Jaguars looking to slow down Texans' Johnson again

Jaguars looking to slow down Texans' Johnson again
December 4, 2013, 3:49 pm
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Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew throws an 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end Marcedes Lewis in the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) The Jacksonville Jaguars would love a repeat performance against Houston receiver Andre Johnson.

The Jaguars held the five-time Pro Bowler to two receptions for 36 yards in their first meeting 11 days ago, Johnson's worst day in more than a year.

But the Jaguars (3-9) realize there's little chance it happens again when the Texans (2-10) come to town for the rematch Thursday night. After all, this is the same inexperienced secondary that got torched by Arizona's Michael Floyd for 193 yards last month, and by Cleveland's Josh Gordon for 261 yards last week.

''You definitely don't want to see those kind of performances on your secondary,'' Jaguars cornerback Alan Ball said. ''We have to put it behind us, learn from it and go from there.''

Sounds simple, but Johnson has a history of success against Jacksonville. He has 106 receptions for 1,470 yards and seven touchdowns in 18 career games against the Jaguars. And the best game of his 11-year career was a 14-catch, 273-yard performance against Jacksonville last year.

Johnson offered no reasons for his lack of production less than two weeks ago. Houston struggled all day, finishing with a season-low 218 yards.

''They came in and had a great plan defensively, and they did a great job of executing,'' Johnson said. ''You have to give them credit. They went out, did a great job. Hopefully we'll be able to go out and make some plays against them Thursday night.''

Others have.

Although Jacksonville have been stout against the run since its bye, holding Tennessee, Arizona, Houston and Cleveland under 100 yards, the team has been burned through the air.

Tennessee's Ryan Fitzpatrick came off the bench and threw for 264 yards and two scores. Arizona's Carson Palmer finished with 419 yards and two touchdowns. And Cleveland's Brandon Weeden ended up throwing for 370 yards and three scores.

So it's become clear that teams are picking on Jacksonville's young secondary, which includes rookie cornerback Dwayne Gratz and rookie safeties Johnathan Cyprien and Josh Evans. Evans (shoulder) is out this week, leaving second-year player Guy Winston to make his first career start.

''In the NFL, you get humbled very quick,'' defensive coordinator Bob Babich said. ''I think the guys, they're just looking at it as a challenge of playing against a great player. I'm sure they've seen him for many, many years making great plays, and for them, I'm sure they're saying, `Hey, I'm playing against Andre Johnson. This is neat.'

''The good thing about being a rookie is sometimes you're young enough where you don't understand. You just go out there and play.''

In addition to Johnson trying to rebound, here are five things to know about the Texans and Jaguars:

BRIDGEWATER BOWL? The loser of the game, especially if it's the Texans, would have the inside track to the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL draft. If the Jaguars lose and finish the season with three wins, they likely would get the top pick based on weakness of schedule. And with both teams looking to draft a quarterback, this could be a deciding game for who gets first shot at Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, widely considered the top quarterback available (if he enters the draft) since Oregon's Marcus Mariota is returning to college for another year.

JAGUARS AT HOME: The Jaguars have lost six in a row at home, a streak coach Gus Bradley pointed out in meetings this week. Jacksonville has won three in a row on the road, including the last two weeks, and needs to carry that momentum into EverBank Field on Thursday night. The team's last win at home came Nov. 25, 2012, against Tennessee. ''Can we stay true to the last couple of weeks how we got to this point?'' Bradley said. ''Our players felt like we had the recipe all year, but we saw the results. Let's stick to the recipe and see if we can.''

KUBIAK'S FUTURE: There's already plenty of speculation about Texans coach Gary Kubiak's job security. His team has lost 10 consecutive games, the longest streak in franchise history. Getting swept by Jacksonville surely would intensify it. The Jaguars have swept Houston just twice in the 11 years since the creation of the AFC South. ''I've got too many other people to worry about and things to worry about,'' said Kubiak, who suffered a mini-stroke last month but returned to coaching soon after. ''I don't worry about myself.''

MJD'S MATCHUP: No team has given up more touchdowns to Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew than the Texans. MJD has found the end zone 11 times in 12 games against Houston. He also has 828 yards rushing. But all the talk this week was about Jones-Drew's arm. His TD pass to tight end Marcedes Lewis was the first by a non-QB in franchise history. Asked whether he's a better passer than teammates and college QBs Denard Robinson or Mike Brown, he said: ''The stats speak for themselves.''

MINCEY RETURNS: Jaguars veteran defensive end Jeremy Mincey, inactive the last two games after oversleeping and being late to a team meeting, will return against the Texans ''unless something unforeseen happens,'' Bradley said.


AP NFL website:

Texans - Team News
Arian Foster - RB
Texans coach Bill O'Brien referred to Arian Foster (hamstring) on Monday as "day to... Foster himself acknowledged he wasn't 100 percent in Sunday's win over the Bills, managing six yards on eight carries. He'll likely continue to be limited in practice all...
Sep 29 4:20PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Following Sunday's win over the Bills, Arian Foster (hamstring) admitted he "just wasn't... Foster rushed eight times for six yards while playing on just 54.1 percent of the snaps, but did salvage his box score a bit with seven catches for 55 yards. The good news...
Sep 29 8:42AM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson said the ankle injury that briefly sidelined him Sunday is "fine." "I was more scared than anything because I felt a pop, so I went in and got checked," Johnson said. We never like to hear about pops, but Johnson did come back...
Sep 28 5:37PM Read More
Garrett Graham - TE
Garrett Graham caught three passes for 28 yards in Week 4 against the Bills. He was targeted five times. Graham is on pace for just 36 catches and 380 yards this season, but should be more involved going forward now that he's healthy. He was used in...
Sep 28 5:25PM Read More
Alfred Blue - RB
Alfred Blue had nine carries for nine yards in Week 4 against the Bills. With Arian Foster playing through a hamstring injury, Blue was used in a committee and finished with more carries. He added two catches for 16 yards on three targets. Blue...
Sep 28 5:22PM Read More
DeAndre Hopkins - WR
DeAndre Hopkins had five catches for 64 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's Week 4 win over... Hopkins beat Corey Graham for a 35-yard touchdown at the end of the first half. He finished with just six targets despite Andre Johnson missing time with an ankle injury....
Sep 28 5:03PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster totaled 61 yards on 15 touches in Sunday's Week 4 win over Buffalo. Foster was held to six yards on eight carries, but was targeted 10 times by checkdown artist Ryan Fitzpatrick. He was clearly running at half-speed and looked sluggish...
Sep 28 4:07PM Read More
Ryan Fitzpatrick - QB
Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 25-of-37 passes for 268 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions... Fitzpatrick's only notable play was a 35-yard touchdown to DeAndre Hopkins at the end of the first half. He managed the Texans to a win without any help from Arian Foster or...
Sep 28 3:55PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson left Sunday's Week 4 game against the Bills with an ankle injury. Johnson came up lame on a pass in the fourth quarter and was taken to the locker room. He was able to jog off under his own power and later returned to the game. Johnson...
Sep 28 3:01PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
According to NFL Network's Albert Breer, Arian Foster (hamstring) is moving with a slight limp... Per Breer, the Texans will "monitor his hamstring early in the game, determine his workload from there." It's similar to what was reported by beat writer Tania...
Sep 28 11:40AM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster (hamstring) is active for Week 4 against the Bills. Foster will be available for a full workload after sitting out last week. He's Rotoworld's No. 12 running back against the Bills' top-five run defense. Inactive for the...
Sep 28 10:33AM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
According to the Houston Chronicle, Arian Foster will "definitely" play in Sunday's... The chronic hamstring issue Foster has been battling for two months is good to go. "Foster would't be active if he wasn't 100 percent. That means he'll get a full...
Sep 28 10:03AM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports Arian Foster (hamstring) is expected to play Sunday against... That's two positive reports on Foster within the past 12 hours. He's still likely to be a game-time decision, but all signs are pointing toward Foster starting after...
Sep 28 7:45AM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
The Houston Chronicle expects Arian Foster (questionable, hamstring) to play in Week 4 against... Foster is still a game-time decision and will need to go through pre-game warmups before he's cleared. He was reportedly close to playing last week and ended up being held...
Sep 27 6:19PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) is probable for Week 4. Johnson will be fine for Sunday's matchup with the Bills. He's Rotoworld's No. 12 receiver this week.
Sep 26 5:53PM Read More

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