What to make of the Houston Texans surprising roster moves

Texans RB Dameon Pierce looks like the clear lead back after Marlon Mack was cut. Photo by Getty Images.

The Houston Texans sent shockwaves through the league when word came down Tuesday that the team is cutting RB Marlon Mack.

This cut has many across the league penciling in Dameon Pierce as the Texans No. 1 back, but don't be surprised if Houston adds another running back in short order. Rex Burkhead will play a role with Pierce, but it's hard to imagine the Texans can't find a better running mate to go with Pierce. GM Nick Caserio should be combing through today's cuts for another back.

Another big move that went down today was the Texans trading DL Ross Blacklock and a 7th round pick to the Vikings for a 6th round pick.

Blacklock never panned out after being drafted in the 2nd round in 2020. Blacklock was the player the Texans drafted with the compensation they received in the DeAndre Hopkins trade, along with RB David Johnson. We can now safely say, Bill O'Brien and Jack Easterby's terrible decision to trade DeAndre Hopkins was an epic failure. We all knew it at the time, but now we can officially call it one of the worst trades in NFL history. Way to go, Bill! It's no surprise he's nowhere to be found in the NFL.

Finally, guard Max Scharping was cut today as well, marking another high pick from the O'Brien era that didn't work out. Clearly, GM Nick Caserio has no problem clearing out all these O'Brien draft flops. But it does make us wonder why it took so long to cut RB David Johnson.

One thing is for sure, with Nick Caserio at the helm, the Texans clearly have more talent on the roster and hopefully better days are ahead.

To see a full list of the Texans cuts, click here.

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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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