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BRB GroupThink: Wait, Are They Not Who We Thought They Were?

Are the Texans good, or are the Jaguars that bad? This is what we ponder on this week’s GroupThink.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After three interceptions, six dropped passes, ten penalties, and inability to do simple things like pass receivers in man coverage against stacked sets or tackle the quarterback on a free blitz, the Jaguars lost to the Texans by a score of 37-21. Trevor Lawrence’s magical start to a long and illustrious NFL career was instead a nightmare. The Texans, who were counted out by everyone, won by not beating themselves and Tyrod Taylor making absurd chunk plays on offense.

That was last week, against a poorly coached team that lost their sixteenth game in a row and may actually end up being the worst team in the league. This week, the Texans get the Cleveland Browns, a complete team that has its eyes on a Super Bowl run. We’ll have a better idea what the Texans are on Sunday night. But for now, the question is: Are the Texans going to be better than expected or were the Jaguars really that bad last weekend?

That’s the question I asked the masthead. These are our responses:

CARLOS FLORES:

There’s a fence to straddle here. The Jaguars looked HORRENDOUS last week. I mean in every phase, they failed. Even with all of the Durga given tools that Trevor Lawrence has, he was a lost sheep out there. Urban Meyer might want to check in on the USC gig if he doesn’t shape up this week.

On the other hand, the Texans played pretty well! The running back committee all got some time in the sun, Tyrod played like his life depended on it, and the defense was swarming. The energy around the squad was palpable, and understandably so considering the lead that they jumped out to.

I think it’s really a bit of both. The Texans may surprise, but I’m still sticking to a four-win total. The Browns will offer up a much stiffer challenge and are looking to wash the taste of the Chiefs loss out of their mouth. That being said, there might actually be some fun to be had watching the team this year...just as long as we don’t see Davis Mills.

BFD:

As long as you can promise me the Texans will create three turnovers, get 82 yards in penalty yards, six (6) drops from the opposition, and get lucky AK (as kitten) when those penalties are committed? Sure, the Texans will be better than expected.

That won’t happen, and Urban Meyer should be banned from the NFL after last week’s game.

While the Texans protected Tyrod Taylor pretty well, this is a team that wants to run the ball, and they suck at it. The running backs combined for 3.24 yards per carry for the game (it was 3.58 before the 4th quarter), and even when adding Taylor’s big run, it’s only 3.90 ypc. That’s not good, and Jacksonville is typically terrible at stopping the run.

The fluky 50/50 balls to Cooks are not sustainable. Neither Rex Burkhead nor Danny Amendola should be anywhere on this roster.

The only thing I feel like is legit different is Pharaoh Brown. The problem with this is that he’s getting snaps ahead of Brevin Jordan.

Otherwise, they are who we thought they were in the preseason: a talentless team that won’t regularly get to the opposing quarterback with an incredibly inefficient offense.

The Browns will feast.

L4BLITZER:

Well, we wouldn’t be a sports blog if we didn’t follow, if not promote, the extremes of the NFL. Before last week, there was genuine concern that the Texans might actually go 0-17. After a 16 point win that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated, we are now looking at the Texans being the plucky underdogs, the modern-day, real-live Replacements of the NFL. Playoffs, here we come.

Er...we might want to take a few deep breaths and some sips of Jack Daniels on the Rocks here. In the matchup between the Jags and the Texans, it came down to who made the fewest mistakes and dumb decisions/plays. Jacksonville took the early lead in that battle and never surrendered the lead. The Texans were all too happy to oblige. Unlike previous years, the Texans played generally smart, mostly dumb-free ball with a few big “Where did that come from?” plays against a team that was definitely not ready to play.

Now the team gets a date with Cleveland. A couple of years ago, the Texans would come in as playoff contenders and Cleveland was in also-ran status. The roles are flipped this year. It is not likely that Houston will face a pro team as disorganized and unprepared as Jacksonville, at least until they play them again (maybe Urban Meyer improves, or maybe he is already at USC, who knows). One game in the regular season, especially week one, does not make a season.

Houston showed how it could win (timely defense with turnovers, avoiding the big mistake and making the big play when the opportunity presents itself). Normally a good formula. However, other teams in the league will try to do that as well and they will try to prevent Houston from doing the same. They will most likely not be as slip shot in their preparation as the fightin’ Urban Meyers.

If Houston can be a consistent team that doesn’t beat itself, maybe they are better than we thought. However, you are only as good as your last game. Will we still think they are better than advertised after Cleveland? Carolina? Buffalo? Would be nice to think, but way too early to call.

EVAN WILLSMORE:

No, I don’t think the Texans will be better than expected. Week 1 can be summarized as poor coaching by Jacksonville and Houston taking every advantage from those mistakes. The Texans we were all expecting could very well be on display during Week 2 against the Browns, a team that is a Super Bowl contender in the eyes of many.

I think the only thing that can stay at the level it was last week is Tyrod Taylor’s production. This is his first true opportunity to keep a starting job since 2017 (Davis Mills can wait a year; Texans fans will be fine with that). The running backs looked a bit too good to be true, the receiving corps was a mixed bag, and the defense picked off three passes from a guy playing his first NFL game.

Long story short, Week 1 was not the hardest challenge this team is going to face in 2021 and therefore cannot be an accurate representation of the future.

RETURN ON RYBERG:

I circled the Texans winning this game months ago. I did this because I thought (still do) that this roster isn’t as bad as everyone says it is. David Culley is a good coach and Urban Meyer won’t be a good NFL coach. However, I was not expecting the blowout we got Sunday. A lot of it had to do for just how unprepared the Jaguars were, but there we also bigger factors.

The Texans looked prepared in every preseason game, and followed it up by doing the same in Week One. Really prepared. They don’t make early penalties, they don’t turn the ball over, they play conservative defense, they have been able to get turnovers, and their special teams has been able to flip the field consistently. They have also been able to run the ball and extend drives. You can win a bunch of games in the NFL that way and at a minimum, keep every ball game close by doing those things.

I won’t say that my projections of a five-win season has changed, but I will say you should underestimate this team at your own peril. If they have shown one thing as a squad this year, they will be prepared and will jump on any mistakes you make. This team should not be a double digit underdog in any game they play, including this upcoming Sunday.

RANDALL BRONN:

I want to direct your attention to Week 1 of 2020, when the Jaguars upset the Colts by a score of 27-20. Afterwards, the Jaguar’s Twitter account posted the score with the caption “NOT SATISFIED WITH 1-0” and then proceeded to lose 15 straight. Am I comparing the 2021 Texans to the 2020 Jaguars? No, but it does feel a lot like this. Do I think the Texans will lose 15 straight? Heck no, even though it wouldn’t surprise me.

Week One is always a mess and this year is no exception. Just ask the Packers, Titans, Bills, and Vikings. The Jaguars were just outcoached. I’m not going to go as far as to say Urban Meyer should just leave right now, but the Jaguars came out flat on both sides of the ball. Even though Tyrod Taylor is nothing incredible, he’s good enough to capitalize on the huge mistakes the Jaguars made.

On the Texans’ side of things, literally everything went right. Three interceptions and almost 300 yards for Taylor and a good rushing attack complimented by the offensive line not looking like a bunch of scarecrows trying to block was fun to watch, but it’s not sustainable. Week Two against the Browns is a game against an actual contender. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt will run all over Houston’s defense. I can say it was fun while it lasted, but we have to be realistic. The Jaguars still suck and the Texans aren’t much better.

1-1 by next week. Book it.

MIKE BULLOCK:

Last week is a classic example of the Houston Texans roller coaster. Make everyone think we’re plunging off a cliff, then hit one out of the park, before striking out next week. It wouldn’t be H-Town sports if we weren’t given an oil tanker full of hope to dash against the rocks.

They definitely did better than I expected, and Jacksonville did much worse. But the Texans schedule does nothing but get harder from here. Tim said it in a prior post, they could actually hit at 2-1 early, making all the talking heads start yammering about playoffs and division championships. But, then they play the Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams and Miami Dolphins leading to the bye week. That potential 2-1 is very likely to turn into a 2-7 skid after that span.

And, after the bye, they have the Titans twice, Colts again, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers. There’s 12 losses. Hopefully they don’t overachieve and manage to beat against the Chargers, too, so they’re can keep competing against the Jaguars for the #1 draft pick in 2022. Like BFD said yesterday, achieving mediocrity is a terrible outcome for the 2021 Houston Texans.

While they should have beat the Jaguars based on Jacksonville’s current deep dive down the train wreck rabbit hole, expecting that to happen against legit teams is fools gold.

Poll

Was the Texans’ win over the Jaguars a fluke?

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    Yes
    (32 votes)
  • 80%
    No
    (134 votes)
166 votes total Vote Now