1. How does Houston -- both the city and franchise -- feel about Bill O'Brien? I thought he got all he could out of last year's roster, but the team looks pretty bad so far this season. What about you?
I think the only real negative that people are seeing in Bill O'Brien right now is his indecisiveness at quarterback. At some point you just have to pick your guy and stick with it. He keeps pulling his starters after the slightest hint of a bad performance, and you can tell that it's kind of throwing off the team's rhythm. I can understand why he is so frustrated with his quarterbacks of course...I mean they both do kind of suck...but eventually we just need to lay in the bed that we've already made, ya know?
2. What's the greatest deficiency on the Texans offense? How should an opposing defensive coordinator game plan against it?
That depends on who is the quarterback, to be honest. If Brian Hoyer plays the entire game against Jacksonville, he seems to handle pressure worse than Ryan Mallett does. Lots of creative blitz packages and interior pressure is the best way to force him into mistakes. He gets a little panicky when free rushers are in his face, and when Hoyer panics terrible things tend to happen to the Texans.
3. What does Brian Hoyer bring to the team that Ryan Mallet doesn't? In your opinion, is Hoyer the better option?
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Accuracy on short and intermediate throws, mainly. Ryan Mallett has a quicker release, better pocket presence, and a better sense of how to deal with exotic blitz packages, but he is just completely incapable of hitting a receiver in the numbers on short and intermediate routes. Hoyer might get a bit nervous in the pocket, but at least he can hit a wide open DeAndre Hopkins 10 yards away without putting it in the dirt first.
4. Is there a Jaguars player on either side of the ball that you say, "If the Texans don't stop him, we're in trouble"?
Allen Robinson has really impressed me on offense so far. He's got speed to burn, great jump ball skills, and I remember that he had some nice YAC ability back in college as well. He will only get more and more dangerous as he develops his chemistry with Bortles.
On defense I get a little worried about Telvin Smith. He's insanely fast for a linebacker, has fluidity and instincts in coverage, and somehow he always seems to be around the ball at the best possible moments. I don't know when, and I don't know how, but I anticipate him making a game changing play at some point this Sunday.
5. What's your prediction for Sunday? Vegas has the Jaguars as 1-point favorites, so it looks like a coin flip. Who's coming out of this one the winner?
If Brandon Linder and T.J. Yeldon were healthy I would probably give the edge to the Jaguars in this one, but without those two guys I think Jacksonville's run game will really suffer. If Houston can shut down the depleted run game and force Blake Bortles into consistent third and long situations, I think this is a game the Texans can win...as long as Brian Hoyer doesn't screw this up again.
Give me Texans 17, Jaguars 13.