Photo: Michael Wyke (AP)

Some people are fans of the Houston Texans. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Houston Texans. This 2019 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.


Your team: Houston Texans.

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Your 2018 record: 11-5. AFC South champions. This came after an 0-3 start in which the Texans blew a game against the eventual Super Bowl champs because their head coach was too stupid to call a timeout to encourage an official review of a phony Gronk catch, and then too pigheaded to accept blame for his mistake afterward. The Texans also lost a game to Blaine Gabbert during that stretch. Amazing how Blaine Gabbert keeps lingering on the periphery of seemingly every team’s history. Somehow he’ll start nine games for Houston this season.

The Texans’ reward for clawing back from that 0-3 hole was a perfunctory home playoff loss to the Colts in which they fell behind 21-0 and never recovered. Almost like nothing the Texans do is of consequence in the end! Fancy that. 2018 represented the Texans really going for it, ripping off nine straight midseason wins and trading for Demaryius Thomas (who would go on to tear his Achilles), all in hopes of finally, after 17 years, doing something worth a shit in this league. They failed. They should be used to this sort of thing by now. The Texans are an eternal vacancy of football heritage.

Your coach: Crater-dimpled sourpuss Bill O’Brien, seen here after being told he now has permission to make soup from his players’ bones:

“Get me spoon!”

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O’Brien has won exactly one playoff game in his career here, and it came against a team forced to start Matt McGloin at quarterback. That has not stopped the Texans from giving O’Brien de facto authority over football operations after former GM Brian Gaine was ousted for a little downhome racism and the ensuing search to replace him was a tamper-happy circus of presumptuous assholery. The Texans tried to hire a Pats guy as GM only to end up getting caught breaking the rules and forced to hire the Pats’ team archbishop instead. O’Brien is free now to seek out “good learners” and swing what will surely be an uneven trade for holdout pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney.

The fact that O’Brien, who sucks, was somehow able to consolidate power despite barely having a winning record as a coach and NOT having any winning personality to speak of, says a lot about just how fucking bizarre the NFL is. O’Brien looks like he knows what he’s doing and acts like he’s knows what he’s doing, but he does NOT know what the fuck he’s doing. No matter. He gives off enough Serious Coaching Man vibes to bend an entire franchise to his will. Meanwhile, his QB got sacked 62 times last season. The NFL would be 500 percent better if anyone in it had a fucking brain.

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Your quarterback: Deshaun Watson, who somehow survived last season despite the Texans best efforts to do to him what the Panthers constantly try to do to Cam Newton. Racist hoodlum of an owner Bob McNair died last November, but not before he could make playing for the Texans so intolerable that cornerstone tackle Duane Brown had to gleefully accept a trade to Seattle the year prior. Here now to protect Watson’s blind side instead will be Panthers washout Matt Kalil, who can block about as good as your dad can at the moment. Please God, someone get Deshaun a competent offensive coaching staff and a line that isn’t made of toilet paper. I beg of you. Why would trade up for a gifted franchise QB only to let him die on the field and be subjected to Aryan Nation horseshit from local school superintendents? Because Texas, that’s why.

Your backup QB is eternal trade bait A.J. McCarron, who seems Gabberty enough for the job.

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What’s new that sucks: Like the Browns, the Texans are superficially loaded and yet have serious issues with depth and enormous, literal holes where there should not be enormous literal holes. You already know about the offensive line. You may not know that the Texans also had one of the worst pass defenses in football a year ago, despite playing the bulk of their games against a murderer’s row of horrific passers, including Nathan Peterman, Brock Osweiler, and probably Mike Tomczak. Trading away a vital pass rusher like Clowney (who is currently under a franchise tag, which forbids potential trade partners from negotiating a long-term contract with him as part of a deal) right before the season isn’t gonna help things much. Hell, even if they KEEP Clowney, look at what awaits him…

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In the draft, the Texans took a bigass tackle from Alabama (State!), plus a cornerback in Lonnie Johnson who got too chippy in camp even for a league that REVELS in training camp chippiness. The Texans also traded a fourth-rounder for Browns scatback Duke Johnson, which becomes a third-rounder if Johnson is active for 10 games, which he will be. They already have Lamar Miller. This is a DraftKings roster. It’s not constructed for actual football.

There are still no tight ends. DeAndre Hopkins is destined to have A.J. Green’s career trajectory. Will Fuller is never healthy.

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What has always sucked: As long as the Texans have been around, they have endeavored to make a name for themselves by being the most joyless, impersonal franchise outside of Foxboro. Look at their now deceased, liver-spotted dullard of a founding owner. Look at the ash-grey oil portraits, lining the hallways of team headquarters, of the head coaches who have been entrusted with the stewardship of the Texans since its inception: Capers, Kubiak, O’Brien. Look at how they’ve already bronzed J.J. Watt’s weightlifting belt while leaving poor Watson to run for his life. Look at their putrescent red zone offense. Look on and despair.

This was a team born in the shadow of the Dallas Cowboys and determined to stake their own claim to Texas by being a distinguished group of unflashy losers who live only to please the NASCAR infield denizens populating their airplane hangar of a stadium. When the Texans are good, it’s an unwelcome development for all parties involved. When they suck, and they often do, they fit right with the nebulous lump of AFC South goop they were born into. The Texans are the culminating masterstroke of Houston’s lawless zoning plan: an NFL team dropped in the center of a patchwork metropolis that desperately, desperately needed that $200 million in tax money for functional dams instead of a home for subpar football. Before Bob McNair died, he got to see his vision realized of a Texas, and an AMERICA, where his tasteless needs superseded that of anyone else’s. He will not be missed, nor will the Texans when they fall back into earned mediocrity.

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The Rockets will ruin Russell Westbrook.

What might not suck: Keke Coutee? ADORABLE.

HEAR IT FROM TEXANS FANS!

Jonathan:

Somehow the Patriots, of all teams, successfully accused us of cheating.

I wonder what internal organ the QB will hurt this year.

Michael:

Do you know how much you have to absolutely suck to make a football team irrelevant in Texas??

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Tristan:

I can’t possibly stand this team to be power-ranked #15-17 for another entire season. What a waste.

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Evan:

These incompetent muppets couldn’t even poach a middle management stuffed suit from the Patriots.

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Bryan:

At this point I would respect them more if they just traded all the good players to the Patriots so they could get a chance at success.

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Elliott:

They’ll go 8-8, win the division on a technicality and get their ass handed to them by the (input non-contender AFC team here).

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Tom:

Every time I get cut off by an asshole in a big truck it almost always has Texans crap plastered across the tailgate. However, if it has truck nuts then its Cowboys shit.

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Jim:

Contrary to the opinion of the thankfully departed Bob McNair, the only inmates associated with the Texans are the fans forced to watch Bill O’Brien run the ball on first down regardless of the game situation.

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Michael:

The Texans don’t have a general manager and there is a nonzero chance that a disgraced Trump administration cabinet member will fill the vacancy by the end of the year.

Management is enjoying its 17th year of goodwill that stems entirely from positioning itself as “Not run by Bud Adams!”

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Taylor:

At this point, the Texans are basically just a Patriots-themed cover band. Bill O’Brien looks like a mechanic that became a car salesman. The fans will never turn against the team, coaching staff, management, or ownership. They’ll keep wearing WWE-inspired Texans-themed costumes and lusting over JJ’s surgery scars and ignoring everything that’s telling them how bad the team is. Nothing will ever change.

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Dustin:

Why pay Tyrann Mathieu when he is coming of a career year when when we can pay over the hill Tashaun Gipson?

Bill O’Brien won ANOTHER power struggle. He’s rotten vanilla ice cream, and always finds a way to not take the blame, even tho for the last 5 fucking years every time we lose a game he says “I have to coach better.”

Jack Easterby a knock off dollar store versos of Jeff Bezos who LOVES HIS JESUS BABY if now our fucken Executive Vice President of Team Development. Which means instead of hiring a GM we decided to give BoB more power and the power of discount christ.

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Nic:

In the short amount of time that our perennially disappointing team has existed, we’ve managed to completely waste several generational talents. Andre Johnson’s career highlight was beating the shit out of Cortland Finnegan. Arian Foster’s career highlight was his supporting actor role in Draft Day (yes, I paid to see it on opening weekend). Just a few years ago, JJ Watt was living proof that a defensive player could never win the NFL MVP in the modern era. There was a stretch, circa-2014, where he was objectively the scariest Texan on defense AND offense. And yet what have those generational talents amount to? Pretty much nothing.

When someone asks why I root for the Texans, I have to explain to them that it was to spite my family full of Cowboys fans. I was born into rooting for the most popular team in the NFL, but instead choose to support the Texans... the least popular NFL team in the state of Texas, right behind the Cowboys and the Oilers. I’m an asshole.

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Daniel:

Evidently we do have a GM. It is a Mike Brown clone that will only emerge Kuato-like from Bill O’Brien’s chin to franchise tag players at positions they don’t even play. Pay Clowney, you dipshits.

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Benton:

Here’s a very obscure fact about our team: last year they switched the TD song from the surprisingly catchy “It’s Football Time in Houston” to the generic Ford commercial jingle “God Bless Texas”.

The former song is the magnum opus of widely beloved local celebrity and cancer survivor Clay Walker. The latter is the product of a band from Nashville, a city that hosts a division rival who stole the Oilers in 1995. But it has God in it, so feel good about that.

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Greg:

We, the taxpayers of Harris County, paid $145,000,000 so we could have a football stadium with a retractable roof. Which we did until that fateful day in 2005 when we thought we could melt the Steelers by opening the roof in September and making them wear their black jerseys. They curb-stomped us and remained so pissed off that they won the Super Bowl.

And the Texans never opened the roof again. Not even on the most perfect of days. Not even for games that were completely meaningless to the entire NFL. Not even after two letters from me to the Texans. Can you believe that?

Neither can I. It sucks.

David:

Jack Easterby has no Xs and Os expertise and instead focuses on the qualitative aspects of the game. He sets goals for players and sends encouraging notes to keep their spirits high during the grind that is an NFL season. Should this type of person be involved in personnel decisions? Probably not, and that is exactly why the Texans hired him for such an important role.

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Mark:

How is it that every year, a player/coach leaves this sinking rum casket to wash up on a team that goes deeper in the playoffs than we do? EVEN DAVID CARR HAS A SUPER BOWL RING!

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Geoff:

It’s hard to describe what it is like to be a Houston Texans fan, or even a Houston sports fan for that matter. Your friends and you all agree that the team is always snubbed by national press but secretly you know it is because we just aren’t that memorable as a fan base or sports culture aside from the years of Phi Slamma Jamma or Clutch City.Until recently (and it’s not a done deal), Texas Blue Laws have made it impossible to buy alcohol before noon on Sunday. And when I say alcohol I mean beer and wine because we can’t buy liquor on Sundays no matter what. So hopefully you planned ahead because you can’t do this thing sober. You have about two weeks a year of perfect tailgating weather. Otherwise it is unbearably hot or raining. Or both. If you’re lucky, you can catch one of the November or December games that will include freezing rain and the firsthand witnessing of the admirable quality of Houstonians not being able to dress for any weather below 36 degrees.

A quarter of your stadium is filled with visiting fans (most of whom actually live in Houston) and another fourth is made up of the causal elite who can afford to go to games in a variety of $140 Texans Nike polos but can’t name five people on the roster. They are glued to their phones for most of the game. It’s hard to find someone that personally pays for a ticket anymore. Most fans receive them as benefits of their jobs or from mysterious friends who can’t commit to more than three games a year. The rest are made up of some of the most interestingly shaped people you have ever seen. Under Armour clad kids in Watson jerseys are dragged by their rotoundous moms in pink Watt jerseys while their portly fathers dressed in the latest fashions trends from Dad Bod Quarterly are trying to sneak in the last few cans of Bud Light before they get to the security gate.

That one block stretch of walking from the parking lot will probably be their only cardio of the week. Houston is a city of sedentary, office dwelling sloths who drive everywhere and bitch about parking even though we have thirty fucking parking spaces per resident. We’re 90% parking. The entrance ramps and right turn lanes around the stadium are deathtraps on Sundays at 4pm.

The game itself will be pocked with marks of brilliance followed by the overwhelming sense of dread of what will surely follow. Texans fans are some of the most under reported pessimistic people I know. We have created the perfect blend of doubt and confidence: we know we are good, but we are destined to fuck it up. We were gifted a scandalous amount of games last year by even more inept coaches than our own.

Our offseasons are a comedy of errors. Never ever let us forget that we gave Brock Osweiler $72 million. If I were speaking to someone instead of e-mailing Deadspin, then I would have to repeat that number for the sheer hilarity. We tried saying that Clowney is a linebacker and are trying to screw him out of a few million dollars. Bill O’Brien is mediocrity reincarnate and he is somehow given the keys to the kingdom every year despite never doing jack shit in the weakest goddamn division of the NFL. We all think the delay in hiring a GM is so we can wait to hire another branch from the Bill Belichick Suck Off Tree © but that those odds aren’t great.

Cannot wait to win our one playoff game this year.

Ryan:

You’re not harsh enough of this God-awful team and city. Houston has so few redeeming qualities that I can’t for the life of me figure out why I’ve lived here all of my 35 years. There is nothing appealing about it except cheap real estate, which is quickly dwindling. Thanks to the influx of goddamn Californian transplants, they over paid for houses in this town because they’re too stupid to know any better and we gladly took their money.

Houston has no beautiful landscapes. It’s flat as far as the eye can see, which makes it perfect to build everything everywhere. Every house is built on a flood plain and it takes an hour to drive anywhere. And because they can only build major business centers in three spots of the city, everyone has to drive to same fucking place.

One of our mayoral candidates had to call the police to come to his house to arrest his “date” because she started destroying paintings in his mansion. The same mansion that had a WW2 tank parked in front of it for several weeks. The only thing worse is the actual mayor who is trying to fire all the firefighters because he doesn’t want to pay for the voter-approved pension reform.

For some reason the majority of residents of this place are infatuated with an aging stadium in the Astrodome that still can’t be torn down despite voter approval. The 8th wonder of the world is now a relic of yesteryear that is infested with HIV-infected rats, but some people want to keep it because they once had a good memory there.

This town is embroiled in mediocrity, which makes it the perfect place to host the most mediocre sports teams in the country. And not just football. The city of Houston has upon it a sports curse where more than one team can’t be good at a single time. Luckily for the other franchises in town, the Texans will never be good.

This team is a turd that sometimes floats.

Submissions for the NFL previews are closed. Next up: Chicago Bears.