Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars: Behind enemy lines with Black and Teal
Five questions with Black and Teal expert Daniel Lago for a perspective of the upcoming Houston Texans game from a Jaguars perspective
With the Houston Texans ready to get things started for the second half of the season we were able to catch up with someone who covers the team they will be facing. A road date with the Jacksonville Jaguars is just hours away and Daniel Lago of the FanSided page Black and Teal gives us his thoughts on the game.
TT: The Jacksonville Jaguars were a team I had pegged as a dark horse playoff candidate. Was I completely out of touch, or did you see that too? And if so, what happened?
DL: I had the Jaguars as a nine, possibly ten, win team if everything broke right for them this season – clearly almost nothing has broken right for them.
Two things have happened – Blake Bortles has regressed and the offense has completely collapsed as a result, and Gus Bradley has firmly cemented himself as arguably the worst head coach in the history in the NFL.
When your quarterback is one of the worst in the NFL and can’t run a functional offense, it’s almost impossible to win in the NFL. That objective gets even more difficult when you have a head coach that has spent 3 years essentially condoning a losing culture. In retrospect, it was naive to expect things to get drastically better while Bradley remained the coach.
TT: What’s your opinion of Blake Bortles? His multi-interception games are becoming a real problem and I’m wondering if he is the leader of the team.
DL: I don’t think the multi-interception games in a vacuum are a huge issue (good quarterbacks go through bouts of turnovers), it’s more so his regression in areas that he showed improvement in during the 2015 season. A lot has been made about his mechanical struggles, and rightfully so, but his decision making and confidence have declined precipitously. He no longer takes shots down the field consistently, and he hesitates to hit open receivers in his progressions.
Personally, I think Bortles deserves another season and a coaching staff that is more experienced with developing young quarterbacks. That’s with the assumption that he doesn’t completely melt down over the last 8 games – he needs to show something to build off of in the last half of the season.
TT: The Jags have been patient with head coach Gus Bradley. Is he going to last and should he?
DL: To answer the last part of your question first: no, he should not last. Gus Bradley probably should have been fired at the end of last year when he held a 12-36 record over 3 years, but the unprecedented patience of owner Shad Khan during the rebuild let Bradley stay. Over the course of 8 games this year, Bradley hasn’t shown any growth both schematically or motivation-wise. The team seems undisciplined and unprepared every week. Unless Bradley pulls out a miracle and wills this team to an 8-8 or better record, he’s gone.
TT: Does Brock Osweiler scare you at all as a quarterback or do opposing teams look at him as a guy they can rattle and beat?
DL: Brock Osweiler himself doesn’t scare me, but Bill O’Brien has shown a knack for out-scheming the Jacksonville coaching staff over the last few years. In 2015, Brian Hoyer looked adequate to above-average in both games against the Jaguars, both resulting in comfortable wins for the Texans.
While I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jaguars were able to rattle Osweiler a bit in this game, I think it’s much more likely that he has a solid game with no mistakes while being supported by Lamar Miller and a strong rushing attack.
TT: What’s your prediction for Sunday’s game?
DL: The Texans are going to win this game by a wide margin and it will likely be decided by the midway point of the third quarter. The Jaguar players have all but quit on the coaches and the team has become a master of finding ways to lose games and be completely incompetent for long stretches. I don’t think the final score will indicate a blowout thanks to Blake Bortles and his patented garbage-time stat padding, but it won’t be close.
Texans 27 – Jaguars 20
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us Daniel. For anyone wishing to see more from the opposition’s point of view, head over to Black and Teal and check out the great work Daniel and his guys do.