On the Texans after Week 2: 3 Headlines, 2 questions, 1 bet

Jadeveon Clowney did not make an impact in Week 1. In Week 2, he did, but a negative one. And he wasn't even active.

It's Monday and here are three headlines, two questions, and one bet for this week. 

Unanswered Questions from Clowney on Sideline Penalty

Texans defensive standout Jadeveon Clowney declined to speak at length with the media today. He did not address directly the play and said he's moving onto the Texans next opponent the Giants. 

Early in the fourth quarter the Titans first play of the drive saw their tight end catch a ball and stumble out of bounds onto the Texans sideline. Clowney, inactive for the game and in street clothes, was bumped by Luke Stocker after moving towards him three yards and later had an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty assessed on him giving the Titans 15 yards. Tennessee would finish that drive with a field goal from the Texans 24-yard line. 

Bill O'Brien said he knows the taunting rule is a big emphasis but he isn't sure of the details of the Clowney penalty. 

"I don't really know," was O'Brien's response to a question about Clowney's availability this weekend. 

"They Handled it Differently Than We Thought"

The Titans first score of the game came on a beautifully executed fake punt after their offense had stalled out. With the Texans leaving the Titans gunner Dane Cruikshank uncovered Tennessee's Kevin Byard caught the snap and threw it for a touchdown to his fellow defensive back. 

O'Brien said it was a mistake on his part.

"That was a bad play call," said O'Brien. "Studying that during the week we felt like they would handle that differently."

Wrong Instincts, Wrong Play, Wrong Result

The Texans final play saw quarterback Deshaun Watson run the final 17 seconds of the game out completing a pass in the middle of the field to DeAndre Hopkins. O'Brien said today he needed to call a better play in the situation. 

Watson yesterday bristled at the notion he should have thrown the ball out of bounds. 

"I mean, of course," he said. "But while you’re playing, you can sit back and sit in your seats and say that I need to throw the ball away, but I tried to take a shot. We didn’t have any timeouts and they guarded the sideline very well, so my instincts took over and I tried to get the ball, and time ran out."

Can the Texans punch it in?

The Texans lead the league in rushing. Deshaun Watson, for the most part, had a nice game through the air against the Titans. Houston has just four touchdowns and three field goals to show for their efforts which is good for 26th in the NFL at 18.5 points per game. With the defense far from the shutdown defenses of the past, the offense has to take some pressure off the other side of the ball and put some pressure on teams, especially ones with backup quarterbacks. 

Four drives into Titans territory ended without points for the Texans. They convert about a third of their red zone opportunities. This team is going to have to score points and stop making it so tough on the defense. A defense, mind you, that has allowed just 12 second-half points. The current scoring pace is not going to cut it. It is up to Bill O'Brien's play calling and Deshaun Watson's decision making to put up more points. 

Can the Penalties Go Away?

The Texans committed 11 penalties for 88 yards against the Titans. The following downs and distances were all caused via penalty. 

1st and 15 (False Start)

1st and 15 (False Start)

2nd and 21 (Clipping)

1st and 20 (Holding)

1st and 20 (Holding)

It is incredibly hard for an offense to make up those penalties and play from behind the chains. This team has the talent to overcome them with big plays but not this often. They were able to turn some of those around and put points on the board though and cleaned them up in the second half not committing an offensive penalty. Do you want the answer to slow starts and uneven first half play? There it is. 

I bet the Texans struggle to contain Saquon Barkley in the passing game Sunday. 

The Giants top overall pick has impressed a ton so far this season but especially catching the ball. He has as many targets as DeAndre Hopkins, 22, and more receptions than teammate Odell Beckham, Julio Jones, Keenan Allen, and Hopkins with 16. 

The Titans didn't throw the ball to their running backs much but the Patriots in week one saw success getting the ball to their backs. Tom Brady also had a rare miss overthrowing Rex Burkhead on what would have been a touchdown. Barkley is no joke, especially in the passing game, and he will be used to slow down the Texans pass rush. 

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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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