Every-Thing Sports

How playing games in the bubble could work for the Texans

Photo by Cody Stoots.

The NFL sent a memo to all teams about the process to reopening their facilities. Part of this hinges upon all teams being able to do so at the same time. Meaning: every city and state each team is in all have orders in place allowing them to reopen. This was done to create a fair and balanced way to level the playing field. Only certain employees are allowed inside. Each team must have a dedicated employee for cleaning and sanitizing the facility.

So could this lead to something more? Of course it will. This is the initial phase of what will undoubtedly take many phases, with tons of successes along the way. The league also constructed the schedule in a manner that will allow for flexibility if the start of the season has to be pushed back. But what about the games being played and how will that look? I propose playing in the practice facilities. Here are my reasons why:

More easily controlled environment

Giant stadiums require giant staffs to run them. If practice facilities are open, they could be the perfect place since there's a staff in place already. Visitors would have a hard time with locker accommodations I'm assuming, but that can be fixed. Having fewer people involved in the gameday operation ensures less people around to potentially infect teams and their staffs.

TV ready

As most of you have seen, practice facilities have cameras around all the time filming practices. They also have camera stands in place for getting the coach's film of practices as well. These places can easily accommodate a gameday camera crew. The way the games would be shot wouldn't require as many cameras as they'd usually have, so this would be another feasible aspect.

Cleaned and sanitized already

In order for teams to begin to start their seasons, they'll need practice time and/or training camp. If the facilities are being used for practice anyway, they'd be good to go for actual games. Teams will already have a dedicated employee for this specific purpose regarding team offices. Why couldn't this person double in the same capacity for the practice facility.

Not every team has an indoor facility like the Texans. Most do, however, have an indoor facility. Instead of playing in cavernous empty, or nearly empty, stadiums, play in the practice fields to start off. Of course tons of testing will be required for all those participating. The UFC has put on several events with success. So has the WWE. I'm not saying the NFL is willing to do things like those other organizations did, but they could learn something from them. This may be the way it starts, but I don't envision this being the way the whole season will play out. Besides, once the loss of income gets too great, they'll figure out something.

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Here's why the Texans will make the playoffs under Lovie Smith

1. The Houston Texans had a mentally tough practice Saturday. The team has worked a lot in pads and Lovie Smith noted the days starting to build up on them during this practice. The head coach said this is a good practice because it is like the fourth quarter of the games the team will end up playing.

2. Davis Mills threw one of the best passes he has thrown all camp on Saturday. In a red zone drill, he dropped back and whipped a pass between two defenders into the tightest window he has had all camp. Nico Collins hauled in the threaded pass for a score.

3. A few reps later Davis Mills struck again. With traffic from linebackers and defensive backs, he found Chris Conley for a score. It wasn’t as tight of a window as the first one, but Mills snapped it off nonetheless.

4. Pharaoh Brown made something hard look very easy on Saturday. With Mills rolling out and tossing the ball to Brown in the back corner Brown hauled in a one-handed catch and had both feet down. Touchdown. Brown then acted like it was no big deal.

5. Pharaoh Brown has had a wonderful camp. Lovie Smith named him the starting tight end. The thing that really jumped out to me today is he makes his work look easy. He isn’t straining to excel in his opportunities. The good ones always make it look easy and it has looked easy for Brown so far.

6. Rookie linebacker Christian Harris is on the shelf for a few days. He joins fellow rookie Kenyon Green as players who are injured. Max Scharping played left guard with Green down. Wide receiver Phillip Dorset practiced while veteran wideout Chester Rodgers did not.

7. Roy Lopez flashed again today. While Friday was about the rushing attack and Lopez made his presence felt at defensive tackle, he got into the pass rush Saturday. Lopez would have had a bone-crushing sack in a live rep.

8. Ross Blacklock hasn’t been consistent. A statement like that is good and evil. There are some plays where Blacklock looks like he isn’t a factor. I watched one today. A play later he had what would have been a sack on the play. He’s a player to watch in the preseason games closely.

9. Don’t expect to see Derek Stingley in the preseason opener next Saturday. Lovie Smith wouldn’t commit to the rookie cornerback playing in the preseason. Smith did say Stingley is on track to play week one in the regular season.

10. Brevin Jordan has had a nice camp and should be an important piece for the team. Jordan had a bad drop in 7-on-7 drills that he was beating himself up over for a few minutes. That was out of the norm. He’s been used a lot and will be on the field a bit it seems for the Texans.

11. Brevin Jordan also rattled off a few contenders for the quote of the day. He exclaimed he had taken care of himself this offseason and he finally had abs. He also revealed he’s quite the fisherman and once caught a 125-pound tuna. When asked what he did with the tuna Jordan laughed and said “RIP tuna!”

Listen to Cody Stoots weekdays afternoons 3-7pm on his show "The Wheelhouse" live on ESPN 97.5 + 92.5 FM or anytime on demand at the podcast here.

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