If the Jacksonville Jaguars are going to beat the Houston Texans, these three things must happen.
I have to admit, a part of me would love to be Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew. The rookie will get his first start of this career on the road against the Houston Texans on Sunday.
The fanfare, the excitement, the cult following. And that’s where the man-crush ends. Playing against Houston, with a stinging defense and pass rush led by J.J. Watt is enough to make me run and hide for about three hours until the game is over.
This presents a tough challenge for the Jaguars, playing their second game of the season, starting a rookie signal-caller and being without defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and cornerback A.J. Bouye – the tough task got even tougher.
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Head coach Doug Marrone told the media earlier this week he thinks Minshew’s ability to take what he has learned in the quarterback room and apply it so well is a gift that will serve his young quarterback well this week.
"“I really believe that. I think some people have that and some people don’t. I think it’s a gift. I think some things are just God-given,” Marrone explained. “It’s the same way someone could run a 4.3 [second] 40-[yard dash]. How does he do it and someone else can’t? I think it’s just a gift. Some people are naturals.”"
Minshew won’t be the only player the team counts on for a win on Sunday. The Jaguars, already in a 0-1 hole, cannot afford two straight losses heading into the Thursday night tilt with the Tennessee Titans. If the Jaguars are going to beat Houston, here are three things that have to happen.
The Jaguars will play it smart this week and try to control the clock.
Fournette ran for 66 yards and caught four passes for 28 yards. Look for him to gain 80 yards on the ground and another 40 in the passing game. Jacksonville should lean heavily on him this week.
Armstead is a nice option as a receiver out of the backfield. Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo doesn’t want to put his quarterback in a situation of panic. The offensive line must play like it did last week, if not better.
If Fournette runs for over 100 yards, the Jaguars will win.
Keep Deshaun Watson in the pocket – The Jaguars defense did not fare well against mobile quarterbacks last season.
This team has a better chance of winning if it keeps Deshaun Watson in the pocket.
If Jalen Ramsey shuts off half the field and forces the game plan to change, Watson becomes left effective.
I’d pay to watch Hopkins and Ramsey every weekend. Jacksonville must get off the field on third down as well.
Avoid Penalties – In other words, this team must show discipline.
The Jaguars cannot shoot themselves in the foot with personal fouls and misses assignments. Marrone stresses this almost every week. It falls on the coaching staff as well.
The offensive line must deal with the Houston pass rush and block Watt, which is a tall task. Jawaan Taylor and Will Richardson will be watched closely to see if they can open running lanes without being called for holding.
If Marrone doesn’t mention their names next Monday, then they have done a good job for the day.