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

Hopkins-Ramsey highlights Sunday showdown

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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A new hotel is in the works near Minute Maid. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Astros owner Jim Crane says the team is ready to break ground on a major construction project that will include a hotel and entertainment complex across the street from Minute Maid Park as soon as the 2023 baseball season wraps up – hopefully with another World Series parade in downtown Houston.


But another hotel? Another entertainment complex? More construction downtown? My first reaction was, how much more does Houston need? I remember when the Super Bowl was held in Houston in 2004, clubs and restaurants sprung up downtown practically overnight, only to disappear virtually the morning after. When it came to downtown development, the expression “less is more” turned out true. At least that Super Bowl.

I asked my contacts in government and the Houston welcome wagon, is this a good idea, building a hotel and entertainment complex next door to Minute Maid Park? Do we need it? Can we sustain it?

The answer every time was a resounding yes! For a couple of reasons: first, downtown Houston, coming out of Covid, is booming, leadership is creative and budget-minded these days, and most important, if Jim Crane is behind the idea, you can trust it’ll work. The guy’s got a track record.

“In 2004, the idea was to turn downtown’s Main Street into Bourbon Street. Is that what we really want? It was a misguided plan, the wrong philosophy, and businesses opened and closed in short order,” a source told me.

It was a different story when the Super Bowl returned to Houston in 2017. This time Houston saw the Marriott Marquis, a 1,000-room hotel complete with an iconic Texas-shaped swimming pool, open in time for the tourist onslaught. Also, Avenida Houston greeted downtown visitors with new restaurants and entertainment venues. Both the Marriott and Avenida Houston have continued to thrive long after the Super Bowl left town.

“We want our downtown to attract visitors while providing services for the growing number of singles and families who are making their home downtown. As we continue to host major events and conventions, there will be a need for more hotel rooms,” the source said.

The Astros’ plan to build a sprawling hotel and entertainment complex originally was discussed in 2021 but was put on hold due to Covid. Now Crane and the Astros are ready to come out swinging. Similar complexes operate successfully next to the baseball stadium in St. Louis, Chicago and other cities.

An Astros-themed hotel adjacent to Minute Maid Park is particularly intriguing. The lobby could be home to an Astros museum and team Hall of Fame. Rooms and restaurants could be decorated in honor of Astros legends – the “Nolan Ryan honeymoon suite,” or “Strech Suba’s Bullpen Bar and Grille.” There could be meeting space for autograph and memorabilia shows. There could be a broadcast facility for post-game interviews and analysis. And maybe one day, fingers crossed, a betting parlor like the Cubs have at Wrigley Field.

The Astros have a contract to play at Minute Maid Park through 2050 – the only long-term contract that doesn’t make Crane cringe. Anything that enhances the fan experience and generates revenue is good for the team and the city. I might even consider going downtown on non-game nights.

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