Roof Wars

The Astros have been trolling the Texans by popping the top on Minute Maid this season

Houston Astros Twitter

Maybe you haven't noticed, but the Astros have been trolling the Texans hard this season. No, I'm not talking about them being a competently run franchise who swept two playoff teams from last season as well as the team leading the division last week. No, to notice this troll job you would have to look up. I'm talking about the use of a retractable roof.

Over the course of the opening six game homestand the Astros had the roof open three times. Two of the three times it was closed was due to rain and the other was due to a purported mechanical issue. The Texans on the other hand have not operated their retractable roof for a game in at least three years.

Before passing judgment I decided to go to the numbers and look at the weather conditions at game time for each of the past 6 Astros games and all 8 Texans home games last season. Let me warn you, it is not a pretty picture for those that like to see their tax dollars in use.

Astros homestand April 5 – April 10

Date

First Pitch Temperature

Roof Status

April 5

72

Open

April 6

77

Closed – Rain

April 7

65

Closed – Rain

April 8

84

Open

April 9

91

Closed – Mechanical issue

April 10

81

Open

Texans 2018 Home games

Date

Kickoff Temperature

Roof Status

September 23

79

Closed

October 7

83

Closed

October 14

92

Closed

October 25

66

Closed

November 26

51

Closed

December 2

77

Closed

December 9

47

Closed

December 30

45

Closed - Rain

To my knowledge the Texans have never stated that the roof at NRG is inoperable, and it actually was opened for part of the halftime show during Superbowl 51. This makes their failure to use this expensive piece of technology, paid for in part by tax dollars, all the more puzzling. So how much did you pay for the NRG roof? Well 43% of the stadium was financed by the public, and with the roof carrying a $48,000,000 price tag, county tax payers get to see $20.6 million of their dollars do absolutely nothing on Sundays.

Looking at the kickoff conditions for last season I see 5 games where the roof could have been open with fans in the stadium being comfortable. The most common argument you will hear for the roof at NRG being closed is that it makes the stadium louder. Well guess what – the Seahawks and Chiefs play outdoors and they are consistently ranked as having two of the loudest stadiums in the league. The issue with noise at NRG isn't the roof. It is the people in the stadium. And no, I'm not ragging on Texans fans – I myself am not one to go crazy and scream at sporting events. It is just a fact that NRG is not near the top of the list of loudest stadiums, and letting a $48 Million dollar piece of equipment go to waste to try to create an atmosphere that just isn't there is peak stupidity.

Yes, having a domed stadium is a necessity in Houston's climate but there is something that feels so right when you get to see sports played outside when the conditions are comfortable. Baseball season only affords the Astros about a month to use their roof but at least they take advantage of that time. The Texans on the other hand play almost all of their season when conditions are favorable for outdoor football, yet they deny their fans that opportunity. So to the Astros I say keep up the trolling, the Texans deserve every bit of it when it comes to use of the roof their fans paid for almost half of.

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We'll see if Watson is in pads on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of the Houston Texans.

The Houston Texans had their last practice before pads come on for the first time on Tuesday. There was plenty to see on Monday.

1. Deshaun Watson had his usual extremely light level of work. He did very little throwing to teammates, though he did throw to the tight ends in 1-on-1 drills.

2. Texans head coach David Culley said "nothing has changed" when asked if Deshaun Watson will be in pads Tuesday. Culley has maintained that answer for a couple of sessions now.

3. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor was back after missing Saturday with an excused personal day. Taylor has been the best quarterback in camp by a wide margin. Taylor makes better decisions with the football than other quarterbacks, but he does struggle on deeper passes. Taylor missed wildly on one deep ball and was a little wobbly on another.

4. Nobody in camp can cover wide receiver Brandin Cooks. This could be the easiest training camp of his life. He easily gets open in 1-on-1 situations.

5. Rookie wide receiver Nico Collins continues to flash his abilities in camp. Collins easily shook loose from defensive back John Reid and took the route vertical for an easy score. Collins later had a tough catch in traffic.

6. It's only been a few days, but the competition for inside wide receiver reps is tough. Former Bears wideout Anthony Miller has looked quick and nothing like the "draft bust" the Bears fans watched. Keke Coutee has rarely lost a rep, but Desmond King did win a few times over Coutee in the opening days of camp. Former Bengals wideout Alex Erickson finds himself constantly open. The cuts at wide receiver are already shaking out to be difficult.

7. Davis Mills bounced back in a sense that he couldn't be worse than he was on Saturday. The performance from Mills on Saturday was abysmal, but head coach David Culley said he liked how Mills responded today. With Tyrod Taylor back, there were fewer reps for Mills, but he had some impressive throws to go along with an off-target throw or two. Mills was far better than Jeff Driskel on Monday. Driskel tossed two interceptions right to defenders, including one that would've gone the wrong way for a score.

8. This linebacker group is interesting. With a new defensive scheme under Lovie Smith, the type of linebacker is very different from previous years. There was a clear emphasis on cover ability as these linebackers were added to the team.

9. Kamu Grugier-Hill and Kevin Pierre-Louis have both had some significant wins for the linebackers in coverage.

10. Rookie tight end Brevin Jordan looks the part physically, but he's had a rough few days, including a drop on Monday.

11. With the pads coming on Tuesday, it will be fun to watch the rebuilt defensive line clash with the many combinations of the offensive line. There will be no J.J. Watt who historically stirred up the team on day one of pads. Laremy Tunsil's cool confidence about the offensive line over the weekend leads me to believe they are a confident group, while there are spots to be won on the defensive side of the line.

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