The first half of the Texans season couldn't have gone worse. They lost six of seven games. They lost every game on the road. They won just one game at home. They saw a head coach get fired. The only thing that didn't really hit this team was a rash of injuries and here's hoping that doesn't strike in the second half of the schedule. Regardless, it was a rough first seven weeks of the 2020 campaign.
But, after a noisy trade deadline came and went without any Texans leaving the building, the Texans will embark on the second half of the season traveling to face the 1-6 Jacksonville Jaguars. However, the quarterback the Texans have faced in the last three meetings will sit this one out as he rehabs an injured thumb. As such, Gardner Minshew II will give way to sixth round rookie Jake Luton. But, don't get it twisted, Luton has a BIG-TIME cannon and the last time the Texans face a rookie with a cannon arm/confidence for days, Drew Lock and the Broncos came into NRG Stadium last year and put up 31 first half points on their way to a 38-24 shocking win over the Texans.
The Texans haven't seen Luton, other than our area scouts back in college. As such, there's no telling what they're going to see in Duval County, but there are no excuses with nine games left to play. As such, let's get to Know Week Nine Foe - the Jacksonville Jaguars, again.
2020 Schedule (1-6)
W, Indianapolis Colts 27-20
L, @Tennessee Titans 33-30
L, Miami Dolphins 31-13
L, @ Cincinnati Bengals 33-25
L, @ Houston Texans 30-16
L, Detroit Lions 34-16
L, @ Los Angeles Chargers 39-29
Jaguars OFFENSE (in 2020 regular season)
Rushing Yards Per game - 96.6 ypg (30th in the NFL)
Passing Yards Per game - 246.4 ypg (20th)
Total offense per game - 343.0 ypg (24th)
Turnovers lost - 10 (5 INT, 5 Fumbles lost)
Expected Jaguars starting offense for Week Five
QB - JAKE LUTON
RB - JAMES ROBINSON
WR - D.J. Chark Jr.
WR - LAVISKA SHENAULT JR.
TE - TYLER EIFERT/James O'Shaughnessy
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
TE - Tyler Davis
RB - Chris Thompson
OG - Ben Bartch
Bold - Rookie
ALL CAPS - New to team in 2020
Keys to winning v. the Jaguars Offense
- Nothing for J Rob - Running back James Robinson isn't quite 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. He's clearly been Jacksonville's best offensive player by a mile this season.
- Keep it Twisted & Smart - You've heard of the KISS philosophy, but this is KITS - Keep It Twisted & Smart and it refers to the way the Texans have to harass rookie quarterback Jake Luton in his first ever NFL start. In his final season at Oregon State, Luton threw 29 touchdowns with an arm that is all that way live. I can't tell you how many times I saw him throw a DIME from the opposite hash to the near sideline for a touchdown, much less non-scoring tosses. He's 6-6 and can sling it, but he's never had to process as quickly as he will on Sunday, especially against constantly changing his looks, while heating him up will be a twisted way for the young man to spend his day. So, the Texans MUST show him some twisted and wild stuff he's never seen before to introduce Luton to the NFL in a right and proper way.
- Set the edge in the run game, pure and simple - OHHH...and tackle. Do those two things and the defense will help this team win games over the last nine of the season.
- Keep Chark in front - the Texans got torched by Davante Adams the last time they were on the field - short, medium and deep. Chark is a tremendous deep threat but he's not gotten heavily involved for the Jaguars this season. Yet, his new rookie quarterback Jake Luton can sling it down the field which it makes Chark that much more dangerous than perhaps he was back in week five.
- Viska - That's rookie Laviska Shenault Jr. and he was a big problem against the Texans back in week five. He had seven catches, a season high, for 79 yards but the Jaguars chose not to give him any carries in the last matchup. He's had a carry in every other game, but recently, he's not done a ton with those carries as he's had two carries for just one yard. Either way, Jacksonville will/should continue to find a multitude of ways to get him the ball, especially so with a rookie in at quarterback.
Jaguars DEFENSE (in 2020 regular season)
Rushing Yards Allowed Per game - 142.6 ypg (28th in the NFL)
Passing Yards Allowed Per game - 281.9 ypg (28th)
Total offense Allowed per game - 424.4 ypg (31st)
Turnovers generated - 6 (6 INT, 0 Fumble recoveries - Jaguars are -4 in TO margin)
Expected Jaguars starting defense for Week Five
DE - Josh Allen
NT - DaVON HAMILTON
DT - Taven Bryan
DE - Adam Gotsis
LB - Myles Jack
MLB - JOE SCHOBERT
LB - K'LAVON CHIASSON
CB - Tre Herndon
S - ANDREW WINGARD
S - JOSH JONES
CB - C.J. HENDERSON
Other Key Defensive pieces
DE - Dawuane Smoot
LB - Dakota Allen
LB - Quincy Williams
CB/Nickel - Brandon Watson
S - Daniel Thomas
LB - Shaq Quarterman
DB - Chris Claybrooks
Bold - Rookie
ALL CAPS - New starter in 2020
Keys to winning v. the Jaguars Defense
- Protect from 41's attack - #41 is Jaguars star edge rusher Josh Allen who didn't play in this week five matchup due to injury. When he's on the field, he's HIGHLY disruptive, so Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard must be alert whenever #41 is on their side and ready for some 1-on-1 action.
- Use Up-tempo, like NASCAR fast too - I've clamored for this for a while. If there's anything I'd love for the staff to have found in the self-scouting process, it'd be this - up-tempo pacing is to this offense's liking. 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.
- Control the interior - Throughout this season, the Texans have faced some salty defensive fronts, but there have been some that left something to be desired. As such, the Texans haven't been able to take advantage of most of the defenses they faced. But, against the Jaguars in week five, the Texans ran for a season high 129 yards. They got some chunk plays running to the outside, but they need to control the interior to provide some inside/outside options in the running game, not only in this game but throughout the remainder of the season.
- 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.
- Pounce - What is there to lose at this point? Nothing. The record stinks currently, so go play ball with some swag, some chutzpah and let it all hang out. The second half of the schedule is nowhere near as daunting as the first half was, so take advantage and jump all over this team that the Texans are better than...and destroy it from jump.
Check out the Best Photos from the Houston Texans win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Bull's Eye photo gallery presented by Whataburger.