TEXANS WIN!

11 observations from the Texans' 37-21 win over the Jaguars

Texans beat the Jags, 37-21. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans began their 2021 campaign with a dominating win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

1. The Texans are so much better coached in almost every facet of the game. There was a low bar from the Bill O'Brien-coached teams, but you can tell how there is a better sense of football in just one game under new head coach David Culley.

2. Tyrod Taylor was cool under pressure and took safe shots as he was getting tackled a few times he got rid of the ball. His mobility is a clear asset, and he kept a few plays alive allowing the offense to make a play.

3. Huge credit is due to offensive coordinator Tim Kelly. The way Kelly operated the offense is exactly how a lightly-talented team should operate. Kelly used all his players in different ways and different formations. He was rarely predictable and gave plenty of different looks for the Jaguars' defense.

4. Brandin Cooks was not able to be defended by anyone in training camp and the preseason. Rarely were the Jaguars able to cover him on Sunday. His chemistry with Tyrod Taylor is clear as he kept plays alive and had two enormous catches that set the Texans up deep in Jacksonville territory.

5. Nico Collins made a rookie mistake in the end zone as he pushed off and drew a flag. The penalty eliminated a chance at seven points and the Texans settled for a field goal. He will learn, but against better opponents than the Jaguars, settling for field goals after a turnover could be costly.

6. The offensive line played well. Sure, Tyrod Taylor had to use his feet a few times to escape pressure, but he was lightly pressured compared to some previous seasons. One of the big positives, much less pressure from up the middle. Marcus Cannon played right tackle rotating with Geron Christian as he works back from his injury.

7. Maliek Collins had two bad penalties. Each of his roughing the passer penalties turned stops on third downs into a new set of downs. The Jaguars would then score on the drive as it continued. The margin for error against better teams will be slimmer, Collins could have easily avoided both of those.

8. The Texans got a little greedy in the second quarter. After stopping the Jaguars on a third down, Houston elected to accept a holding penalty and push the Jaguars back ten yards but repeated the third down. The ensuing play saw one of two roughing the passer penalties give Jacksonville a new set of downs. Don't get greedy over ten yards.

9. It was the first three-interception performance of Trevor Lawrence's life according to the Jaguars quarterback. Lawrence was moving away from pressure and tried to complete a pass on the run and he did, to Houston safety Justin Reid. Lawrence would toss two more bad interceptions.

10. There were still some moments the Jaguars were running free or open against Lovie Smith's defense. Jacksonville had a horrible number of drops and mistimed route combinations. This game could have and likely would have been a lot different, and closer, if Jacksonville could have executed half of those plays. Smith will need to tighten up some of the zone play.

11. Overall, not a lot of warts on this win. A lot of the hopes the team placed in veterans raising their overall execution level as well as taking near full advantage of the mistakes of the Jaguars led to the first victory of the season.

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1. Davis Mills had an up-and-down day under center Friday. One play saw Mills drop back and try to get rid of the ball as Jonathan Greenard was rushing him only to have Greenard leap up and intercept Mills for what would have been an interception returned for a score.

2. A few plays later Davis Mills showcased his short memory. Mills surveyed the field, looked off the safety, and pitched a strike to Brevin Jordan over the middle, wide open, for a touchdown.

3. Davis Mills doesn’t stack bad plays. It is rare to see multiple bad plays happen in a row and Mills be the cause, or a cause, of the play not working. When he misses something, he usually makes up for it the next play.

4. It was a makeshift offensive line on Friday. Max Scharping played a lot at left guard. Charlie Heck saw some snaps at left tackle while Laremy Tunsil took a breather. Veteran lineman Cedric Ogbuehi played some at right tackle. There was plenty of work emphasized on the rushing attack Friday. The offensive line was fine, nothing special. I would say slight edge to the defense overall.

5. Rookie Kenyon Green didn’t practice. Right tackle Tytus Howard didn’t practice either. Pro Football Network is reporting Tytus Howard is out with a positive Covid test. Kenyon Green was banged up last practice, but Lovie Smith expects both back in the coming days.

6.The offensive line had its hands full with the defensive line today. Jonathan Greenard made the above-mentioned play of the practice with an interception. It felt constantly like there was some level of success from the defensive line. Not to say they dominated, but I would think the defense is happy with their day.

7. Maliek Collins has been a nice player in camp. He looks a bit quicker than last year. Collins downplayed how many “close” plays he had last year citing that everyone knows the saying “close but no cigar.” I asked him if he expected a lot of cigars this year. He chuckled and said yes. Teammate Roy Lopez gushed about what he believes Collins can be for this team and called his teammate one of the best defensive tackles in the league.

8. I almost wonder if quiet Derek Stingley days are good days. Stingley wasn’t involved in a lot of plays, but I know Davis Mills saw him on Friday. Mills dropped back on one play and made a read to his left seeing Chris Moore. Stingley darted from coverage towards Moore causing Mills to move off Moore and head to Nico Collins for a score. Yes, the defense allowed a touchdown, but Stingley did his job.

9. Rookie safety Jalen Pitre is a “starting” safety for the team according to Lovie Smith. Pitre had an interception, depending on who you ask, in practice. It is clear the Texans trust him and have put a lot on his plate. I would expect to see a lot of the rookie safety, good or bad, this season.



10. Lovie Smith praised the team’s depth at linebacker earlier in camp. I scoffed a little at the notion, but there seems to be a new linebacker making a play each day. Christian Kirksey had a nice stop in the run game today. Kevin Pierre-Louis, who played very little last year, has flashed. There’s some depth here, despite my skepticism.

11. Ka'imi Fairbairn doesn’t have a challenger in camp this year. I believed this offseason should have seen at the very least someone to challenge the kicker heading into his seventh year in the league. He’s been solid in camp so far, but there have been some misses. It is tough to judge distance, but the team clearly has faith in him with no challenger in sight.

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