coach Bill O’Brien noting that Kaepernick “hasn’t played football in a while.” Gee, I wonder why!

And then, of course, there was McNair grousing openly to other owners about the National Anthem demonstrations, telling his fellow wealthy cannibals that they couldn’t have the “inmates run the prison.” That prompted DeAndre Hopkins to walk out on a team practice and nearly the entire Texans roster to take a knee during the anthem the following week. Here now is what McNair did in response to the backlash generated by that comment:

  1. He apologized, but appended his statement with the fabled “if anyone was offended” clause, because he’s very sorry, but also if you were offended you’re kind of a pussy.
  2. He clarified that he was referring to league office employees as inmates, which makes it better! I ONLY CONSIDER YOU-A SCUM-A COMPARED TO KRUSTY!
  3. Realizing that he actually lives a consequence-free existence, he retracted the apology. Actually, was he said he was right on and awesome.

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McNair is the most racist owner in the NFL, which is kind of like being the dumbest Trump.

Oh, and JJ Watt got hurt again. I’m glad he found his second calling as a philanthropist, because his football career is pretty much over. He can juice up as much as he likes; it’s only gonna cause his groin muscles to liquefy faster.

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Your coach: Bill O’Brien. Every year, O’Brien makes his frowny diaper face on the sideline and then NFL beat guys are like, “This guy could be a sneaky hot commodity in the offseason market!” and then the Texans keep him aboard even though 9-7 is the absolute ceiling of any Bill O’Brien–coached team. I am baffled by the mystique this man holds over NFL front offices. Maybe it’s the chinbutt. I wonder what would happen if you really dug into that thing. I wonder if there’s very small, twinned Bill O’Brien head hidden within it. What if there’s a whole GALAXY in there, where every QB gets horribly injured and no defense is ever more than the sum of its parts? I am haunted by its mystery.

By the way, O’Brien again goes into this season without an offensive coordinator. Yep, he’s calling his own plays like a big boy!

“Every year, you have to evaluate,” O’Brien said recently. “You have to start with yourself. This will be my seventh year as a head coach (including two seasons at Penn State), and the more I get into this now, I think you have to say like what are your strengths?”

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Well, guess what? Bill O’Brien has thought long and hard about it, and what he came away with is that he absolutely kicks ASS at calling plays, so long as everyone is healthy and nothing is out of place whatsoever.

Your quarterback: It’s Deshaun Watson, who is already the best QB in franchise history. But since last year proved that God is trying to tell you, in every way possible, that you should STOP watching football, your quarterback is probably gonna be Brandon Weeden at some point. Ah yes, Brandon Weeden. What a perfect, near-clone of Deshaun Watson to have as backup. Sometimes defenders in practice can’t tell which QB is which! Brandon Weeden is 87 years old and the Texans will pay for being such shitty short-term planners.

What’s new that sucks: The Honey Badger’s here! After refusing to take a pay cut in Arizona, Tyrann Mathieu signed with Houston for a somewhat surprising one-year, $7 million contract. How did the Texans get such a nice little bargain? Could it be the soft collusion between NFL owners that resulted in a depressed safety market where even marquee names are having trouble finding jobs? No no no, that would NEVER happen in Bob McNair’s NFL. Couldn’t be.

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As for the rest of this Texans roster, it’s more or less the same because the team gave away its first-round pick to get Watson (smart) and its second-round pick to be rid of Brock Osweiler (smart only if you leave out how dumb it was to sign him to begin with). Brian Cushing retired, which means that the locker room Winstrol supply will suffer HORRIBLY in his absence. Otherwise, this is a talented but shallow roster that will succeed almost solely based on Watson and Watt staying healthy and the rest of the AFC South sucking ass. Don’t bet on any of that being the case. The AFC South is kind of good now. It’s disorienting. I feel drunk.

What has always sucked: I’m not over McNair being a piece of shit. I wanna say it again: He’s a real piece of shit! This spring the team had to deny reports that they wouldn’t sign any free agent who would kneel during the anthem. Do you believe the Texans when they say this? Of course you don’t. Their word is spit. They’d put O’Brien in at QB if Kaepernick was the only other option. Last year was proof that Bob McNair is more committed to reflecting the very worst values of his home state than actually winning football games. Why else do you think he gave the Texans such a boring, stupid nickname? His priority is cultivating the loyalty of every oilboy who cries out YEEHAW! any time a family is separated at the border and every yahoo that phones the sheriff whenever they see a FUCK TRUMP bumper sticker. He doesn’t give a fuck about his players and he doesn’t give a fuck about you. I hope he dies in a tent prison.

As for Houston itself, that whole joint smells like burnt diesel fuel mixed with BO. Even Jacksonville, which smells like a mix of half-processed wood pulp and Maxwell House, offers a better olfactory experience. For every reasonable Houston resident, there is a dude in a 10-gallon hat firing off six-shooters every time the EPA declines to investigate a hurricane-related chemical spill. Texas is basically Ground Zero for the kind of proud American ignorance that is currently devouring this country whole. That is why I say to Houston that your team sucks and your owner is a liver-spotted penis and you will always be the team that’s not the Cowboys.

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James Harden is a fucking choker.

What might not suck: Watson still has Hopkins and the brittle Will Fuller to lob balls to, and it’s gonna be AMAZING to watch … for five weeks.

Also, it was genuinely life-affirming to watch Americans band together to help out Houston after Hurricane Harvey. If you’re in need, rest assured that your countrymen will be there for you. UNLESS you’re Puerto Rico. Then apparently you’re on your fucking own.

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Let’s remember a guy who sucked: Steve Slaton. If you mention the name Steve Slaton to me, I reflexively hurl myself out a window. One good year. This man had one good year and summarily VANISHED from the fucking landscape. Was he doing whale steroids as a rookie? The fuck happened? This man cost me $10. I demand answers.

HEAR IT FROM TEXANS FANS! 

Zach:

Deshaun Watson is gonna be RG3 and I already hate myself for saying it.

Raj:

Bob McNair.

Skew:

After week 9 my closet officially had an IR section for Watt and Watson.

Joe:

So many people sent JJ Watt so much money after Hurricane Harvey that it would be almost impossible for him not to commit half a dozen crimes trying to get rid of it.

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Craig:

I wish the Texans’ secondary and offensive line had the same depth as Bill O’Brien’s chin dimple. It looks like a fucking Mayan cenote. There may or may not be a Thai boys’ soccer team trapped inside it.

Aaron:

Me and my brother once bought inflatable mallets to take to the Texans game, to show our support of Ryan Mallet. Of course, he was hurt by the time the game came around. God I am a loser.

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John:

I’m a PE teacher in California. One day I wore a long sleeved Houston Texans shirt when it was cold. It has the big stupid bull logo on it. When my students gathered up for roll call, one of them asked, “Is that a Houston Texans shirt?” and I hastily replied, “Yes it is!” Fully expecting to engage some of them about the wonders of Deshaun Watson or Deandre Hopkins, the little turd looked at his buddies and said, “Dude, the Texans suck.” And most, if not all of the class just erupted into laughter.

And he was right; they do suck. I spent the rest of the school year trying to regain control of my class.

I HATE THIS STUPID TEAM AND THEIR STUPID NAME!

Grant:

The owner is racist and always wondering why people are upset about racism.

Tommy:

The only thing that this franchise will ever be Top 5 in the league in will be Owners Who Might Be Holocaust Deniers.

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Mikhail:

We lost ALL the goodwill that people sent us after Harvey because McNair has wet dreams about the Anthem, while Rick Smith has similar wet dreams about McNair himself. May the Jags sack Watson into retirement & beat us by 90, we fucking deserve it.

Donald:

The fan base is equal parts #MAGA rednecks from the shitty suburbs who drive obnoxious jacked up trucks and cholos from inside the loop who drive slightly less obnoxious lowered trucks. There is literally no in between.

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Mark:

This city is a bunch of fair-weather fans that will celebrate when you are winning and then disappear from the stands when you lose only to show up at your house with pickaxes, pitchforks and fire torches.

Faegen:

I honestly don’t know what will happen first: JJ Watt and Deshaun Watson finishing a season uninjured, or George RR Martin finishing the next Game of Thrones book.

Bill O’Brien promised to dedicate the season to the people of Houston following Hurricane Harvey. They dedicated a season where they finished 4-12. Meanwhile, the Houston Astros won the World Series and the Houston Rockets became the number 1 seed in the NBA Western Conference.

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Brock:

Because our two best players have one good leg, collectively.

Because after finally finding a franchise QB, Deshaun Watson tore his ACL in a non-contact drill literally the morning after the Astros won the World Series. God damn you Texans.

Also, Rick Smith and Brock Osweiler can fist each other with HulkHands.

Mike:

JJ Watt is a mangled ball of meat who played all of eight games the last two years.

I live in NYC and laughed my ass off when I heard the Rockets plan to sign ‘Melo. The Rockets blow and will lose in the first round next year.

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AJ:

Watson’s going to have to retire at 29 because the OL is going to let him get murdered.

The NFL is so irrelevant in Houston now after the Astros championship and the Rockets deep playoff run. You could probably copy and paste your blog from last year and take the day off.

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Bryan:

If I thought I could get away with it, I’d dig up Bud Adams’ fat ass corpse and slap his fat ass face for not letting us keep the Oilers name and logo. We used to have one of the best name/uni combos in the NFL and now everything about our team feels like it was created by an 8th grader at graphic design summer camp.

Fuck Charley Casserly with his own wig.

Michael:

I’m honestly shocked that Bob McNair hasn’t spoken out against the “inmates” who have seized control of Papa John’s board of directors.

In a way, McNair represents a last gasp of the real “Old Houston”: moneyed, loudly and stupidly prejudiced, and incapable of empathizing with those around him. I say “old Houston” because the cityscape surrounding McNair’s gilded River Oaks neighborhood has transformed into the nation’s most diverse. I no longer live in Houston, but watching the city drown during Hurricane Harvey was gut-wrenching. Checking in on family and friends during that nightmarish week, watching endless news coverage of the destruction and donating as much money to charity as was possible all culminated in one of the most intense rushes of emotion in my life when Jose Altuve fielded a routine grounder for the final out of the World Series. The resilience of Houstonians made me love my hometown from afar, despite its endless sprawl and molasses-like humidity. People from all over the world came together as Houstonians to help each other recover from disaster and a large, often-injured defensive line goober from Peewaukee, Wisconsin raised enough money for charity that, regardless of personal corniness, he will always be recognized as a patron saint for the football-crazy city of Houston.

All of that said, Jose Altuve’s batting average is still higher than the percentage of cartilage left in Deshaun Watson’s knees.

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Mark:

A head coach whose leading credential is that he’s a “knowledgeable guru of quarterback talent” went through an entire summer training camp and decided Tom Savage was the best option to start at quarterback in Week 1. Two months of evaluation and planning was then thrown out the window after one half.

Two years ago they spent a first round draft pick on a wide receiver whose main weakness is that he doesn’t have good hands.

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John:

We are a mediocre franchise that, for some reason, people feel is always on the verge of being a legitimate playoff team.

Taylor:

I graduated from UH, so you can bet that when Case Keenum was announced that he was starting for the Texans in 2013, I picked up a Keenum jersey (the only football jersey I’ve ever owned!). Looking back on that purchase five years later, I’m not at all surprised that he’s become a relatively successful journeyman QB . . . with every other team he plays with.

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Chuck:

Carr

Schaub

Rosenfels

Leinart

Yates

Keenum

Fitzpatrick

Mallett

Hoyer

Weeden

Osweiler

Savage

Watson

We have wasted JJ Watt’s prime with that shit and no longer have a healthy Watt to go with a franchise quarterback. Fans will wait for Watt to get healthy, just like Yao Ming, which will never happen. But it was fun while it lasted. And we still get HEB commercials.

Our favorite head coach and coordinator left and won a fucking Super Bowl with a shit quarterback.

We tailgate on an asphalt frying pan with zero shade as Houston summer lasts well into November.

Bob McNair is racist and donated $4.5 million to Trump, the largest amount of any NFL owner.

There are no Texans fans outside of the Beltway.

They are shit in prime time (Sunday & Monday night) when they play decent teams.

And finally, Texans fans feel there is some rivalry between the Texans and Cowboys. Sorry to break it to you, but the Cowboys and their fans don’t care. You cannot establish a rivalry playing every 4 years, the stupid preseason game doesn’t count. We are like the annoying little brother always trying to pick a fight or start some shit.

Fuck this organization with Toro’s horn covered in BBQ sauce.

Taylor:

Bob McNair is a racist skin tag who 100% considers Jerry Jones a role model.

Everything about this team is boring. They make unsweetened almond milk seem spicy. This is the most forgettable franchise, in the most forgettable division, playing in the most forgettable of the country’s large cities, made up of a group of the most forgettable players in history. And that’s all under a team name that serves only to remind everyone which state it’s in. Even the star player is just a Goshdarn Good Fella™ named J.J. who has all the charisma of a room temperature glass of skim milk. Thank goodness he doesn’t kneel during the anthem.

(Okay, he helped raise a crapload of money for Harvey victims, so I don’t really mean anything I say about his character. He seems like a genuinely good dude. So I’ll just “stick to sports” and mock him for football reasons instead.)

J.J. Watt has played 8 games in the last two seasons, and he has 1.5 sacks to show for it. The injuries that kept him out of all those games were the two injuries that are the most difficult to come back from. In 2016, he herniated a disc in his back - twice. Then last year he literally broke his knee. I know he was a freak of nature, but there’s a zero percent chance he comes back in the same form as his last good season in 2015. He’s three years older, he’s had two back surgeries and a knee surgery, and he’s only been off crutches for like 6 months. He’s going to slip on a banana peel while sprinting out of the tunnel in Week 3 and lacerate his jugular on his own torn ACL.

This offseason, the Texans signed Brandon Weeden, who looks like your older sister’s annoying boyfriend.

If you ask any other Texans fan, they’ll tell you that Deshaun Watson is a football angel sent directly from Heaven to lead the team to a 16-0 season and their first championship. They will not accept discussion on the matter, despite the fact that in the seven games he played last year, they only went 3-4! They only think he’s amazing because all they have to compare him to are a bunch of scrubs. The last four quarterbacks to win a game for the Texans besides Deshaun Watson are Tom Savage (Kmart Nicholas Cage), Brock Osweiler (LOL), Brian Hoyer (though he doesn’t remember the game due to concussions), and Brandon Weeden (who looks more like a “Chad” than anyone actually named “Chad”).

After losing Watson to a knee injury (of course), the Texans performed an accidental on-purpose tank job and lost 8 of their last 9 games to finish 4-12. That’s third worst in the league! BUT… because they traded away high picks to pick up Deshaun and dump Brock in 2017, they didn’t get a pick this year until the third round. So their tank job moved their top pick all the way up to number 68 overall! And they picked… Marion Cooper. A player so forgettable that I made up that name just now. I don’t even care who they picked. And neither does anyone else. Caring is for chumps.

Being a fan of the Texans is sad in a different way than being a fan of the Browns or the Jets. At least people remember that those teams exist. And their fans wade daily into a pool of despair, so there’s generational, institutional sadness there. But the Texans don’t even inspire strong emotions. If I’m watching the Texans squander a lead or miss an easy tackle or get stomped into the ground by a real NFL team, I don’t curse or drink myself into a stupor or verbally abuse my children like a fan who actually cares. I shrug and take a nap or find whatever game Tony Romo is excitedly breaking down on CBS. That’s the biggest indictment of this team that I can offer. They don’t even make me care. They breed apathy. Go Astros.

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Submissions for the 2018 Deadspin NFL previews are now closed. Next up: Denver Broncos.