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A Look Around The AFC South

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A Look Around The AFC South: 9.11.18

Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) is attended on the field, during the second half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Houston Texans

Deshaun Watson looked rusty in Houston's season-opening loss to New England, committing two turnovers and failing to move the offense consistently in his return from knee surgery.

Now the second-year quarterback must find a way to improve before Houston begins AFC South play on Sunday at Tennessee where the Texans will be without right tackle Seantrel Henderson.

Coach Bill O'Brien said Monday that Henderson is out for the season with an ankle injury. O'Brien added that Henderson, who was brought in this offseason to improve Houston's line, will have surgery on Tuesday.

O'Brien said that for Watson to play better this week the rest of the offense has to pitch in to help him.

But he did admit that Watson was a little rusty and that he has "to make better reads, better decisions" for the Texans to be successful. O'Brien was also quick to point out that Watson is still a young player so growing pains are to be expected.

"It's only I think his seventh game as a starter in this league," O'Brien said. "He hasn't played football in ... a regular-season game, in a while ... there's a little bit of rust involved in all of those things and I know that he will improve. He'll work very hard to improve, but there's a lot of work to do."

(via Kristie Rieken / The Associated Press)

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Watson and Watt. #MondayMotivation

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville's formula for success was evident in the season opener.

It's relying on their strengths. It's playing to their identity. It's surely not the last time they'll win like that, either.

Sure, the Jaguars would like to have done more offensively in a 20-15 victory at the New York Giants .

But after losing running back Leonard Fournette to a hamstring injury early, being without leading receiver Marqise Lee (knee) and having the starting offensive line together for first the time in a game, the team will gladly take the performance and hope to build on it heading into the home opener against New England (1-0).

"Everybody has a role in how we're supposed to win football games," quarterback Blake Bortles said. "Mine is making sure we're hitting the right run plays, delivering the ball, letting guys make plays, not turning it over and keeping the wheels greased up and spinning."

The Jaguars finished with 305 yards and 13 points offensively, with all of the points coming in the first half.

They really struggled with Fournette in street clothes, converting one third-down play and managing just 91 yards in the second half. It didn't help that Jacksonville finished with 11 penalties for 119 yards.

Coach Doug Marrone defending the play-calling Monday, saying the team didn't get conservative.

"I don't know if that was the way we felt," he said. "It might have been the way it looked. ... I think you have to be able to adjust, depending on what goes on in the game."

Marrone said Fournette's injury is considered minor, but couldn't guarantee he would be ready to play against the Patriots in a rematch of last season's AFC title game.

"If he is ready to go, we will ease him back in there," Marrone said. "We will see how he feels. I think a lot of it depends on that."

(via Mark Long / The Associated Press)

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#VictoryMonday 1-0.

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Tennessee Titans

The Tennessee Titans have lost their three-time Pro Bowl tight end at least for a big chunk of the season.

Quarterback Marcus Mariota is being evaluated after hurting his throwing arm, and two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan is in the concussion protocol.

And that's just the latest injuries for the Titans.

Now Tennessee has to see who's healthy enough for the home opener Sunday against AFC South rival Houston (0-1) and adapt accordingly.

"What we're going to do every week is try to figure out what gives us the best chance to win, personnel wise, who we have available, maybe who we're playing obviously," rookie coach Mike Vrabel said Monday.

"We'll be flexible enough to use any personnel that we think will help us win. I don't think we can commit to anything right now."

The Titans already are down starting right tackle Jack Conklin, who was inactive against Miami as he recovers from a torn left ACL repaired in January.

On defense, starting linebacker Derrick Morgan played only 14 snaps in the Titans' 27-20 loss in Miami as the Titans work the veteran back in after a preseason injury.

Tennessee's top two draft picks also are linebackers, and Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry both missed the opener with injuries.

Add to that the Titans are recovering from the league's longest game since the NFL/AFL merger in 1970 because of two lightning delays that made the matchup in Miami last 7 hours, 8 minutes from the opening kickoff to the final second ticked off.

Morgan said it wasn't easy warming up, cooling down again and again, but thinks the Titans learned some mental toughness from the day that wouldn't end.

"Hopefully it never happens again and we never have to play football for eight hours straight," Morgan said.

Mariota is being evaluated after he lost sensation in his right hand after the game from his injured right elbow. He was intercepted twice — both after taking a hit from Dolphins defensive lineman William Hayes following a handoff. Vrabel said they're hopeful of getting a good report back on Mariota's arm needing everybody that's healthy and available.

The Titans put tight end Delanie Walker on injured reserve Monday and the tight end will have surgery on his right ankle in the next few days. Walker came into the season with the most catches in the NFL by a tight end between 2013 and 2017. He also has been Mariota's favorite target, leading the team in receptions in two of the past three years.

(via Teresa M. Walker / The Associated Press)

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The sun still rises. #MondayMotivation

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