I just turned 52 years old late last week, but I'm finding out that, even at my advanced age, I learn something new every day about how I emotionally process certain things in my life. For example, when the rumors popped up two weeks ago that Deshaun Watson MIGHT want a trade from the Houston Texans to go elsewhere, I was stunned. I then proceeded to go through the five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance — as if Watson were going to be traded.
I thought that would be adequate preparation for what felt like a remote possibility, because I thought for sure cooler heads would prevail, right? So if it DID happen, I've already processed it. Then came the reports yesterday that indeed, it was confirmed that Deshaun Watson HAS requested a trade. And what I learned was that first round of dealing with grief was just that — a first round, a rehearsal. Because I was a mess all over again processing the REAL trade request, even more than I was during the RUMORED trade request.
Be warned — there is a good chance the actual TRADE ITSELF kills me. If so, please someone tell the world my story. For now, here are my thoughts on this inexcusable, infuriating place that the Texans have put themselves with Deshaun Watson.
It's embarrassing for the organization that the strife has made it this far
I'll just be up front about this post. There will not be any trade proposals, or hypotheticals about what to do with Deshaun Watson. If he is entrenched in his views about the team (and he has every right to be, by the way), then there will be plenty of time to break down what the texans can get to try to recover from this fiasco, if they ever do. Honestly, they don't deserve to recover. More specifically, Cal McNair and Jack Easterby don't deserve to recover. Easterby was the mastermind behind this culture change that has resulted with a likely clean step out of the building of all their generational players, a 4-12 record, and a fan base that is completely destroyed. Cal McNair allowed it to happen. The Texans are an embarrassing team to back right now, and the only thing that was keeping them from being embarrassing to root for before this was, ironically, Deshaun Watson.
This news plundered what should be a great two days for David Culley
Amidst the inferno that is the likely end of the Deshaun Watson Era, the Texans are introducing a new head coach on Friday, and his name is David Culley. Now, granted, this is a hire that was met with loud disapproval by the fan base, what with Culley becoming a first time head coach — hell, he's never even been a coordinator before — at the age of 65, when Eric Bieniemy, the people's choice, was still on the board. However, that shouldn't detract form what should be a celebration for Culley and his family that he landed one of the 32 head coaching jobs in the league. (Yes, the Texans are officially one of those head coaching jobs that you take because "hey, there's only 32 of them.") This Watson drama is going to overshadow EVERYTHING at Culley's introductory presser. EVERYTHING.
This saga has completely back burnered J.J. Watt
If somebody knows something about being overshadowed by the Watson drama, ask J.J. Watt. Back in the day when Watson was viewed as a Texan for life (you know, THREE WEEKS AGO), the biggest Texan storyline this offseason, once they hired a head coach and GM, was going to be how they handled the final year of Watt's contract. Would he be a Texan, or won't he be a Texan? Now, there is zero doubt that Watt is gone. Chances are the team will trade him to a destination of his choice, or perhaps they release him and make him a free agent. Either way, it's absolutely crazy to think that the exodus of the biggest icon in franchise history is a complete afterthought. Honestly, Watt is probably just fine with being off the grid for a little while. The 2020 season looked like it exhausted him.
If they trade Watson and Watt, this is no longer the Houston Texans you've rooted for since inception
So where do we go from here? Watt is almost assuredly gone, and I have no trust in the Texans "braintrust" that they will fish this Watson situation out of the grease. If they move on from both fo them, who is left that you feel like "ah, that's the face of the franchise." Nobody, right? And this complete dismantling of a once proud, semi-successful franchise would be complete, and the Houston Texans that you've rooted for since 2002 cease to exist. They will have morphed into Jack Easterby's vision, a stadium full of frightened employees, disgruntled players, and overwhelmed coaches who best subscribe to his vision of what "culture" entails, or else. Who's rooting for that team?
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