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HOUSTON — What started as a simple message turned into $37 million.

“I’m sitting here watching the news and checking the Internet and seeing everything that’s going on with Hurricane Harvey and the damage it’s causing back home,” Houston Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt said in a video he posted to Instagram on Aug. 27, 2017, from his hotel room in Dallas. “It’s very difficult.

“That’s our city. It’s very tough to watch your city get hit by such a bad storm and not be there to help. Not be there to help with the recovery. Not be there to help with the process. It’s very tough.”

So he made a request.

“So what I do want to do is I want to start a fundraiser. Because I know that these recovery efforts are going to be massive. I know that there’s going to be a whole bunch of people that we need to help get back on their feet.
J.J. Watt during a visit to the Covenant House in December 2017. “He’s really just a genuine person, and that comes out very much when you first meet him,” Covenant House’s executive director Leslie Bourne said. Courtesy Americares
“Whatever you can donate, please donate to help these people out.”

Watt set up a page on YouCaring.com, donating $100,000 of his own money and setting the goal at $200,000. He raised that in two hours.

For the next three weeks, the online fundraiser continued to grow. A year later, the money distributed by Watt to help the relief efforts has made a huge impact on the lives of those who received help.

“We go to some of the areas where we’ve rebuilt houses and we go and visit a house and I talked to one family, and I was looking at the houses around them that were still pretty beaten up,” Watt said. “They were like, ‘We haven’t seen those people since.’ A lot of people literally abandoned their house, whether they went somewhere else or — so, I think that while if you look at everyday life for most people, you may say, ‘Yeah, they’re in working, regular order,’ but I think there’s still a lot of people going through a lot of stuff.”

More than $30 million of the money was split up to benefit four organizations — Americares, Feeding America, SBP and Save the Children — and was designated to be spent over the next 18 to 24 months. Watt spoke with people who handled donations after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans to see what they did well and what mistakes they made and said he made it his mission “to ensure this money makes as large of an impact as possible” and that “the entirety of the funds would be utilized here in Houston and the surrounding areas for those who were affected most by Hurricane Harvey.”

‘Oh my gosh, this is J.J. Watt’
Watt arrived at Covenant House on a Tuesday in December, alone. As he got out of his truck and walked into the space used to house homeless youth, he was quickly spotted.

More About J.J. Watt’s Efforts And Harvey

On the anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, we look back at the impact of the storm and J.J. Watt’s philanthropy:
• How $37M will help Harvey victims
• Harvey evokes memories of Katrina
• Players hate handling Harvey from afar
• Watt’s impact will have lasting effect

“It took [the youth] just a few seconds to go, ‘Oh my gosh, this is J.J. Watt that just walked in,'” Covenant House’s executive director Leslie Bourne said. “And they were overjoyed with him. He spent so much time individually in talking with a lot of the youth. He’s really just a genuine person, and that comes out very much when you first meet him.”

Covenant House, which is just one of the organizations funded by the money given by Americares as part of what was raised by Watt last year, is in its 36th year serving as a shelter and a comprehensive provider of services for homeless youth (ages 18-24) and their children.

Watt stayed for more than an hour, talking to the young adults, taking photos, and seeing the damage that had been done by Harvey. He stood by what had been a nursery, which had an exterior wall that had to be replaced because of storm damage. And he toured a wing of the Crisis Center that had been quickly repaired, in part because of the money he raised.

“It was just a big boost to the kids,” Bourne said. “Their lives already are filled with trauma, and then the ones that are here because they lost everything due to Harvey … it was just a big bonus and a big plus to their lives to have someone show up who genuinely cared about their stories and genuinely cared what they were going through.”

The money Watt raised has had a lasting effect on Houston and the surrounding areas affected by the storm, which was the deadliest hurricane to hit the United States since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Harvey flooded more than 300,000 structures and was directly responsible for at least 68 deaths.

Shelter from the storm

More than $30 million of the money J.J. Watt raised after Hurricane Harvey was split up to benefit four organizations — Americares, Feeding America, SBP and Save the Children. Courtesy Americares
One of the people aided by the money donated to Covenant House through Americares is Eric, a then-19-year-old father of two living in Sugar Land, Texas, when the hurricane hit. As the water rose, Eric, his girlfriend and her kids, ages 1 and 2, had to be evacuated by the Coast Guard on a large military vehicle to a shelter at Fulshear High School, more than 20 miles from Sugar Land.

Eric and his family stayed in the shelter for two weeks. After that, they became nomads, paying for hotels or rooms wherever they could find somewhere to stay. It was at one of these stops that Eric was robbed. Without any money to pay for a hotel, he turned to Covenant House.

“Especially when you’re a young parent, having to relocate, find shelter … it’s a heavy weight on your shoulders to do that all by yourself,” Eric said. “They really accepted me and my family with open arms. I really can’t even thank them enough.

“They sheltered us from the storm. Not Hurricane Harvey the storm, but the storm of everyday life. When you don’t have anybody to depend on, I knew I could depend on them here.”

In part because of the funding raised by Watt, Eric had a safe place for his children.

“Without that I probably wouldn’t be here, and I feel like I’m making a step in a positive direction from that. I couldn’t thank him enough,” Eric said. “I can nurture them here. We can color, read books and everything. It’s a surreal feeling actually just being here, knowing that this is a place for my kids … to love on them.”

‘A place to call home’

After his incredible online fundraiser, J.J. Watt said he made it his mission “to ensure this money makes as large of an impact as possible.” Courtesy Americares
John, 21, found his way to Covenant House immediately after Harvey struck. The morning after the storm first hit, he went to the nearest freeway to get as high up as he could. John had stayed at Covenant House before, and after losing everything during Harvey, he knew where he could turn for help.

“Covenant House has given me a place to call home and basically a family to call family,” John said. “Coming back to Covenant House, everything was better. We’re a family here, so basically having family around makes me feel like everything will get better.”

Along with housing, Covenant House offers services to help youth get back on their feet with education and career planning.

“[Covenant House made me] a better person,” John said. “It’s like Covenant House made me a [more] mature person than I was back then. I’m going to work, I’m focused at school. I want to become a pharmacy tech.

“At first I didn’t take life seriously, but Covenant House has prepared me to be out on my own and get my own place and keep my job.”

Covenant House kept its doors open during the storm, offering shelter to anyone who needed it. Immediately after Harvey hit, the shelter saw almost a 20 percent increase in homeless youth seeking assistance. The shelter serves an average of 90 young people every night on its Houston campus, located in the Montrose neighborhood, and has a strong street outreach program that has been directly impacted by the money Watt raised.

“There’s still homeless [people] out there,” Bourne said. “We see them on our street outreach program. I think we found 18 of them in July. As people are trying to get back in their homes or they’re still waiting on repair money for their homes, there’s still fallout a lot of times for that older youth that hasn’t transitioned out of the family. So we’re still prepared to take them in for the next year or so.

“Some people are starting to move into their homes, but it’s still not over. So we’re still expecting youth needing our services from the hurricane.”

Rebuilding homes and lives

Even with all his on-field success, J.J. Watt’s legacy in Houston is likely to be his massive Hurricane Harvey relief effort. Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire
At the end of November, Watt had the chance to see some of the work being done in person with the money that was raised. It was the first time he was able to get to a site after spending the previous month and a half recovering from surgery after he broke his leg during Houston’s Week 5 game.

“I went and saw a few of the homes that are being rebuilt by SBP after being completely gutted from floor to ceiling [and even the roof],” Watt wrote on Instagram. “The people and their stories were both heartbreaking and uplifting all at the same time. … Each of these families went through so much devastation and heartbreak, yet remain so positive and energetic, it was truly inspiring to spend time with them today.

“The work that SBP is doing in rebuilding these houses and helping to get people back in their homes is incredible, and thanks to your donations they will be building hundreds of homes over the next two years, each with a story like those great folks and each eager to get back into the comfort and safety of their own home.”

SBP was founded in 2006 by by Zack Rosenburg and Liz McCartney, who were living in Washington, D.C., at the time but volunteered at St. Bernard’s Parish in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. They started SBP six months after Katrina hit Louisiana. Since then, the organization has rebuilt more than 1,500 homes, and it opened an office in Houston in September 2017 to help people get back in their houses after Harvey.

The grant Watt provided SBP was for $8.5 million. According to Cli Roberts, the executive director of SBP Houston, each house costs about $35,000 to repair, so $3.5 million is going toward rebuilding the first 100 homes in 2018. The other $5 million has been granted to other organizations that are also rebuilding houses across areas impacted by Harvey.

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“It was incredible to see what J.J. Watt did by raising all of that money,” Roberts said. “So many people believed in him and donated, and that was incredible for SBP to be a part of it and to be trusted with that money and be able to go out and rebuild homes. One of the biggest barriers to recovery is funding, so knowing that we have this funding through Year 1 was just really relieving, knowing that we can move over 100 families home this year.”

SBP relies on volunteers to help rebuild homes. Colby Williams joined SBP because he has been here before. In 2005, he was living with his mother on Mandeville Street in Louisiana when Hurricane Katrina hit. Their home was too short, so they had to evacuate to his grandparents’ house and use a sledgehammer to break into the attic, where he said they spent “hours on hours” waiting to be rescued.

“Ever since I was involved in the storm, I had gotten help from other people, and I just wanted to fill that role,” Williams said. “I’ve always felt the need to help other people. And to be that support, that pillar for them to lean on.”

Williams said he has always been a football fan and “a huge fan of J.J. Watt,” but after seeing the time and effort Watt put into raising the money for those affected by Harvey, “it meant a lot.”

“We were able to get new tools and we were able to fund a hundred homes because of the J.J. Watt funds,” Williams said. “And now we have a fully stocked warehouse.”

Much more to be done

Watt has been an important part of this Houston community since he was drafted No. 11 overall in 2011. His list of donations and charitable contributions is long and admirable, but there is no doubt — even with the Hall of Fame-level of success he has had on the field — that what he did in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey a year ago will be his legacy in Houston.

Despite all of the work that has been done to restore Houston, a drive around the city reveals that there’s much more to be done.

“I think J.J. put it the best when he said last year: ‘It’s not going to take like a month. It might take a year, it might take two years, it might take three years,'” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said.

Although rebuilding Houston will take more time, there are tangible improvements and impacted lives that show exactly what the money Watt raised has done — and will continue to do — for Houston.

“The city’s been extremely resilient,” Watt said. “People have done a lot of work to get back to working order, I guess, but I think there’s also tons more work to be done. I think that it’s been out of the headlines for a long time and there’s been not a lot of, obviously, attention on it for a long time, but I think there’s still so many people that need a lot of help.”

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As the fourth quarter clock slowly churned down in the fourth quarter of yesterday’s 22-13 Texans loss to the Indianapolis Colts, the Texans were huddled up for a third down. That huddle included the following players — wide receivers Braxton Miller and Chris Thompson, tight end Stephen Anderson, quarterback T.J. Yates, and an offensive line that, left to right, went Julien Davenport, Xavier Su’a-Filo, Greg Mancz, Chad Slade, and Breno Giacomini.

In other words, the Texans were fielding a team on offense full of players who were undrafted, forgotten, waived, young, raw, bad, horrible, ill-equipped — pretty much any negative career tag or adjective you could use to describe a player, they were represented in the band of misfits with whom the Texans were trying to score go-ahead points in the fourth quarter.

And as they inevitably failed on that third down, all I could think was “Thank God, the season is over.” A season that was showing so much promise with Deshaun Watson under center ended with T.J. Yates throwing a meaningless (but highly symbolic) interception to end the season, as the Texans finished 2017 with a 4-12 record that was as ugly as the numbers read, save those six magical starts from Watson.

Now, we turn our attention to the only Texans story that matters — the power struggle between head coach Bill O’Brien and general manager Rick Smith, which we now have clarity on, although it’s under a sad cloud of medical issues for Smith’s wife. More on that in a moment, but let’s get to this weekend’s winners and losers:

WINNERS

4. Frank Gore
Late in Sunday’s game, Gore became just the fifth player in league history to pass the 14,000 yard mark, which is an impressive accomplishment (that I wish didn’t have the life sucked out of it by the CBS announce team mentioning the chase for it for what felt like every ten minutes or so during the broadcast — we got it, guys… Frank Gore’s a nice back). Gore’s case for the Hall of Fame is going to be very interesting, because I think there are hardcore football fans who had no idea before this season just how high up the all-time rushing list Gore is. He’s been the model of durability (started all 16 games for six straight seasons) and consistency (at least 960 yards in all but two of his thirteen seasons in the NFL). He had one great postseason, averaging 106 yards per game in the Niners’ run to a Super Bowl in 2012. However, he was second team All Pro once (2006), never a first team All Pro, which means he was rarely, if ever, one of the four best backs in the league, at any given time. What’s your favorite Frank Gore moment? (The answer is “There was one?”) My code for the Hall of Fame — a window of being among the absolute best at what you do, a few signature moments — does not fit Frank Gore. But hey, congrats on 14,000 yards!

3. The internet
James Harrison found a way to get himself cut in Pittsburgh and signed by the hated New England Patriots. Hell, he even had two sacks in Sunday’s game against the Jets. Thankfully, the internet was able to interpret this previously unfathomable moment — James Harrison playing for the team he called “cheaters” back in 2004 — through a WWE video analogy….

Robert Flores

@RoFlo
My dislike for the #Patriots is documented. But this is so good.
10:02 AM – Dec 28, 2017
27 27 Replies 549 549 Retweets 750 750 likes
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Perfection.

2. Texans’ 2018 schedule
In theory, we all hate to see our favorite team lose, especially in seasons where their first and second round draft picks are owned by the Cleveland Browns. There is virtually no draft-related reason to be rooting against the Texans, like there was in 2014 when the first overall pick would net Jadeveon Clowney. However, one consolation prize from the Texans’ losing to the Colts on Sunday is they are officially the last place team in the AFC South, so they will play a last place schedule. In plain English, this means they will catch the Broncos in Denver and the Browns at home, instead of a road game in Oakland and home game against the Bengals. Any scenario that involves playing the Browns is the optimal scenario. (YAY! WAY TO GO, O’BRIEN!)

1. Bill O’Brien
Given the dark turn that the O’Brien-Smith standoff took yesterday, it feels a little unsavory slotting anything to do with this story under “Winner” or “Loser” in this article. Please note that I’ve acknowledged this. So anyway, right after the game yesterday, we received this announcement from the team:

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

Amy Palcic
@amypalcic
Statement from Texans GM Rick Smith:
5:32 AM – Jan 1, 2018 · Indianapolis, IN
25 25 Replies 168 168 Retweets 380 380 likes
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On paper, it will read that general manager Rick Smith took an extended leave of absence to help tend to the needs of his wife Tiffany and their family as she undergoes treatment for breast cancer — that will read as the reason Smith was ultimately replaced as general manager of the Texans. As someone who lost his mother to breast cancer and watched my dad care for her for three years before she passed, I can attest that it’s an absolutely brutal ordeal, regardless of where in the process of fighting it Smith’s wife is, so I tread lightly when it comes to examining the curiosity of the timing of Smith’s announcement. Certainly, there are skeptics out there noting Smith may have been about to get demoted, and now he steps away without a demotion or termination. To those skeptics, I would say it’s just as plausible that Smith was waiting for the season to end to make this public, so as not to distract from the regular season (horrific as it may have been), and that now, with a GM’s busy season upon us (draft, free agency), Smith knows he can’t fulfill the obligations of an NFL GM’s job. That’s a reasonable scenario.

I guess my point is, other than hoping like hell that Tiffany Smith beats cancer, it doesn’t really matter HOW we arrived here — incredibly, we’ve arrived at what seemed like an impossible scenario, a Texans franchise with Bill O’Brien on the cusp of a contract extension and likely input on a new general manager. Regardless of how we arrived here, I think the Texans are better positioned for the future now than they were two days ago. Look, Bill O’Brien is far from perfect as a head coach, and the pressure will and should be turned up big time on him now that he will have a GM who is far more “his guy” than Smith was. However, any decisions Bob McNair is making should be made with Deshaun Watson at the forefront of the reasoning, so with that said, the facts are this —-

(a) Deshaun Watson was performing at an historical level with O’Brien as the offensive coordinator when he went down with a knee injury

(b) Smith was going to be tasked with fixing a rickety roster around Watson by using middle and late round picks and oodles of cap space, assets he has historically deployed fairly poorly as the GM of the Texans.

(c) No general manager in the league has been around longer and done less than Rick Smith

Certainly, a case could be made for replacing both Smith and O’Brien, and depending on whom they hired to replace O’Brien, I could be talked into that. But if it was going to be one or the other getting pushed aside, Smith had to go.

LOSERS

4. The NFL concussion protocol
Remember that concussion incident with Tom Savage against the 49ers three weeks ago? Feels like three months ago, I know. Well, the NFL and NFLPA have finished their investigations into just how a player who was convulsing on the field like he was having a seizure after a hit wound up back under center about five minutes later. Here’s what they came up with:

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View image on Twitter

Adam Wexler
@awexlerKPRC
Joint statement from NFL & @NFLPA says medical personnel followed protocol re: #Texans Savage concussion vs SF. But changes have been made to the protocol. @KPRC2
12:08 AM – Dec 30, 2017
Replies 1 1 Retweet 3 3 likes
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Obviously, these are all moves that make sense, and all moves that I’m skeptical about the league’s ability to execute properly. My biggest takeaway is that, until now, they didn’t require a player examined for a concussion to be examined the following day? That seems basic.

3. NFL officials
Somehow, this fight between Johnathan Joseph and T.Y. Hilton, which included four actual punches thrown between the two players, just received offsetting penalties and no ejections…..

Barstool Sports
@barstooltweetss
TY Hilton vs. Jonathan Jones out here SWINGIN @roughnrowdy
3:43 AM – Jan 1, 2018
65 65 Replies 1,517 1,517 Retweets 5,083 5,083 likes
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Thankfully, that was the most we heard from Hilton, noted Texan killer, all day as he finished with three catches for 14 yards.

2. Bald men trying to overcome baldism
CBS did a fantastic montage on Texans’ offensive lineman David Quessenberry and his recovery from non-Hodgkins lymphoma. We all know the story, how awesome it is, and how riveting it is every chance we get to see the national media gush about the courageousness of….. CHRIS MYERS?!?

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

John P. Lopez

@LopezOnSports
So @CBS just told the inspiring David Quessenberry story. One problem… This is @CMyers55
2:39 AM – Jan 1, 2018
23 23 Replies 46 46 Retweets 139 139 likes
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Hey, CBS, as a bald guy, let me just say that I find your apparent implication that all bald guys look EXACTLY alike as RACIST. I will only forgive you if you do a montage on how handsome Chris Myers is and accidentally include a picture of me.

1. The worst of the worst
If we are listing reasons that the Texans finished 4-12 this season, I’m fine with putting major injuries to Deshaun Watson, J.J. Watt, and Whitney Mercilus at the top of the list. That said, we can’t ignore the major regressions or underperformance (or just plain lack of talent) from some of the other key players on this roster. I’ll categorize these:

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Underperformers I don’t expect back next season: Kendall Lamm, Chris Clark, Xavier Su’a-Filo, Breno Giacomini, possibly Jeff Allen, Alfred Blue, Tom Savage, Brian Cushing, Marcus Gilchrist, possibly Johnathan Joseph (although I’d bring him back if he’d work somewhat cheap).

Underperformers who need to do some soul searching this offseason: Kevin Johnson, Kareem Jackson, Bernardrick McKinney (although I’m fearful he will get a decent contract extension),Will Fuller, Lamar Miller, Jay Prosch (not sure why he’s on the team, but he got an extension so what do I know?), Braxton Miller, C.J. Fiedorowicz (if he plays next season).

I’ll address all of these in longer form at some point in the coming weeks, but the bottom line is this roster has maybe a dozen players who are viewed as true, plus-level commodities around the league. So while Deshaun Watson’s presence makes this a desirable job for the next general manager, the lack of depth and talent around Watson makes it a difficult one, too.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.
Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
CONTACT: Sean Pendergast

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The Houston Texans have waived both wide receiver Keith Mumphery and inside linebacker Max Bullough after separate incidents with the two players.

Bullough has been suspended the first four games of the 2017 season after testing positive for a performance enhancing substance. Bullough was an integral part of the Texans defense down the stretch in 2016 at inside linebacker.

Bullough is entering his fourth season with the Texans after signing as a free agent from Michigan State prior to the 2014 season. Bullough has appeared in 30 games for the Texans the past three seasons playing inside linebacker and helping on special teams.

In 2016, Bullough appeared in 16 games and had 25 total tackles on the season.
Andrew Innerarity-USA TODAY Sports
The Texans have moved on from the third year wide receiver Keith Mumphery after the Detroit Free Press found out that he was banned from Michigan State’s campus for alleged misconduct. Mumphery could not return to Michigan State until 2019 despite no criminal charges being filed.

Mumphery was drafted by the Texans in the 2015 NFL draft in the 5th round and has caught 24 passes for 198 yards in 11 career games.

Related Links: Quick Hitters from Houston Texans OTAs | Digging Deep from Week Two at OTAs | Braxton Miller Returns

What Does Breno Giacomini Mean for the Texans? | Texans Notebook: Aaron Rodgers Likes Deshaun Watson | Treston Decoud Ready to Work for the Texans | Texans Easing D’Onta Foreman into the Mix
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Wholesale Authentic NFL Texans A.J. Bouye Jerseys 2018

Cornerback A.J. Bouye has moved on, no regrets about the Houston Texans not making a stronger push to re-sign him or putting him under their franchise tag last spring.

 

And when the Jaguars play the Texans for the second time this season on Sunday at EverBank Field, Bouye said he won’t carry any desire for vengeance.

He just wants a win, which would clinch the Jaguars’ first playoff berth in 10 years.

“It’s just the next game that’s very important against a good team that the record doesn’t show but we know what they’re capable of,’’ Bouye said. “I’m not going to say it’s a lot of pressure, but it’s just a great opportunity for our team to make that next step forward.’’

SEE ALSO

Texans Outlook: T.J. Yates will start at QB against Jaguars
Texans at Jaguars preview
Yet, it’s obvious the Jaguars benefited this season from Texans’ reluctance to re-sign Bouye.

Bouye, who played his first four seasons with the Texans before signing a five-year, $67.5 million free agent contract with Jaguars in March, is tied for the NFL lead with six interceptions.

The Texans’ entire secondary have combined for nine interceptions.

Behind Bouye and Jalen Ramsey, the Jaguars are holding teams to a league-low 174.2 yards passing. The Texans’ rank 26th in the league, allowing 241.8 yards per game.

“Well, yeah, there’s no doubt, he was somebody that we all really wanted back, no doubt about it,’’ Texans coach Bill O’Brien said. “He was playing real well. He’s a hell of a player and, like I said earlier in the week, we developed him, he’s worked a lot on his own and then he’s gone to Jacksonville and done a nice job in their scheme.”

In the Jaguars’ 29-7 victory against the Texans at NRG Stadium, Bouye and Ramsey teamed up to limit Texans’ top receiver DeAndre Hopkins to just 55 yards receiving on seven catches.

That’s likely to be the Jaguars plan again on Sunday with both Bouye and Ramsey taking turns covering Hopkins, who is the second-leading receiver in the NFL with 1,233 yards.

“He’s (Hopkins) is one of the top three or four receivers definitely in the league,” Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash said. “And they target him a lot, obviously. We have to know where he’s at all times. We’re very blessed to have some good players and A.J. has played solid football all year.”

Hopkins was listed on the Texans’ injury report with a toe injury that forced him to miss Thursday’s practice.

Hopkins, however, has not missed a game this season. And in last week’s 26-16 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Hopkins caught a season-high 11 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns. He has caught an NFL-high and franchise record 11 touchdown passes this season even though the Texans have lost three straight and six of their last seven.

“I felt like once they got Deshaun (Watson) that finally give him the recognition that he deserves because even without him he’s still scoring every week,” Bouye said. “He has great route craft, great hands. I remember watching one of the games and they were saying he has the most PIs (pass interference) calls against him. So that shows you how physical of a receiver he is and he is great at the point of attack. You have to be on your A game on every play.”

Although the Texans are expected to start T.J. Yates, their third different starting quarterback this season, Bouye regards him with respect.

“He is not afraid to throw it and he puts it on the money,” Bouye said. “I remember my third year I want to say we played the Jets and that’s when (cornerback Darrelle) Revis was with them and he went straight at Revis when he was still the best in the game. T.J. has done it at North Carolina, he’s done it in the league. He’s a proven quarterback and we’re not taking him lightly at all.”

In last week’s 30-24 victory against Seattle, Bouye picked off quarterback Russell Wilson twice and Ramsey had an interception.

“We’re playing with confidence, with that swag, that juice out there and I would like to say it comes from the secondary,” Ramsey said. “He’s (Hopkins) super physical, but I am too. It’s going to be a cool, fun game.”
NFL Interception Leaders

1. A.J. Bouye, Jaguars, 6

2. Kevin Byard, Titans, 6

3. Micah Hyde, Bills, 5

3. Darius Slay, Lions, 5

3. Eric Weddle, Ravens, 5

Texans at Jaguars

When: 1 p.m., Sunday

Where: EverBank Field

TV: Fox

Line: Jaguars by 11

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The Texans made a stunning move up the 2017 draft in order to land a franchise quarterback, and it paid off big-time when Deshaun Watson proved to be the most exciting rookie of the first half of the season before an injury ended his year early. Still, the Texans know they have the most important piece of the roster locked in and multiple stars on both sides of the ball. So what do they need? Let’s dive into it.
2018 draft picks
Round 1: None
Round 2: None
Round 3: Houston, Seattle
Round 4: Houston
Round 5: None
Round 6: Houston
Round 7: Houston
The Texans of course paid quite the price to land Watson, sending the Browns their first-round pick in this draft for the opportunity to move up in 2017. Houston also sacrificed its second-round pick in order to clear Brock Osweiler from their ledger, sending it to the Browns as well. They did upgrade their fifth-rounder to a third-rounder in the trade that sent tackle Duane Brown to the Seahawks, which also netted Houston an extra second-rounder in 2019. With that future pick in tow, the Texans have the option to package a 2019 Day 2 pick with one of their third-rounders this year should they want to make a leap for a particular target in 2018.
Biggest offseason needs
Offensive line
Cornerback
Safety
The Texans are pretty well set up at their skill positions with two quality options in the running game, a beast in No. 1 receiver DeAndre Hopkins and a quality secondary option in Will Fuller, but they need to get Watson some help up front, and fast. The team can’t count on anything from right tackle Derek Newton, who’s trying to work his way back from ruptured patellar tendons. No one has played well enough on the line to lock up a starting spot, so it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Texans use their limited draft capital on multiple offensive linemen.
The front-seven has an excellent chance at being elite if J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus can stay healthy in 2018, as players like D.J. Reader and Christian Covington have played well. Even at inside linebacker, where it’s time to move on from Brian Cushing and save $8.5 million in cap space, the team has a pair of young second-round picks in Bernardrick McKinney and Zach Cunningham to lean on.

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The Texans don’t have too much to hang their hat on in the secondary though. Kareem Jackson might not be worth the expensive price tag, but Johnathan Joseph is a free agent and Kevin Johnson has been routinely burned in coverage. Talent needs to be found somewhere. At safety, Andre Hal is worth sticking with at one spot, but the team needs to find another capable starter next to him.
Prospects to watch
Jamarco Jones, OT, Ohio State
Jones showed drastic improvement in his final year with the Buckeyes, and he has the size and length to step right into the left tackle spot at the professional level. He could be available when the Texans go on the clock in Round 3, or the Texans could choose to make a move into the second round to draft a tackle.
Quenton Meeks, CB, Stanford

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Meeks is a long, rangy cornerback who’s had his fair share of experience on an island. As a run defender, he’s unafraid to lower the boom on running backs. The 6-foot-2 Meeks has six pass breakups and two interceptions this season for the Cardinal.
Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
Harrison is an enforcer on the back end of Alabama’s defense. While he doesn’t project to a center field role in the NFL, his versatility and thumping ability against the run will make him a hot commodity come draft time.

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“I thought Jeff Allen did a decent job at left tackle,” O’Brien said. “The false starts were not all his fault. We were in a couple different cadences there and I’ve got to do a better job of coaching that. I wouldn’t put that on Jeff Allen, those false starts. I thought Jeff played good. I thought Xavier (Su’a-Filo) probably played one of his better games. I thought Nick (Martin) did some good things on the inside, all of them in pass pro. Breno (Giacomini) plays a very tough, tough veteran leadership type game every week and I thought that Mancz had a solid day.”

The modified Texans o-line had success in pass protection in the 24-13 loss to the Titans, gaining 384 total net yards on offense. Houston’s 331 passing yards were the second-most in a game this season (367 vs. Seattle in Week 8). The Texans rushed for just 53 yards against a stingy Titans run defense, but O’Brien sees potential in the offensive line’s performance.

“I can’t say that that’ll be the line every week but I thought that those guys played well and I would anticipate that that’s probably the offensive line moving forward here for the next few weeks,” O’Brien said.

The Texans return to NRG Stadium after back-to-back road games to host the San Francisco 49ers in Week 14. Kickoff is set for Sunday at noon CT on FOX and SportsRadio 610.

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Texans cornerback Jonathan Joseph will be making donations to Harvey relief efforts based on his on-field performance throughout this season. Browse the photos to see how former Texans receiver, Andre Johnson, helped relief efforts earlier this week.

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, many professional athletes are stepping up to help Houston recover from the historic storm.
On Saturday, Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph announced on Twitter one way he plans to help the city recover.
Throughout the season, the 12-year veteran and two-time Pro Bowl cornerback will donate $5,000 for every interception, $1,000 for every deflection, and $250 for every tackle to Habitat for Humanity.
You can join his campaign and donate by following this link: https://www.habitat.org/donate/?link=851&source_code=CHQAM1708W1R15

 

Browse the photos above to see how former Texans receiver, Andre Johnson, helped relief efforts earlier this week.

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NEW ORLEANS — Jadeveon Clowney rejoined J.J. Watt on the field Saturday night against the New Orleans Saints as the Texans’ ultra-dangerous pass-rushing tandem got their final work of the preseason.
It didn’t last long as the Texans’ Pro Bowl bookends only made a cameo appearance in the third preseason game.
Clowney and Watt played just four snaps before leaving the game, their work done for the night. Neither defensive standout registered any defensive statistics against the Saints.
In limited action, Clowney got eluded by speedy Saints wide receiver Ted Ginnon on an end around that was called back due to a block in the back. Clowney missed the Texans’ preseason game against the New England Patriots, returning to practice Thursday after dealing with leg soreness for roughly two weeks.
Watt donned a baseball cap on the sidelines, his preseason over since starters don’t traditionally play in the fourth and final preseason game.

The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year emerged unscathed from the preseason having made a sound recovery from a pair of microdiscetomy surgeries last year to repair a herniated disk.
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The Texans are extremely upbeat about the prospects of a healthy Watt and Clowney teaming up as disruptive forces at the line of scrimmage.

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FRISCO — Texans veteran middle linebacker Brian Cushing has been in touch regularly with his wife, Megan, and their two young sons.
While Cushing and the displaced Texans practice at the Dallas Cowboys’ practice facility in north Texas, he’s been relieved to hear that his family is doing well.
“They’re good,” Cushing said. “They’re safe. They’re at home. We’ve been fortunate with the situation with where we live in our location. Obviously, the streets are all completely flooded with water.
“It hasn’t got to the house. The kids are going a little stir-crazy, not really having a grasp of what’s going on. They’ve been in the house for a while now.”
Cushing and his wife have pledged $50,000 to USO Houston to help military members and first responders

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Cushing and his teammates are doing their best to compartmentalize their attention on football with their concern for their families amidst all the flooding and chaos back home.
“It’s a huge concern,” Cushing said. “At the same time, we have a job. You talk to teammates. Obviously, you want to be there. It’s not easy.
“We have a job, and right now this is where I need to be. At the same time, I will be very happy to finally get home and be with them.”

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Since last October, the question I’ve gotten most in email, Twitter, and supermarket checkout line …“When is Charlie Pallilo coming back to radio?”

The answer is today (August 21). Depending on when you read this, perhaps right now. And from now on. Pallilo will host the midday show, 11 am to 1 pm weekdays, on SB Nation 1560 AM.

It’s about time. Sports talk fans were surprised, many dismayed, last October when KBME 790 AM dismissed afternoon “host-for-life” Pallilo in favor of Josh Innes. To say that Pallilo and Innes have different styles of hosting would be an understatement. Pallilo is known for doing a brainy, no-nonsense sports show dependent on interaction with callers. Innes does a more humorous, wide-ranging show steeped in outrageous banter and controversial opinions.
The twains never met. Pallilo’s fans were furious about his departure and swore off 790’s afternoon show. Meanwhile Innes has developed his own following from scratch, in fact has been promoted to hosting the station’s morning show.

It’s no secret that Pallilo and I are longtime buddies. He’s a stickler for accuracy and facts and is dedicated to his show. I’ve always thought, if I had Pallilo’s work ethic, I’d be publisher of The New York Times instead of scribbling my opinion on Dairy Queen’s latest “Blizzard of the Month” and ghost-writing nonsense for homeless dogs waiting to be adopted.

Last week, I hit Pallilo with all the questions that people have asked me about his return to radio. Bottom line: Charlie’s gonna be Charlie.

CultureMap: Will your new show on 1560 AM be the same as your afternoon show on 790 AM (and before that 610 AM and 740 AM), or will you change things up for your new time slot?
Charlie Pallilo: Other than doing the opening segment in iambic pentameter, fundamentally the show will be the same. Solo hosting and personal taste mean I will always want regular interaction with callers, with guests here and there as topical.

CM: You’ve been off the air for almost a year. How did you spend that time?

CP: Basically enjoying life over my first break of any notable duration since college. Outside of not doing a show, my overall routine wasn’t dramatically different. It’s not as though I took a break from ardently following sports. I much enjoyed the Rockets’ season and now this Astros’ season. I caught up with a number of people, did some traveling, restored my tennis game from inadequate to mediocre. And I am now fluent in Tagalog.

CM: Did you ever consider leaving Houston?

CP: My life and career have been great here. Without a specific desirable job in hand, there are very few places I’d rather live on a year-round basis. So relocation was never a consideration. Now, if WFAN called me about succeeding Mike Francesa…

CM: You’ve said that baseball is your first sports love. Are you excited to come back in a pennant chase season?

CP: Absolutely. The Astros could win the World Series. Of course, they could also get bounced in the Division Series. Combine that with football about to start, the timing of my getting back on air is not mere coincidence.

CM: How will you adjust to doing a show from 11 am to 1 pm instead of afternoon drive time?

CP: I will feel my way along. The initial challenge will be getting the word around that the show exists. My morning prep will be shorter. For instance, I would typically re-watch a relevant Sunday Texans game Monday morning. There just won’t be time for that now.

CM: What did you miss most about being on the air?

CP: The passion that surrounds the best and worst of times. I enjoy rational discussions and arguments.

CM: You have a reputation of doing an intelligent, straightforward sports show. Has that always been your style, did you set out to do that, or did it develop naturally?

CP: We all have egos. Part of mine has always included taking pride in being thought of as smart and witty, and doing a show that is more likely to raise the quality of discourse than to insult or downgrade one’s intelligence.

CM: Rate the press box food at Astros, Rockets, and Texans, and what’s your favorite item at each?

CP: The Texans are the only one of the three who don’t charge. I’ll go with the Astros for overall quality. The Rockets have some outstanding desserts in their rotation. I am a man of the sweets. My favorites are frozen yogurt at Astros game, baked beans and cobbler at Texans games, and bread pudding and key lime pie at Rockets games.

CM: Which Houston team will be next to win a championship: Astros, Rockets, Texans, UH, Rice, or Dynamo?

CP: Unless the Warriors and Patriots take their seasons off, the Astros are the clear best hope.

CM: You went to Syracuse University, known for it broadcasting school. Did you always know that you wanted a career in broadcasting?

CP: When I was about 12, I read Marv Albert’s autobiography. I knew by then I would not grow to J.J. Watt, James Harden, or Jose Altuve’s stature. At least not Altuve’s talent stature. A career tied to my biggest passion would make work as close to play as I could hope.

CM: You’ve been around long enough to have perspective … how has sports talk radio changed during your career? Better or worse?

CP: Obviously there are more outlets, and more opportunities for people to get a shot at some point. Perhaps reflective of no zoning restrictions, Houston has too many sports radio stations for the market and talent pool. For better and worse the internet has been the biggest difference maker. From research, to everyone having access to a lot more data (and b.s.), to the blogosphere and social media. Attention spans shorter, a lot of dumbing down. More “look at me!” nonsense. But, as with 1,000 cable channels, there is plenty of good stuff amidst the not so good.