Opponent focus: John McClain, GallerySports.com/SportsRadio610.com

JACKSONVILLE – Lead writer John Oehser will speak with a writer or media outlet covering a Jaguars opponent each week during the 2022 regular season.

John McClain – a longtime Houston Chronicle NFL writer now with GallerySports.com/SportsRadio610.com – on the Houston Texans’ matchup with the Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Sunday at 1 p.m.

Question: The Texans at 0-3-1 are the only NFL team without a win in 2022. What is their mindset entering Sunday?

Answer: They take the glass-half-full approach. They had a chance to win in the fourth quarter of every game. They had a 20-3 lead on the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1 and blew it. They were up on Denver, tied with Chicago and they pulled to within three points on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers. After scoring three straight times against the Chargers, they had to stop them and they couldn’t – and the Chargers went the distance and scored a touchdown to put it away. They are blown [by observers]. In fact, they are not very good, no one expected them to be very good, yet everyone is angry with them because they do not earn more. The more they lose the better it is because they get high picks. The Texans have only three first-round picks and one second-round selection on the roster they drafted. They have good, young talent but they have a bunch of backups around the roster.

Q: Quarterback Davis Mills, a third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, was impressive as a rookie last season. He has five touchdown passes and four interceptions through four games this season. Estimate his start to 2022.

A: Mills started 14 games. He won one at home and one on the road – and the one on the road was against the Jaguars last season. He just doesn’t look like the same quarterback we saw at the end of last season when he played very well the last five games. Over those last five games, he’s clearly been the best rookie quarterback in the league, but there’s no resemblance to him every now and then for whatever reason. They drop passes and they don’t get open, but he overturns and breaks down receivers.

Q: What about the rest of the Texans’ offense?

A: They hit a home run with their rookie running back, Dameon Pierce, a fourth-round pick. He was good from the start of OTAs and they continued to bring him along slowly. Someone the Jaguars will have to watch is their second year receiver, Nico Collins. [Former Jaguars and current Texans offensive line coach George] Warhop has done a good job with the offensive line, but the offensive line is going to give up a sack at the worst possible time — or commit a penalty at the worst possible time. It’s strange how it always happens at the worst possible time. The offense continues to be built around Mills. They are not a ground-and-pound team. Their passing game is inconsistent. They have too many dropped passes and their offensive line makes mistakes at the worst time.

A: The defense is coming off its worst game, but it played [Chargers quarterback] Justin Herbert [Sunday]. They went into the game tied for fifth in the NFL in sacks and they didn’t even come close to Herbert. They had one bag; he slipped behind the line and they touched him, so they didn’t have a legitimate sack. Derek Stingley is really good at corner and Jalen Pitre is really good at safety. They do have some players playing well. [Pass] Jerry Hughes has four sacks in the first four games. The Jaguars, as they like to run, if they want to ground and pound, they should be able to do it because the Texans can’t stop a clock. They were terrible against the run. They like to get pressure with a four-man front, but they will blitz sometimes. But when you’re bad, you make mistakes to lose and don’t play to win – and that’s where they are.

Q: If the Texans have a formula for success, what is it?

A: They need Pierce to keep running the way he’s been running and they need Mills to be more accurate. They are slow starters. They have yet to get a first hit on their first series. They play from behind. They want to have balance. Their running game is better this season, so you’d think that would take the heat off Mills, but they’ve made crucial mistakes and they’re just kind of a mistake waiting to happen. They’re like the Jaguars two years ago: They still need a lot of talent.

Q: What is a successful season for the Texans this season?

A: The win total for the season was four and a half. I thought, ‘Wow, if they won four with David Culley as the head coach last season, they should be able to win five.’ I chose them 6-11. Right now, I don’t know who they’re going to beat. They beat the Jaguars eight times in a row. We used to say, ‘Well, it’s Jacksonville; they will sweep them away.’ You can’t say that now. But the light at the end of the tunnel could be [Ohio State quarterback] CJ Stroud or [Alabama quarterback] Bryce Young.

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