The Pallilog

Charlie Pallilo: At least some big names should be on the field for Texans this weekend

J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney should see time. Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The third NFL preseason game is typically the least unwatchable of the four. The Texans-Rams game would fill that prescription provided J.J. Watt plays at least a few snaps. There are wackier predictions out there then one suggesting the Texans and Rams could meet in late August, then again in early February in Atlanta. It might take a meeting in Super Bowl LIII for the two quarterbacks taken first overall in the 2016 and 2017 drafts to share the field. The Rams Jared Goff was a bust of a rookie, then with much better coaching and talent around him a breakout star last year. The Texans have less star level talent, so their highest of hopes ride overwhelmingly on Deshaun Watson being healthy and fantastic.

Other than arguably the Jaguars, the Rams were the biggest team story in the NFL last season. After 13 consecutive years without a winning season, the Rams exploded into the highest scoring team in the NFL en route to an 11-5 finish.

Over their 82 seasons as a franchise from Cleveland to California to St. Louis and back to California, the Rams have won 555 games and lost 559. So if they match last season’s 11 wins they’ll climb back over .500 for their history. The only time the Texans’ franchise record has been over .500 was after their inaugural win over the Cowboys in 2002. The quickest the Texans can again get over .500 for their history is by going 16-0 this season, 16-0 next season, and then winning their first four games in 2020. Yeah, it’ll take a while longer.

Ringing it in again

When the Astros scheduled their fourth replica ring giveaway night for this coming Monday, it was not a coincidence that the pick was a Monday night game with the school year underway all across Houston. A game that would otherwise have had thousands of unsold tickets quickly became a sellout. It’s an absolute win-win; the Astros reap some nice additional profits and more fans get the coolest of ballpark giveaways.

Monday darn sure wasn’t picked with the idea that it would be the opener of a huge series with the Oakland A’s who are strongly challenging the Astros for the American League West title. But here we are. It’s late August not late September, but Monday’s game should have the most playoff feel to it of any at Minute Maid Park until the playoffs.

Growing pains

The Astros hoped for help Thursday night from St. Pius High School graduate Kohl Stewart who made a start on the mound against the A’s. Stewart didn’t get the win but his Twins did. In 2013 Minnesota drafted Stewart fourth overall. He had the option of going to play baseball and quarterback at Texas A&M. Aggieland was enticing, but a signing bonus from the Twins of more than four and a half million dollars was more enticing. Stewart was not having a good season in the minors, giving up well over a hit per inning with a 4.47 earned run average split between AA and AAA. Since the Twins’ season is down the drain, they called him up two weeks ago. Three starts in Stewart’s ERA is 6.94.

No shot of watching this

I’m not sure what if any television I’ll be watching come Nov. 23, which this year is the day after Thanksgiving. Could have the Big 12 regular season title on the line that night as Oklahoma plays at West Virginia. The Rockets will be playing at Detroit. I know what I will NOT be watching. Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson in their sure to be overhyped heads up match in Las Vegas. Billed as nine million dollars, winner takes all. In the spirit of Las Vegas, the best bet is it’s not really winner takes all. Sponsorship money, appearance fees, and other revenue streams. Former supermodel Linda Evangelista once said she wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning for less than 10-grand per day. You think Tiger or Phil would let a bunch of others profit while one of them gets zero? If so, can I interest you in some Las Vegas oceanfront property?

Nine million bucks is a notable chunk even to guys each worth hundreds of millions of dollars, but the selling of this as some golf ballsy stress test? Neither Tiger nor Phil is risking a penny. Worst of all, Woods-Mickelson will air on pay-per-view. Come on! And no thanks.

Buzzer Beaters

1. Urban Meyer sure seems the opposite of an honorable man. But hey, great football coach!  2. Big time college sports has cheating galore, but I’d still be surprised if Jimbo Fisher and his new A&M staff were brazen and stupid enough to have done what ex-Ag Santino Marchiol alleges.  3. Best ever palindromically surnamed NFL players: Bronze-Doug Harrah Silver-Jim Otto Gold-John Hannah (all o-linemen!)



 

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Houston Texans head coach Lovie Smith met with the media on Monday afternoon and shared his thoughts on the Texans 16-9 loss to the Broncos on Sunday.

1. The Broncos scored a TD and the Texans didn't, sometimes it's that simple. Lovie made this point on Monday, discussing some missed opportunities for the Texans offense. Multiple times the Texans coached emphasized that the team has to score more points.

2. The Texans got RB Dameon Pierce more involved and that will continue, according to Smith. Pierce led the Texans RBs in touches with 16. He finished with 69 rushing yards on 15 carries and caught one pass for 8 yards. This is a big improvement over week 1 which featured Rex Burkhead with the most touches. Burkhead didn't even have one carry against the Broncos. He did catch 2 passes on three targets.

3. Kevin Pierre-Louis and Brevin Jordan are dealing with injuries. The team is evaluating the injuries and will give an update at a later point in time.

4. The Texans only recorded one turnover for the defense. Coach Smith talked about one turnover just not being enough and the team needing more. Smith also complemented the turnover by Christian Kirksey.

5. At one point, Lovie Smith deflected a question about Davis Mills' strengths saying, "we've talked about Davis enough."

6. The Texans played without starting center Justin Britt on Sunday. Lovie Smith said backup center Scott Quessenberry did a great job and didn't feel like the team missed a beat.

7. Rookie corner Derek Stingley Jr. had a challenging day against Broncos WR Courtland Sutton, who finished with 7 catches, 122 yards. Coach Smith said he felt Stingley competed hard and tackled well.

8. Lovie acknowledged that the team hasn't been able to stop the run as well as they would like to, and penalties have been a problem. We have to think both factors will be critical in Houston's next game against the Chicago Bears.

9. Lovie Smith pulled the curtain back toward the end of the presser when he talked about the Texans lack of execution on 3rd and 15 at the start of the fourth quarter. Courtland Sutton streaked down the left sideline and caught a pass for a first down easily. Derek Stingley and Jonathan Owens were both in the area and looked confused. Smith told the media that was one of his major disappointments from the game.

Up next: The Texans have a shot to push their record to 1-1-1 if they can defeat the Bears in Chicago on Sunday. The Texans are 3-point underdogs. Be sure to check out the video above to watch the full press conference.


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