A familiar face will be on the opposing sideline Sunday. A.J. Bouye is back.
The cornerback signed with the Jaguars this offseason in free agency after spending the first four years of his career as a Texan. A breakthrough 2016 saw Bouye draw a great deal of attention on the free agent market, and he put pen to paper with Jacksonville. Paired up with second-year corner Jalen Ramsey, the Jaguars like what they have on the perimeter of their defense.
"A.J.'s been a great asset for us," Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said. "I'm sure that the people in Houston know about him as a person and obviously he has a great work ethic and really' s done a nice job for us."
Bouye tallied 16 passes defensed along with 63 tackles and an interception last season. A rookie in 2013 along with Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins, he's seen quite a bit of the Pro Bowl pass-catcher. Now that they're on opposing teams, Hopkins reflected on their early days as professionals.
"I remember the first play we went against each other," Hopkins said. "Going against A.J., it's not going to be something new. It's something that I've been doing. We know each other's game a little bit, so it should be challenging."
The challenge doesn't just begin and end with Hopkins, though. Quarterback Tom Savage has a great deal of respect for Bouye as well.
"I know we got our work cut out and we're going to do what we need to do to find a way to get these guys the ball in space," Savage said.
Head coach Bill O'Brien said the Texans "have a lot of respect" for Bouye, and cited the corner's work ethic and years of practicing against Hopkins as reasons for his rise.
Kickoff is Sunday at noon CT inside NRG Stadium.
The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 12/29/2020)