Matchup: Jacksonville Jaguars vs Houston Texans
Date: Sunday, Sept, 12
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Two over-under plays to consider
1. Pass Attempts
The Texans have stacked up on running backs and a “run first” mentality should not be a surprise to Texans fans. Budget-friendly, short-commitment contracts at the running back position are a clear indicator of the motives of inaugural general manager Nick Caserio.
This front office mentality is probably the result of allegations against the former franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson. With Watson at the helm, the ideology and direction of this franchise would be completely different under Caserio or any NFL GM in this league. But that’s simply not the case. And that’s where Taylor fits.
Texans clearly want to rush the ball and Taylor fits that now
He’s shown his success in short-yardage pass completions and he’s shown he’s capable of piling some rushing yards through scrambles, not plays by design. You have to assume through public statements made by Caserio, and the number of running backs signed to the roster, that run plays by design will almost always go to running backs. The rush-first offensive rationale also influences that, which is why the over-under on pass attempts is something to look at for this Week 1 game.
Despite the fact that the Texans are a front office disaster, this is a much more controlled environment with Caserio at the helm. There’s a reason David Culley is the head coach because he probably will align with the direction that Caserio would like to carry forward in the new era with QB Deshaun Watson’s status in limbo. It will be interesting to see how Taylor reacts as a veteran and leading quarterback for this team. He certainly isn’t in a position to demand an incredible amount of influence on offense like the demands of Aaron Rodgers or others. This could all impact Taylor’s passing stats, particularly in the first game of the season. BetUS has set the betting online over-under on Taylor’s pass attempts to 30 1/2. The under is something to consider with the Texans’ new approach to their offense in the post-Watson era.
2. Pass Yards
Taylor should be a quarterback that knows his limitations. Limiting mistakes and a conservative approach may not be a bad idea being under the low-committing one-year contract Taylor has with the Texans. He’s been in the league long enough to understand the importance of longevity and simply having a ticket in this league.
The most experienced players in the NFL get excited about a new start and wonder if they can exceed their expectations. You have to assume Taylor’s excitement levels are high, particularly when a team doctor accidentally punctures your lung causing your playing season with the Los Angeles Chargers to come to an end the previous year. So do you take a more aggressive or more conservative approach if your Tyrod Taylor? Does a short-term contract with the Texans impact your aggressiveness on the field? Inevitably, I think yes. At least at the beginning.
Taylor’s total passing yards can be dictated by the Texans’ mentality
That is where Taylor is in his career. He’s been named the new starting quarterback of the Houston Texans and he knows Watson doesn’t want to play there. He doesn’t have to look over his shoulder and can focus on limiting mistakes.
Here’s what we do know. Taylor had his most reps as a starting QB with the Buffalo Bills. There have been plenty of games in Taylor’s career, where he had 20+ passing attempts and under 200 total passing yards. The front office has made it clear through the moves they’ve made and the contracts they’ve given that they are going to have a “run-the-ball” mentality. They’ve signed several running backs and a shortage at that position will not be an issue, regardless if it’s good player-depth or bad player-depth.
If for some reason Taylor gets an unexpected number of passing attempts, he’s shown he can still fall significantly below 200-250 total yards. BetUS.com has the over-under set to 212½. Taking the under on total passing yards for Taylor is not a scary play. There may not be an incredible amount of value there, but when you combine Taylor’s stats as a starting QB and the new mentality of the Houston Texans, I don’t expect an incredibly high number of total passing yards for Taylor.