Last Sunday couldn't have gone any worse for the Houston Texans as they lost to the previously 0-3 Minnesota Vikings 31-23. I suppose they could've been hit by a spate of injuries and that could've been worse; thankfully, that didn't happen. Regardless, the ramifications of losing on Sunday to Minnesota were felt on Monday when the Texans fired head coach/GM Bill O'Brien and named Romeo Crennel the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
This Sunday, then, becomes an opportunity for healing and turning the ship right around. That said, it won't be easy for the Texans as they face a young, aggressive Jacksonville Jaguars squad at high noon at NRG Stadium. The Jaguars started the season with a surprising seven point win over the 3-1 Colts, but the Jaguars haven't been able to get back in the win column. As such, a couple of desperate teams will meet one another in the Texans' first AFC South battle in 2020.
The Jaguars are led by a gunslinger at quarterback and a youthful defense that has the makings of being a stout unit in the future. Outside of the Thursday night debacle against the Dolphins, the Jaguars have found themselves in a position to win every game this year, but haven't found a way the past three weeks.
Division games are always a little more juicy than normal so it should be a tense atmosphere on Sunday when the Jaguars come to Houston. So, let's get to Know The Texans Week Five Foe - the Jacksonville Jaguars.
2020 Schedule (1-3)
W, Indianapolis Colts 27-20
L, @Tennessee Titans 33-30
L, Miami Dolphins 31-13
L, @ Cincinnati Bengals 33-25
Jaguars OFFENSE (in 2020 regular season)
Rushing Yards Per game - 104.3 ypg (22nd in the NFL)
Passing Yards Per game - 262.8 ypg (10th)
Total offense per game - 367.0 ypg (19th)
Turnovers lost - 5 (4 INT, 1 Fumbles lost)
Expected Jaguars starting offense for Week Five
QB - Gardner Minshew II
RB - JAMES ROBINSON
WR - D.J. Chark Jr.
WR - LAVISKA SHENAULT JR.
TE - TYLER EIFERT
LT - Cam Robinson
LG - Andrew Norwell
C - Brandon Linder/Tyler Shatley
RG - A.J. Cann
RT - Jawaan Taylor
Other Key Offensive pieces
WR - Keelan Cole
WR - Chris Conley
WR - Collin Johnson
WR - Dede Westbrook
TE - Tyler Davis
TE - James O'Shaughnessy
RB - Chris Thompson
FB - Bruce Miller
Bold - Rookie
ALL CAPS - New to team in 2020
Keys to winning v. the Jaguars Offense
- Bring numbers to the party - Running back James Robinson isn't a Clyde Edwards-Helaire clone, but he presents a number of the same issues. Namely, Robinson is built low to the ground and has tremendous contact balance so tacklers won't finish the job on a solo mission. Multiple defenders must arrive in a bad mood to limit Robinson's yards after first contact.
- Minshew from the Well - Minshew Mania is a bad thing. Allowing Gardner Minshew II to throw off platform, or after eluding the Texans rush for five or six seconds, will be a major issue for the Texans defense. What the D did in London is the recipe for success - force him to stay in the well and throw over the top of the rush defenders into tight spaces downfield.
- Set the edge in the run game, pure and simple - there's not much more to add.
- Keep Chark in front - the Texans haven't given up a significantly high number of deep balls this year, if any. Chark can change that in a hurry. He's evolved into one of the best receivers in the AFC and has improved his routes, timing and hands. The Texans must continue to eliminate the impact of deep threats, Chark in particular, in the passing game and then take the football away on intermediate stuff in front of them.
- Find #10 - That's rookie Laviska Shenault Jr. and he's a problem. Why? Because he lines up all over the field and gets the ball in a myriad of ways. He had six touches for 91 yards last week v. Cincinnati so expect OC Jay Gruden to continue to create touches for the rookie against the Texans.
Jaguars DEFENSE (in 2020 regular season)
Rushing Yards Allowed Per game - 138.5 ypg (26th in the NFL)
Passing Yards Allowed Per game - 261.0 ypg (24th)
Total offense Allowed per game - 399.5 ypg (23rd)
Turnovers generated - 3 (3 INT, 0 Fumble recoveries - Jaguars are -2 in TO margin)
Expected Jaguars starting defense for Week Five
DE - Josh Allen
NT - Abry Jones
DT - Taven Bryan
DE - Adam Gotsis
LB - Myles Jack
MLB - JOE SCHOBERT
LB - CASSIUS MARSH SR.
CB - Tre Herndon
S - ANDREW WINGARD
S - JOSH JONES
CB - C.J. HENDERSON
Other Key Defensive pieces
OLB - K'Lavon Chiasson
DE - Dawuane Smoot
LB - Shaq Quarterman
DB - Chris Claybrooks
DT - DaVon Hamilton
Bold - Rookie
ALL CAPS - New starter in 2020
Keys to winning v. the Jaguars Defense
- Attack - this has nothing to do with the Jaguars at all. It's about the offense's mindset when it comes out of the locker room for every game the rest of the season. ATTACK, from play one to zeroes on the clock.
- Use Up-tempo, like NASCAR fast too - I've clamored for this for a while. Find the right pacing from play to play and dominate the defense. The Texans have offensive weapons that can do that, so no time like the present to put the opponent under siege.
- Utilize everyone in the passing game - There's plenty of pass catchers in the stable and the more pressure placed on the Jaguars to have to cover them all, the more success the Texans passing game can have. Oh, and send them all deep too. Every single one of the Texans threats have the ability to go deep. So, go. Go deep. All of you. Not at the same time, mind you, but selectively throughout the game, of course.
- Let 4 drive - Run the entire offense through Deshaun Watson. Let him change plays at the line of scrimmage. Allow him to pick and choose his spots when to go fast. Let him erupt. The last time he just let loose was probably in his rookie year when he was just ballin'. He found the open guy and threw the ball. He didn't stress about coverage this and front that, he just played...and played well.
- Play desperate and loose - Those sound like two completely disparate adjectives, but they're actually right on point. Playing desperate will help the team focus on the "now or never" aspect of the season, while playing loose will have them playing with joy, a smile on their faces for big plays and touchdowns. Desperate and loose - it can work. Nay, it WILL work.
Check out some photos from the Houston Texans Thursday practice.