Living less than 200 miles from Houston, I should be a Texan fan. But I have no affinity for this team, one of only four who have never appeared in the Super Bowl. In fact, no professional football team from Houston has played in a Super Bowl.
Granted, the Texans have only existed since 2002. But Houston had the Oilers until 1996, so the fourth largest city in the country has had an NFL team in 48 of the 54 years the Super Bowl has been played. I repeat, no Super Bowl appearance.
I asked my son today for his reaction to the Texans trading for Brandin Cooks, and he summed it up like this: Houston got rid of the best receiver in the league and replaced him with a castoff from three different teams. The logic also escapes me.
In a nutshell, what GM/Coach Bill O’Brien did was trade DeAndre Hopkins for David Johnson and Cooks since the Texans sent the same second-round pick they had received from Arizona for Hopkins to the Rams in the Cooks deal.
Yes, this is the second time this offseason, the Texans have traded for an offensive player with declining skills and plenty of risk. Does anyone in their right mind believe Cooks can replace Hopkins as the team’s No. 1 wide receiver?
From a fantasy perspective, I don’t know if this elevates Cooks. He gets an upgrade at quarterback in Deshaun Watson, who has a career 66.8 percent completion rate and an 8.1 yard per attempt average. But there are other mouths to feed.
In Los Angeles, Cooks had to share targets with Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. In Houston, Cooks will have to share with Will Fuller and Kenny Stills. On the Left Coast, Cooks’ exit helps Kupp, who has become Jared Goff’s favorite receiver.
Texan fans can hope Cooks returns to his pre-2019 form, when he more than 1,000 years from 2015-2018. But Doubting Thomas has his doubts. Cooks had some success early in 2019, but concussions in Weeks 5 and 8 derailed his season.
I was already wondering what O’Brien was thinking when he traded Hopkins for Johnson, another player with declining skills. Did he watch any film on Johnson? This was a trade one unnamed NFL executive called “a joke.”
Texans owner Cal McNair clearly believed in O’Brien when he decided to forgo hiring another general manager after firing Brian Gaine last Summer. Wearing two hats gives O’Brien all the power in making personnel decisions.
Gaine, who was handpicked by O’Brien after the latter got his contract extension, apparently fell out of favor. Perhaps, O’Brien told McNair he could do a better job than Gaine. I wonder if McNair is beginning to have his doubts.