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5 questions with Battle Red Blog: Deshaun Watson vs. Gardner Minshew

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NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Week 2 of the 2019 NFL season is upon us. The Jacksonville Jaguars travel to the Lone Star state for their first divisional matchup of the year against the Houston Texans.

We know this week’s opponent quite well, but to get a better glimpse into the 2019 version of the Texans, I spoke to Jeremy Brener of Battle Red Blog — SB Nation’s Houston Texans community.

Here is what he had to say:

1. The Texans played an extremely entertaining Monday Night game against the Saints in Week 1. What did you like about the game and what do you think the team needs to improve upon?

Jeremy: I thought the offensive play calling was about as strong as we had seen in recent seasons. It looks like Deshaun (Watson) has enough pieces around him to make him look like the strong quarterback he is. I also thought former Jaguar Carlos Hyde ran with a purpose and had much stronger of a debut than I ever would have expected.

As for what the team needs to improve on, I would love to see better play calling on the defensive end. Ultimately, this is what cost the Texans in Week 1 and hopefully it does not cost them in Week 2. They are facing a rookie quarterback in his first career start and I’d like to see the Texans show a little more pressure.

2. Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone recently called Deshaun Watson a top MVP candidate. How has his game grown from last year to this year in the early going?

Jeremy: I think his pocket awareness continues to improve. In the NFL, time in the pocket continues to fade away. Under the horrendous Texans O-Line, he practically has no time. He’s making smart choices and recognizing his surroundings so that his quick decisions aren’t leading to turnovers.

3. The Texans offensive line appears to still be a mess. Despite a lackluster effort from the Jags in Week 1, are you worried about the Jacksonville pass rush? Why or why not?

Jeremy: One hundred percent (worried). In the Week 17 meeting last season, Watson was sacked six times. However, in the Week 7 meeting last season, he was only sacked once. It’s definitely possible for the Texans to evade Jacksonville’s pressure. You do that by eating clock and running the ball. The Texans ran the ball 37 times and Watson was only sacked once. Granted, that came during the time Watson was so injured he couldn’t fly in a plane, but it did give a solution on how Houston can stop Jacksonville’s front seven.

4. Who do you expect to win the AFC South and why?

Jeremy: I expect the Texans to win the AFC South because I believe they match up very well against their divisional opponents and they have the tools to contend with the best teams in the league, as we saw Monday night in New Orleans. I think it’s hard to rule anyone out this early in the season without any divisional matchups taking place, but it’s hard for me to not see the Texans take the division.

5. What was the general feeling around the Houston fan base when news broke of the Nick Foles injury?

Jeremy: I can’t speak for the entire Houston fan base, but I definitely felt sorry for him. He’s worked so hard to get to where he is now and he is deserving of his paycheck and position. That was also one helluva throw he made to D.J. Chark for the touchdown.

You never want to wish an injury on anyone. Any fan who does that is simply despicable.

I mean the Texans do benefit from the injury because they face a backup quarterback in his first start, but underestimating Gardner Minshew would be a mistake. He played very well in relief on Sunday and he did not play like a sixth-round rookie. I assume the Texans will treat him just like they would treat Foles -- just like a QB1.

Bonus: score prediction?

Jags 24, Texans 23. I never pick the Texans. Ever.

Editor’s note: What kind of reverse psychology sorcery is this?

I very much appreciate Jeremy for taking time to provide his thoughts and insights. You can catch both Jeremy and Battle Red Blog on Twitter for all updates regarding Houston.