The Rundown: Jaguars Edition
Patrick D. Starr
It is hard to imagine that things on the football field could have gone any better for the Houston Texans against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Texans pretty much played a solid game, except for the three plays that led to the Jaguars only score of the day.
There were plenty of questions to be answered from week one and it showed on Sunday with the Texans focused for all four quarters. Look no further than the dominance that both the offense and defense showed over their division foe.
- There are many fans who complain about Matt Schaub, but he was as efficient as ever. It seemed like the Jaguars were playing a soft cover two scheme forcing Schaub to go underneath with his passes, and he gladly accepted what they gave him. He did not light up the stat sheet, but no turnovers and timely passing for first downs proved huge for the Texans to move the ball.
Targets | Completions
Owen Daniels 6 | 9 Two drops
Arian Foster 6 | 7 One drop
James Casey 4 | 4
Kevin Walter 3 | 4 One Drop
Andre Johnson 3 | 4
Keshawn Martin 0 | 2
Garrett Graham 1 |1
- His one blunder was the one that gave up the touchdown, and Bradie James got turned around on Maurice Jones-Drew's touchdown reception. James is not very good in coverage but, despite that one play, he played much better than his week one performance. Wade Phillips helped James out by calling more run blitzes for him to get downhill into the Jaguars backfield, and he did cause some disruptions in the backfield. With only two tackles to his credit, he did improve from week one, which is a positive sign.
- Kareem Jackson was impressive for the small amount of targets the Jaguars threw at him, so much he did not give up a single reception. He was locked on Justin Blackmon and even had a pass breakup on an intermediate route. People will try to downplay his performance with who the opponent was, but we have never seen this type of play from Jackson against any team. Johnathan Joseph gave up more completions than anyone that lined up for the Texans, so Jackson was pretty impressive on Sunday. He is improving week to week and it is showing.
- The offensive line was pretty impressive against the Jaguars, clearing the way for 216 rushing yards on the ground for Arian Foster, Ben Tate and Justin Forsett. A big jump was made by Antoine Caldwell and Derek Newton with their run blocking performance. Newton showed his power in the run game and was moving defenders with ease, while Caldwell tightened up his cut blocking game especially on runs away from him. A big surprise was the play of rookie Ben Jones who filled in a few series for Caldwell, and he did not disappoint. Drafted as a center, Jones filled in at right guard and showed some nice combination of power and quickness as a lineman. Jones was very fast getting to the second level and clearing out linebackers creating the cutback for the Texans running backs. This is something definitely to watch for the rest of the season to see if Jones will be splitting more time with Caldwell at right guard.
- Ben Tate looked like a top running back in the league against the Jaguars when he averaged 6.2 yards on 12 carries and chipped in two touchdowns. Tate was stiff arming, spinning and showing his speed when he touched the ball and looked like a new back from week one. He also impressed when he caught a little swing pass and turned it into a first down by making the first defender miss and cutting back across field on a crucial third down play. He is making his case to be a starter in this league, and the Texans have two big time running backs with Tate and Arian Foster. Not to be out done, Foster rushed for 110 yards with a touchdown too.
- Defense was not on the field much, 38 plays to be exact, but nose tackle Earl Mitchell looked the best he has since being converted to the position. He played with great leverage and used his hands well to keep the center from getting into his body. He was able to shed blocks and hold the line of scrimmage for the defense to make plays. Mitchell has been getting some more snaps on passing down in nickel and dime situations, and he has been much better in the early part of the 2012 season.
- We are still trying to figure out the outside linebacker play for the Texans and it seems that they are being asked to do more things than just rush the passer. Connor Barwin, Brooks Reed and Whitney Mercilus have been non existant on their pass rush in the first two games of the season. Reed got a sack when Blaine Gabbert ran into him trying to avoid the pass rush that almost resulted in a safety, but other than that the position group has been silent. Mercilus has had few snaps and Barwin has been quiet as well. Let's hope they can turn it around and start helping the pass rush of the Texans' defense.
- One bad punt that had a good return on it put a little damper on punter Donnie Jones' day. Jones averaged 49.8 yards today (6 punts) with 58 being his long punt of the game. Jones has helped the Texans flip the field and showed some key consistency on getting some solid punts in. His veteran presence has helped the Texans solidify their special teams unit and give the Texans another weapon in the field position game.
- J.J. Watt has been a player the past two weeks for the Texans and today he showed once again he is a game changer. Five tackles with 1.5 sacks and 2 more pass deflections (giving him 5 for the season), Watt has been a force for the Texans inside and has been creating so much trouble for offensive lines that teams will have to start making wiser choices on how to block him. Sitting out four weeks of the preseason has seemed to only have helped him. He has been a one man wrecking crew for the Texans.
There is nothing wrong with this either.