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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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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