A BAD LOOK

​This Texans announcement is leaving many media, fans very bewildered

The Texans' reputation remains intact. Composite image by Jack Brame.

Just when you thought the Houston Texans couldn't top itself for dumb moves already made, the team has reached a decision that falls into negative-stupidity territory.

When the Texans open their season at home Sept. 12, they will not impose any Covid-19 restrictions on fans. Nobody will be asked if they've been vaccinated. Nobody will have to show a negative test result. Nobody will be told to wear a mask or practice social distancing or anything else.

On game day at NRG Stadium, there will be 60,000-plus screaming fans (undecided for or against the Texans) indoors in what has the potential to be Super Spreader Sunday.

Sure, the Texans say they will "encourage" fans to wear a mask. Remember when the Astros said something similar back in March? Actually it was a MLB rule, fans were supposed to wear a mask or face ejection. On Opening Night, fans watching on TV saw owner Jim Crane and Hall of Famers Bagwell and Biggio sitting behind home plate not wearing a mask.

Presuming that Texans ownership and management approved this lack of responsibility involving attendance, it's a blown save opportunity worthy of the Astros bullpen. No wonder that a recent poll of 33 NFL-approved agents judged the Texans organization as a disaster. Eleven of the agents thought the Texans had the worst offseason of all teams. No other team got more than three votes. Texans employees call owner Cal McNair "Tommy Boy" behind his back. McNair's puppet master Jack Easterby? He's a "train wreck," and "nobody trusts Easterby."

Just a few hours east on I-10, with Louisiana experiencing a Covid rage as severe as Texas, LSU has announced that all fans 12 and older must show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 PCR test within 72 hours of kickoff to enter Tiger Stadium. Fans must wear face masks inside the stadium. Tulane will impose similar rules. The New Orleans Saints also will require fans to show proof of vaccination or a negative test result.

Oregon and Oregon State will require vaccination or negative test results. The Las Vegas Raiders will require that all fans show proof of vaccination to enter the stadium. Negative tests won't cut it. Once inside, fans will not be required to wear masks. Now that the FDA has given full approval to the Pfizer vaccine, more colleges and NFL teams may impose Covid attendance rules.

Only 46.5 percent of Texans are fully vaccinated, good for 35th place, well below the national average of 51.7 percent. We're behind Florida, the Welcome Wagon of Covid infections. Texas has a governor who hosted an event where people didn't wear masks, he tested positive for Covid the next day, and still enacted an executive order prohibiting government agencies from requiring individuals to receive a vaccine jab. Gov. Greg Abbott has a future with the Houston Texans.

A month ago, Abbott unleashed another staggeringly dumb executive order prohibiting Texas school districts from requiring students to wear masks in schools. He even threatened severe penalties for any district that didn't obey his order. This despite children accounting for 18 percent of new Covid cases, according to the Texas Medical Center president.

Thankfully, the adults in the room, parents and educators, ignored Abbott's order and announced a mask mandate for teachers and students in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and more districts. The governor has since backed down on enforcing his executive order. Put it this way, Abbott got schooled.

Earlier this month, about 500,000 people attended the 81st Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota. The South Dakota governor would not impose any Covid restrictions on the event. Not surprisingly, South Dakota's daily case count has exploded 686-percent over the past three weeks.

Meanwhile, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner are doing backflips to encourage people to get vaccinated. By offering $100 gift cards to newly vaccinated residents, there's been a 529-percent increase in people getting the shot here.

Can 60,000 fans, unmasked and unchecked for Covid, crammed shoulder to shoulder in NRG Stadium, with the roof most likely closed, possibly be a good idea?

It's a sad state (that would be Texas) when Louisiana is behaving more responsibly than we are.

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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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