The Friday Stoots Six-Pack starts with respect for Ramsey and has so much more

Hopkins-Ramsey highlights Sunday showdown

Houstontexans.com

Have a great weekend, the Texans are trying to win their home opener and improve to 1-1.

Respect for the best

Jalen Ramsey rarely is tested as much as he is when DeAndre Hopkins is his opponent. Ramsey rarely loses as much as when Hopkins is his opponent as well. This is one of the best matchups in football. It is incredible to watch these two go at it.

Last year Hopkins caught 11 passes against Ramsey for 172 yards. That's pretty nasty when you think about Ramsey being the best corner, or one of the best, in the game.

"He's my favorite corner to play against," Hopkins said this week. "He's the only corner in the NFL that actually follows me everywhere I go, so you've got to respect that."

When pressed what he meant Hopkins continued to praise the Jaguars defender.

"No matter where I line up he's right there in front of me. A lot of guys claim they're number one DBs, but not a lot guys can do that."

If the Texans plan to win on Sunday, Hopkins keeping up his track record against Ramsey will be key.

Don't sleep on football Ron Swanson

I got to spend a few minutes with Gardner Minshew at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis earlier this year. He was engaging, funny, and honest. He was simultaneously the almost movie character and the future head coach. He almost used his last year of eligibility in college at Alabama to then earn a graduate assistant job to start coaching.

Instead he went to Washington State and kicked ass and now he's the starting quarterback for Jacksonville.

One of his quotes from the combine stood out when I looked back.

When asked about his ability playing quarterback Minshew touted one of the essential aspects of a good passer.

"I'd say elevating the guys around you," he said. "That's what it's all about playing this position. Taking this team, going 11-2, 11 wins for the first time in school history. That's what it's all about, making the guys around you better, that's how you come to work every day and how you lead."

Now, he has to lead and make the Jaguars better.

He wasn't bad at all coming off the bench when Nick Foles got hurt. He was actully, fearless. John DeFilippo is a forward-thinking offensive mind who isn't afraid to throw the ball. The Jaguars will test the Texans cornerbacks, especially if rookie Lonnie Johnson gets on the field.

Don't sleep on Minshew. He is better than quite a few quarterbacks who went ahead of him. And if he doesn't work out at quarterback, he can always open a restaurant to go with his coaching.

"Man, throw me on the grill, that's my specialty. Steaks, burgers, however you like it, I'll make it for you."

Likely season debuts for two key Texans players

Tytus Howard and Keke Coutee were both full participants at practice Thursday. Coutee should make his debut this season at the slot wideout spot. Howard should slot in a left guard.

Coutee was a dynamic asset to the offense last season in the six games he played. But, of course, injury already has him missing one of the 2019 games. If he plays Sunday the offense might finally be humming at optimal ability.

Howard was the best player at left guard in the preseason. He has his cast off his hand and has a great chance to make his season debut wedged between Laremy Tunsil and Nick Martin. The first round pick had his ups and downs in the preseason but there were far more ups. He is one of the most exciting things to watch on Sunday.

Chargers bad injury luck continues

The Texans will play the Chargers next week on the road. Well, some of the Chargers.

When the Texans take the field the Chargers will be without star safety Derwin James and their starting left tackle Russell Okung. Running back Melvin Gordon is holding out, but their backs looked fine without him so I'm not sure that's a positive.

They will also now be without stud tight end Hunter Henry. Considering how much Romeo Crennel's defense have always struggled against talented tight ends this is a slight advantage for the Texans now.

Obviously, the Chargers are still very good. It will be interesting to see how they fare on the road against the Lions after the Colts played them close, and nearly won.

Who is for real?

​With the Texans and Jaguars squaring off the other half of the AFC South is action as well with the Titans hosting the Colts. Tennessee surprised many when they pushed they upset the Browns in Cleveland and ended up winning in a rout. The Colts pushed the Chargers and without their self-inflicted mistakes they might have won their opener.

This game is early but if the Titans don't show more dominance like they did last week or the Colts don't show their toughness and hang with Tennessee it won't surprise me. I can't trust the Titans one bit and if the Colts fall flat that's just something that is going to happen from time to time. This is a hard one to call because I have no clue who is going to show up as themselves, much less win.

Cam Newton is done or injured but he isn't any good right now

Cam Newton and the Panthers fans have to almost hope Cam Newton is hurt at this point. If his foot injury is that serious he needs to take a seat because he is not anywhere close to his normal level. He consistently has accuracy issues and misses open wideouts. If he isn't mobile his game drops to a much lower level.

The Panthers could be in serious trouble with Cam potentially injured. Kyle Allen is their backup. Rookie Will Grier is also on the roster. Injured Cam is better than those guys but not by much. Management has done a poor job putting a capable backup on the roster. If Newton knew he was getting a little over two weeks worth of rest and the Panthers could trust their backup maybe they could sit him. They can't at 0-2 though. With the Cardinals next up, and the a trip to Houston right after Arizona, the Panthers might be digging themselves a hole they can't climb out of this season.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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