Jacksonville Jaguars beat writer Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union joined Nick Scurfield of HoustonTexans.com for an exclusive interview to share his thoughts on the Week 4 Texans-Jaguars showdown.
Stellino, a former president of the Pro Football Writers Association of America, became a member of the writer's wing of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989 while covering the NFL for the Baltimore Sun.
Here is the Jaguars insider's perspective on several key points of the game:
Nick Scurfield: Maurice-Jones Drew and Fred Taylor are banged up, but do you think either will miss Sunday's contest? If so, how do you like the Jags' chances of running the ball effectively against Houston's struggling run defense?
Stellino: Drew and Taylor should be fine for Sunday. And since the Texans are 27th against the run, the Jaguars should be able to run
well against the Texans.
Nick Scurfield: David Garrard has gotten off to a lackluster start this year despite a big offseason contract. What's been holding him back?
Vito Stellino: Garrard's problems are the injuries in the offensive line and the wide receivers. He's made a few bad throws, but he hasn't had enough time to throw and the wide receivers aren't getting open because they don't have a deep threat.
Nick Scurfield: Injuries decimating the Jacksonville offensive line have created opportunities for reserve players, including former Texan Milford Brown. How has Brown performed in his new role?
Vito Stellino: Milford Brown was immediately thrust into the starting lineup and has done as well as could be expected under the circumstances since he wasn't with them in training camp.
Nick Scurfield: Why do you think the Texans have been so successful against the Jaguars in the past? Garrard said he thinks they used to overlook the Texans.
Vito Stellino: The Texans started out with several former Jaguars and seemed to get fired up to play the Jaguars. And the Jaguars tended to overlook them at times. Garrard was right when he said the Jags overlooked them at times.
Nick Scurfield: In what areas do the Jaguars present challenges for the Texans?
Vito Stellino: The challenge for the Texans is stopping the Jaguars' running game. The game will turn on how well the Jaguars run.
Nick Scurfield: In what areas do the Texans present challenges for the Jaguars?
Vito Stellino: The Jaguars have been vulnerable on defense this year. Matt Schaub needs to have a big day throwing the ball. If Reggie Nelson can't play and with Scott Starks on IR, the Jaguars could be vulnerable in the secondary. Schaub needs to exploit their secondary.
Nick Scurfield: What's your prediction for the score?
Vito Stellino: I don't like to give predictions, but I'll go with the Jaguars, 21-17.