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Notes and observations: Tough task at tackle


JACKSONVILLE – The task is tough, but the task is here.

That's how Head Coach Doug Marrone sees the week – and more specifically, the weekend – ahead for Jaguars rookie offensive tackle Cam Robinson.

"You're going to have to do it," Marrone said Monday. "That's why we drafted him."

Robinson, selected by the Jaguars in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft, is expected to start against the Houston Texans in Sunday's regular-season opener at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

The Texans' defense is very good, and Marrone discussed the unit extensively Monday.

"They're the top defense in the league," Marrone said. "Not a lot of teams have been very successful against this defense. That's why they're number one. They have outstanding players and I haven't seen a defense like this in a long time in this league that has such outstanding players."

Marrone said there are many reasons for Houston's defense is good, including many players not discussed much by observers. But the most-publicized players on the Houston defense are perhaps the NFL's best pass-rushing trio: end J.J. Watt, linebacker Whitney Mercilus and end Jadeveon Clowney.

Watt, a three-time Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year, is returning after missing 13 games last season with a back injury. Clowney, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, had six sacks last season, and Mercilus – a sixth-year veteran linebacker – has 19.5 sacks over the last two seasons, including 7.5 last season.

New Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel is expected to move players around the front, meaning Robinson likely will face the entire trio at various times Sunday in his NFL regular-season debut.

"I'm looking forward to it," Robinson said. "They're one of the better fronts in the league. I think it will be a good measuring stick for where we are as an offensive line."

Notes and observations from around EverBank Field Monday:

*The spot next to Robinson – left guard – remains unknown, with Marrone saying Monday he had not yet named a starter at the position. The Jaguars traded offensive lineman Luke Bowanko to the Baltimore Ravens Saturday. Patrick Omameh started two games at left guard in the preseason with Bowanko starting Preseason Week 3 and Earl Watford starting the preseason finale Thursday. "We have work to see during the week and we'll see where we are." Marrone said. "We have two good practices coming up and Friday is a good practice for us, so it has kind of changed a little bit and see where we are going into the game." …

*Marrone also on Monday discussed the offensive line overall, saying "They have to play better. I think that's as simple as that is." …

*Marrone also on Monday declined to say whether rookie running back Leonard Fournette will start Sunday. The No. 4 overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, Fournette rushed for 31 yards on nine carries in the preseason opener against New England before missing the final three games of the preseason. He split time in the preseason opener with starter Chris Ivory." We'll see how the week goes," Marrone said. "We'll see who will be back there."

*The Jaguars elected their team captains on Monday: tight end Marcedes Lewis, center Brandon Linder (offense), linebackers Telvin Smith and Paul Posluszny (defense) and wide receiver Arrelious Benn (special teams). "It feels amazing," Benn said. "That's how much I appreciate my teammates, and for them to vote for me team captain of special teams is big. It doesn't do anything but add fire to what I'm doing. It even gave me a boost. Not saying I needed it, but it's an extra 'umph' and I'm going to go out and wear it with pride." …

*Marrone on the region of Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey: "I think it's wrong if you don't take a minute and think about the people that are going through those situations. … I think that is where the sport and sports in general need to take a backseat. We need to know that our prayers and our thoughts and whatever we can do go out to those people. … I think that if you don't take that time to at least recognize what people are going through, I think that's wrong.'' The NFL confirmed on Monday that Sunday's Jaguars-Texans game will be held in Houston as originally scheduled. …

*The Jaguars will release their first official injury report of the season Wednesday in accordance with league rules. Marrone said all active players practiced Monday. …

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