Final thoughts on Jaguars-Texans
September, 29, 2009
By Paul Kuharsky | ESPN.com
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Sunday game conversations shouldn’t spill beyond Tuesday. That’s an AFC South Blog rule.
We apologize we didn’t get to see the bulk of Jaguars-Texans until late Tuesday. But having seen it, we’re compelled to hit just a few points before our deadline:
- Kevin Walter is the sort of deceptive and crafty receiver a lot of teams would love to have, and he’s an integral part of the Texans offense when it’s firing on all cylinders. I detailed a costly pass interference call he drew at the end earlier Tuesday. But I loved a lot of his work through this game, and really took note of the fourth-down call that got him the ball with a toss into the backfield. Bravo for that one Kyle Shanahan.
- John Busing can be deadly at the line of scrimmage or as a blitzer. But as the strong safety asked to do things in space, he sure looked like a liability. The team will say it was splitting up work, but don’t you think the door had to be opened for Dominique Barber to get back out there, as he was at least some in the second half? (Remember, he’s the guy who left Chris Johnson uncovered a week ago when he split out wide.)
- Tim Bulman made a phenomenal play in the first quarter on a screen to Maurice Jones-Drew. He read the play, covered ground to close on MJD as he leaked out and batted David Garrard’s pass before it arrived. How often do you see that? We’re hitting the line hard for its failures in pass rush and run defense, but that’s a major flash there.
- Mike Sims-Walker can be tantalizing. He’s a good enough player to be a significant piece of what the Jags want to do on offense. Consistency and health are the issues. And when he makes a mistake, he can’t try to cover it up. Jack Del Rio’s late challenge didn’t kill Jacksonville, but his booth guy’s got to do better and Sims-Walkers got to have enough of a sense of his late fumble not to try to sell Del Rio that his knee was down. Better scenario all around: hold on to it and help the Jags avoid what JDR called all the “drama” at the end.
- Reggie Nelson worked some as the nickel, with Gerald Alexander and Brian Russell as the safeties. While the Texans feel like they are using additional people in the secondary because they have insufficient players, the Jaguars feel like they are still mixing and matching trying to figuring out what their best combinations are. (Especially once Sean Considine was out injured.) One of the things to like about the young Jaguars is that things are fluid for them.
- I loved what offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter did with Mike Thomas on the end-arounds and on plays that had to be defended as if they were going to be end-arounds. I hope it’s stage one of dressing up – and stretching out – some things that serve as counterbalance to the power running stuff that’s the team’s primary offensive personality. Garrard running with the ball more was a good development as well.