The 2021 NFL regular season has finally arrived. The Jacksonville Jaguars begin the campaign on the road against the Houston Texans with a 1 p.m. Eastern Time kickoff on CBS.
With the season now upon us, it’s time for Big Cat Country to check back in with its SB Nation counterparts and once again provide weekly cross-site Q&A articles. To help us get prepared for the season opener, we reconnected with Jeremy Brener of Battle Red Blog — SB Nation’s website for all things Texans.
What should we know about Houston? Let’s find out.
1. So, obviously the Houston Texans have been a mess all offseason long. Do you expect this team to be as bad as the national analysts think? Could the Texans surprise some folks? How do you see the season playing out?
Jeremy: I think the 0-17 record is easy to peg because they would be the first team to ever do it. However, this team is now composed primarily of veterans fighting to stay in the NFL. While that composition does not produce a very good roster, it’s definitely one that is better than 0-17. I think it’s going to be a long season for the Texans, but three or four wins is very reasonable for this team.
2. The Texans will be starting Tyrod Taylor at quarterback against the Jaguars. How confident are you in Taylor to lead the Texans to a win? Regarding Deshaun Watson likely to be a healthy scratch, is this a product of the allegations against Watson, Watson’s trade request, a mix of both or something else? Do you expect Davis Mills to play at all this season?
Jeremy: People often forget that Tyrod Taylor led a team to the playoffs (Buffalo Bills in 2017 — Jaguars should remember that Wild Card game well). The Texans could certainly do worse, but they could also do better, especially with Deshaun Watson on the roster. His healthy scratch stems mostly from the allegations against him. The fact that the NFL does not allow the Texans to place him on the Commissioner’s List is shocking, because that list is there for these types of situations. The allegations shadowed the other toxic parts of the organization and it became somewhat of a footnote in arguably the worst offseason for a team in NFL history. I’m expecting Taylor to be the guy until they wish to audition Davis Mills for the 2022 starter job, but from what I’ve seen in preseason, he reminds me of a Mike Glennon clone. Jaguars fans should understand this reference and that Mills is not the answer.
3. Are there any players on the Texans who could make an impact that Jaguars fans may not be familiar with?
Jeremy: On defense, look out for outside linebacker Jon Greenard to make a difference. He’s in his second year and is expected to get more playing time this year with a revamped front seven. If I had to guess if anyone were to get a sack Sunday, he’d be higher on my list than most.
4. There obviously hasn’t been a lot of time to evaluate it yet, but what are your thoughts on David Culley and his staff so far? Did you see anything that looked promising throughout training camp/preseason? Is there anything you would like to see them do differently?
Jeremy: They’re a bridge staff, because they aren’t being given a roster capable of winning many games. I hope they rely on Tyrod Taylor’s strengths, and I think they will. If they don’t, they cannot win any games this year.
5. Outside of Trevor Lawrence, what player on the Jaguars do you think scares you the most? Is there one person on offense and one person on defense you are worried about?
Jeremy: I think Marvin Jones Jr. was an excellent signing over the offseason. His veteran presence is necessary for a real young offense and I believe he’s an upgrade over Chris Conley, who now plays for the Texans.
On defense, I’m a huge fan of Shaquill Griffin. I think he’s going to make a big difference in Jacksonville, just like he did in Seattle. He’s going to give a lot of receivers fits this season.
Bonus: Score prediction?
Jags 24, Texans 20. I think the game will be close and the Texans will have a chance to win on the final drive, but it will be too little too late.
Thank you to Jeremy for providing insights into what to expect from a Houston team that has dealt with a lot of turmoil throughout the offseason. You can follow Jeremy on Twitter, and for news on the Houston Texans, follow Battle Red Blog as well.