The Jaguars fell to the Texans on Sunday, marking their seventh straight loss on the season. The Jaguars were fairly competitive throughout the game and fell just short against their AFC South rivals by a score of 27-25.
At this point in the season, with the playoffs out of reach, the emphasis needs to be on talent evaluation and player development. With that in mind, here are five observations from the Jaguars' loss to the Texans after reviewing the tape.
Myles Jack: An Unstoppable Force
Myles Jack was the best player on the defensive side of the ball for either team on Sunday. He was consistently around the ball and made several impact plays. On a third-down early in the ball game, Jack demolished running back David Johnson as he attempted to catch a pass. The ball fell harmlessly to the ground, and Johnson was forced out of the game. Later in the first half, Jack wrapped up Duke Johnson at the line of scrimmage and stripped the ball cleanly, giving the Jags' offense the ball back in plus territory. He made several more key plays in coverage and against the run and continued to look like one of the more dominant linebackers in the league. In total, he racked up 11 tackles, a pass break up, and a forced fumble.
CJ Henderson: Much Better Than You Think
CJ Henderson took part in two very unfortunate plays on Sunday that have made him the recipient of scorn from the fan base. The first big play he gave up in coverage came against Will Fuller. Henderson was locked up in man to man coverage against Fuller on the outside. Fuller went deep down the sideline, and Watson tossed the ball up to him. Henderson was in excellent position, and the ball didn't come close to Fuller, but the rookie cornerback was called for pass interference. To me, it didn't look like the ball was catchable, and it also didn't look like a PI. But Henderson did extend his hand and made slight contact with Fuller when the ball was in the air, resulting in the penalty. Later on, Henderson was again covering Fuller in man coverage on the right side of the field. Henderson was in prime position, but Watson placed the pass in a curious spot — behind and inside — which fooled Henderson, who clearly thought Fuller was going to try to beat him over the top or towards the boundary. Perhaps further film study would allow Henderson to make this play, but I understand his thought process here, and it's a play that very few cornerbacks would have been able to make. In reality, the play shouldn't have counted anyway, as the play clock expired two-three seconds before the snap. Outside of those two big plays, Henderson was dominant. He played tight in coverage and again showed off his ability to make an impact as a tackler on the outside.
Jake Luton: Beginner's Luck?
Jake Luton's stat line and overall performance was rather impressive in this one, especially for a sixth-round rookie. He showed off his big arm on multiple occasions and displayed the ability to make things happen with his legs. But he threw four passes that should've been intercepted and also fumbled a ball in the pocket. Despite the five turnover worthy plays, the Texans only capitalized on one of them. Luton was impressive for a rookie in his first start, but it's hard to believe that a better defense wouldn't take advantage of his mistakes.
A New Duo On The Defensive Interior?
Nose tackle DaVon Hamilton has been up and down in his rookie season, but over the last two contests, he's been a force, racking up nine tackles and seven QB pressures. In this game, he had a new(ish) running mate next to him on the interior. For this first time this season, Taven Bryan was not the leader in snaps at 3-tech. This time, Doug Costin took the most reps at the spot and played admirably. He was stout in the middle, tallying four pressures and two tackles. With former first-round pick Taven Bryan regressing in his third year, this duo should continue to get the most run on the interior.
Cam Robinson: A Masterful Performance
Cam Robinson has enjoyed his best season in the NFL in 2020, and his showing against the Texans on Sunday might have been his pièce de résistance. Houston was down two edge rushers due to COVID-19 protocols, but that doesn't change the fact that Robinson was dominant in pass protection. He didn't allow a single pressure the entire game. Robinson is up for a new contract at the end of the year, and if he continues to play like this, the Jaguars would be wise to lock him up sooner rather than later.
Some of this impressive game against Houston could be fools gold. After all, the Texans only two wins of this season have come against the Jaguars. The Jaguars head to Green Bay to take on the Packers in week ten. That's the type of game that could very quickly bring these young Jaguars back down to earth.
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