Sep 11, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil (78) is introduced before playing against the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Texans rule out Laremy Tunsil vs. Jags, put Derek Stingley Jr. on IR

The Houston Texans ruled out left tackle Laremy Tunsil for Sunday’s game against the host Jacksonville Jaguars and placed cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. on injured reserve.

The Texans announced Saturday that Tunsil would not travel to Jacksonville with the team.

Signed to a three-year, $75 million contract in March, Tunsil has started one game this season for Houston.

Tunsil, 29, earned his third Pro Bowl selection in 2022 and started all 17 games. He has 95 starts in seven seasons with the Texans and the Miami Dolphins (2016-18), who drafted him 13th overall in 2016.

Stingley, who sustained a hamstring injury during Wednesday’s practice, will miss the team’s next four games.

Stingley, 22, has made nine tackles and allowed four catches for 37 yards and no touchdowns on six targets this season.

The 2022 first-round pick (third overall) made nine starts as a rookie and posted 43 tackles, one interception and one sack without giving up a touchdown. He sustained a season-ending leg injury in Week 10.

Also on Saturday, the Texans signed safety DeAndre Houston-Carson to the active roster from the practice squad. Houston also elevated defensive tackle Khalil Davis and offensive tackle Austin Deculus from the practice squad.

–Field Level Media

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) looks to pass during the first quarter of a NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023 at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 17-9. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]

Jaguars looking for a jolt on offense in clash vs. Texans

The Jacksonville Jaguars will attempt to get their stagnant offense moving when they host the Houston Texans on Sunday in an AFC South battle.

The Jaguars (1-1) squandered many opportunities during last week’s 17-9 home loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, and quarterback Trevor Lawrence is still disappointed with the club’s execution.

“I don’t think any player on offense played anywhere close to their best game,” Lawrence said during Wednesday’s press conference. “We have a group that recognizes that. There is nobody who thinks they played great on Sunday and is above anybody else.”

Jacksonville went 0-for-3 on red-zone opportunities and once had first-and-goal from the Kansas City 1-yard line in the fourth quarter before settling for a field goal. Also, there were four occasions — two each by Zay Jones and Calvin Ridley — in which a receiver was unable to get two feet down in the end zone.

Jaguars coach Doug Pederson is expecting a much-improved effort against the Texans (0-2). His offense ranks 21st in scoring (20 points per game) and 22nd in total offense (306.5 yards per game).

“I know it’s early, but we’re running out of the early excuse a little bit,” Pederson said Wednesday. “We need to get it addressed pretty quick. … It’s got to be a now mentality. Obviously, we got to continue to work to improve.”

Said receiver Christian Kirk: “We need to look ourselves in the mirror and be very harsh on ourselves.”

Lawrence has passed for 457 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in two games, the first being a 31-21 road win over the Indianapolis Colts.

The Jaguars routed the host Texans 31-3 in Week 17 of last season to snap a nine-game losing streak against Houston.

The Texans now feature a new quarterback in rookie C.J. Stroud, and the No. 2 overall pick in April’s draft is coming off a banner game.

Stroud completed 30 of 47 passes for 384 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s 31-20 loss to the Colts. His strong performance came with Houston missing four starting offensive linemen.

“This kid is made of all the right stuff,” Texans coach DeMeco Ryans said of Stroud at Wednesday’s press conference. “Happy to have him on board — our team is happy to have him on board. We just have to play complimentary football around him.

Stroud has thrown for 626 yards and two touchdowns. He hasn’t been intercepted despite dealing with soreness in his passing shoulder.

The former Ohio State star said the Jacksonville defense rates as a huge test.

“Great defense all the way around,” Stroud said Wednesday. “They play very well together. We definitely need to be on our ‘A’ game and know where they’re at and try to execute the best we can.”

Despite Stroud’s strong start, the Texans ranks 29th in scoring at 14.5 points per game.

Houston is hopeful star left tackle Laremy Tunsil will return after sitting out versus the Colts due to a knee injury. The three-time Pro Bowler was a limited practice participant on Wednesday.

“He had an issue with the knee. He got it fixed,” Ryans said. “Got treatment around the clock. We’ll see how he feels as the week progresses.”

Safety Jimmie Ward (hip) also was limited but is expected to make his Houston debut. Ward spent the past nine seasons with San Francisco and followed Ryans to town in the offseason after the former 49ers defensive coordinator was named the Texans’ coach.

Three Houston players missed practice: linebacker Denzel Perryman (hand/wrist), safety Jalen Pitre (chest) and cornerback Tavierre Thomas.

For Jacksonville, Jones (knee), safety Antonio Johnson (hamstring) and nose tackle Folorunso Fatukasi (shoulder) missed practice on Wednesday. Star pass rusher Josh Allen (shoulder) and safety Andrew Wingard (shoulder) were limited.

–Field Level Media

Jul 30, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans safety Jalen Pitre (5) takes a drink of water while warming up during training camp practice at the Houston Methodist Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Texans S Jalen Pitre to return ‘pretty soon’ from bruised lung

Houston Texans safety Jalen Pitre continues to progress and should be cleared to return “pretty soon,” head coach DeMeco Ryans said Wednesday.

Pitre was hospitalized in Baltimore after leaving the 25-9 loss to the Ravens with a bruised lung just before halftime. He was kept overnight for observation and returned to Houston with team medical staff the next day.

Ryans said left tackle Laremy Tunsil returned to practice after dealing with a knee injury and safety Jimmie Ward (hip) was also on the field.

When Pitre can play is not yet determined.

“He’s been leading throughout the week. He’s a special young man. I’m happy to coach him,” Ryans said.

Pitre, 24, was hurt when he took a knee to his chest from Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson.

The 2022 second-round pick led Houston in tackles (147) and interceptions (five) during his rookie season.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) attempts a pass as Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Rayshad Nichols (91) rushes during the second half at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Texans QB C.J. Stroud (shoulder) listed as questionable vs. Colts

Houston Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the visiting Indianapolis Colts due to an injury to his throwing shoulder.

When Stroud injured the right shoulder isn’t immediately known. He was not on the team’s injury report on either Wednesday or Thursday.

Stroud reportedly rested the arm during most of Friday’s practice. In his debut last Sunday during a 25-9 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Stroud was sacked five times and hit on 10 other occasions.

Stroud also completed 28 of 44 passes for 242 yards in his first NFL game.

Davis Mills is Houston’s backup quarterback. Last season, Mills tied with Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys with an NFL-worst 15 interceptions while throwing for 3,118 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Stroud was the No. 2 overall pick in April’s draft. Sunday’s matchup is slated to be his first against No. 4 pick Anthony Richardson, the new quarterback of the Colts.

The Texans also listed standout offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil (knee) and linebacker Neville Hewitt (illness) as questionable and ruled out safeties Jalen Pitre (chest) and Jimmie Ward (hip).

For the Colts, star guard Quenton Nelson (toe) and tight end Drew Ogletree (concussion) are listed as questionable.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) attempts a pass as Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Rayshad Nichols (91) rushes during the second half at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Texans, Colts battle in showdown of rookie QBs

A good number of eyeballs around the league were focused intently on Atlanta, Baltimore and Indianapolis last weekend, scrutinizing the career-opening performances of the top three quarterbacks selected in the 2023 NFL Draft.

And while Carolina quarterback Bryce Young, Houston rookie signal caller C.J. Stroud and the Colts’ Anthony Richardson all acquitted themselves well, they shared something else in common from their professional debuts: each tasted defeat.

In Week 2, Stroud and Richardson will square off against one another when the Texans face the visiting Colts on Sunday. Interest remains intense for the second and fourth overall selections, respectively, in terms of adaptability and the fact that one is likely to steer his team to victory for the first time.

For Richardson and Stroud, advancing that goal involves remaining upright and avoiding dangerous hits. The Ravens sacked Stroud five times, tied for the third-highest total from Week 1. Richardson absorbed four sacks plus additional blows while scrambling for 40 yards and a touchdown, hits that drew the attention of Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who advised Richardson to learn the art of protecting himself to prolong his career.

“I think it’s just eliminating the big hits,” Colts coach Shane Steichen said. “When you can get out of bounds, get out of bounds and be smart. There’s a time and place for it. You’ve got to be smart, it’s a long season. Take care of your body.”

Richardson was otherwise impressive. He not only ran for a score but also completed a 39-yard touchdown pass to Michael Pittman Jr. He passed for 223 yards, completed 24 of 37 attempts and showed the promise that enticed the Colts to draft Richardson and peg him as their starter.

“Very encouraged,” Steichen said. “I thought he did a really nice job and went to the right spots with the football. The completion percentage was good. We had some shots down the field, and he was smart with the football. They didn’t give them to us, and he checked it down.

“There’s little details to clean up like there will be every week but I feel encouraged with his first performance.”

Stroud failed to lead the Texans into the end zone during their 25-9 loss in Baltimore, but he flashed the poise and acumen that led to him earning the starting nod during the preseason.

Despite being under duress behind a makeshift offensive line compromised by injuries, Stroud finished 28-for-44 for 242 yards. He committed one turnover — a lost fumble — but the hallmarks of his nascent game were showcased, primarily his ability to get the ball out on time and accurately.

Progress is a process for Richardson and Stroud, and understanding that should facilitate growth.

“Creating a successful offense, it takes patience,” Stroud said. “Of course, no one wants to hear, even I don’t want to hear that, but it’s the truth. It’s just being better on my part. I have to control what I can control and be as best as I can getting guys in and out the huddle and things like that.

“Just practicing harder and making it (as) game-like as possible in practice. … Just practicing better and just getting better on my part is what I gotta do.”

Texans linebacker Neville Hewitt (illness), tackle Laremy Tunsil (knee) and safeties Jalen Pitre and Jimmie Ward (hip) didn’t practice on Wednesday. Receiver John Metchie III (hamstring) and tight end Dalton Schultz (thigh) were among those limited.

For the Colts, guard Quenton Nelson missed Wednesday’s practice with a toe injury, while tight end Drew Ogletree was a non-participant due to a concussion.

–Field Level Media

Jul 30, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver Noah Brown (85) catches a pass during training camp practice at the Houston Methodist Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Texans WR Noah Brown placed on IR with groin injury

Houston Texans wide receiver Noah Brown was placed on injured reserve Wednesday with a groin injury.

Brown had three receptions for 20 yards in Week 1 at Baltimore, sharing time with rookie Tank Dell. Dell, who caught three passes for 34 yards, will step into an expanded role.

Brown played 52 snaps in the 25-9 loss to the Ravens; Dell played 37.

Texans defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway was also placed on IR.

To fill their roster spots, the Texans elevated rookie punter Ty Zentner from the practice squad and signed defensive end Michael Dogbe.

Ridgeway was questionable for Week 1 with a calf injury and left the game after posting two tackles due to the same injury.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) pressured by Houston Texans defensive end Dylan Horton (92) in the first quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Jackson, Ravens run past Texans

Lamar Jackson passed for 169 yards in his first game with a new five-year contract, Justice Hill ran for two touchdowns and the Baltimore Ravens opened the season with a 25-9 victory Sunday over the visiting Houston Texans.

Jackson completed 17 of 22 passes with one interception and ran for 38 more yards with a lost fumble. J.K. Dobbins had 22 yards and a touchdown on eight carries before departing early in the second half with a possible Achilles injury.

Baltimore’s Zay Flowers had nine catches for 78 yards in his first NFL game, while Odell Beckham Jr. had two catches for 37 yards in his Ravens debut.

In his first NFL game, Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud passed for 242 yards and was sacked five times. The No. 2 overall draft pick out of Ohio State this past April was 28-of-44 passing and lost a fumble.

Dameon Pierce had 38 yards rushing on 11 carries for the Texans, while Nico Collins and Robert Woods each had six catches for a combined 137 yards.

Jackson was intercepted by Houston’s Steven Nelson on Baltimore’s second drive, but used the third drive to move the Ravens 58 yards in nine plays with Dobbins scoring on a 4-yard TD run for a 7-0 lead.

Stroud’s first taste of NFL play was rocky. He completed his first NFL pass to himself for no gain when his throw was batted out of the air and rebounded into his arms. Houston gained just 4 yards of total offense on its first three drives.

Stroud settled in to guide drives of 67 and 68 yards that ended in Ka’imi Fairbairn field goals of 35 and 38 yards in the final 4 minutes of the first half to trail 7-6.

On their first possession of the second half, the Ravens went 71 yards on eight plays with Hill scoring on a 4-yard run and Gus Edwards adding the 2-point conversion run for a 15-6 lead.

The Texans followed by turning the ball over on downs for the second time, and the Ravens worked a five-play, 42-yard drive that ended with a 2-yard score from Hill and a 22-6 lead with 5:21 remaining in the third quarter.

After the Texans’ M.J. Stewart recovered a Jackson fumble at the Ravens’ 32-yard line, Houston could only muster a 36-yard field goal to pull within 22-9 with 13:47 remaining. The Ravens added Justin Tucker’s 39-yard field goal with 4:10 remaining.

Baltimore offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley and center Tyler Linderbaum departed in the fourth quarter with leg injuries.

–Field Level Media

Aug 26, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA;  Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews (89) looks on against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens TE Mark Andrews inactive vs. Texans

Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews is inactive for the team’s season opener against the visiting Houston Texas on Sunday due to a quadriceps injury.

Andrews, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, was limited in practice throughout the week after missing six previous practices.

Second-year tight ends Isaiah Likely and Charlie Kolar will see additional playing time in the absence of Andrews.

Andrews, 28, led the team with 73 receptions, 847 yards and five TD catches in 2022 after posting massive numbers in 2021: 107 catches for 1,361 yards and nine touchdowns. A third-round pick in 2018, Andrews has 336 career catches for 4,313 yards and 34 TDs in 77 games (33 starts)

Tyler Huntley will serve as the team’s third quarterback. Cornerbacks Jayln Armour-Davis, Arthur Maulet and Marlon Humphrey as well as guards Ben Cleveland and Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu have been ruled inactive for Baltimore.

Houston’s Case Keenum will be the team’s third quarterback. Wide receiver John Metchie, linebacker Blake Cashman, safety Jimmie Ward, cornerback Alex Austin and running back Dare Ogunbowale have been ruled inactive for the Texans.

–Field Level Media

Apr 28, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; Fromm left to right head coach DeMeco Ryans and CJ Stroud (left), second overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and Texans linebacker Will Anderson Jr., third overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, answer questions at a press conference at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

New leaders guide Texans into battle-tested Baltimore

C.J. Stroud never beat Michigan, but there’s another chance for the former Ohio State quarterback to get the best of the Wolverines.

Stroud, drafted No. 2 overall in April, makes his NFL debut with the Houston Texans at Baltimore on Sunday with former Michigan defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald now calling the shots for the Ravens’ defense.

“You’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game,” said Stroud, who was 0-2 in “The Game” with 743 yards and four TDs in those rivalry games.

Stroud said he will trust the plan in place and not second-guess when he takes the field Sunday.

“Some people get to these moments and try to be Superman, I’m going to trust my teammates, trust myself and trust God,” he said.

Recently rebuilt via the draft and still under construction, Houston heads to Baltimore as a decided underdog to a veteran-laden team with an 11-4 record in Week 1 under head coach John Harbaugh.

Stroud and the Texans’ defense face the challenge of measuring up to quarterback Lamar Jackson. He’s back in the lineup devoid of distractions and healthy. Jackson missed the final six games of the 2022 season and signed a five-year contract in the offseason, working closely with first-year offensive coordinator and play caller Todd Monken to assimilate new playmakers in a fresh scheme.

The Ravens used a first-round pick on slot receiver Zay Flowers, signed wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. — who sat out last season recovering from a torn ACL but has 531 career catches — and added Nelson Agholor (340 career catches) to a group that includes Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews and 2021 first-rounder Rashod Bateman.

Harbaugh said Wednesday as Andrews returned to practice that Beckham would have no snap count or physical limitations in his first game since February 2022. Though Jackson didn’t play in the preseason, the Ravens had seven TD passes in three games after totaling 19 in 17 regular-season games last season. The throwback coach wasn’t sharing strategy when he nodded to confirm the Ravens are planning to air it out in 2023 to show off some of their new personnel.

“But I think that just by virtue of the personality of the team, it’s a pretty fair assumption that we’re going to throw the ball more. No question about that,” he said.

With Harbaugh on the sideline for his 243rd career game as a head coach, Houston follows first-timer DeMeco Ryans into enemy territory. The fourth head coach for the Texans since 2020 (Romeo Crennel, David Culley, Lovie Smith) faces an uphill battle considering the team has only 11 wins the past three seasons. Baltimore won 10 games for the ninth time under Harbaugh last season.

Ryans, formerly a linebacker with the Texans and more recently defensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers, said he sees building blocks in the locker room and isn’t worried about past results.

Discipline was the buzzword from Ryans regarding the trick to keeping Jackson in check. The complicating factor with Jackson is speed, especially when protection fails. He’s one rushing touchdown shy of 25 for his career.

“Second level,” Ryans said of his linebackers and secondary, “have to be very disciplined.”

Among Ryans’ Week 1 goals is being the more physical team while protecting Stroud.

“It’s going to be tough,” Ryans said. “It’s always tough playing against that defense. Rookie quarterback, going to be a tough challenge for us, but we’re not backing down from the challenge.”

Running back Dameon Pierce, who led the Texans in rushing as a rookie with 939 yards and four TDs in 2022, figures to be the center of the Ravens’ attention.

The Texans allowed 38 sacks last season and start the 2023 campaign with starting right tackle Tytus Howard (hand surgery) on injured reserve.

Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey is not expected to return until Week 3 following foot surgery in August.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA;  Houston Texans offensive tackle Tytus Howard (71) blocks Tennessee Titans linebacker Bud Dupree (48) in the fourth quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Texans put starting RT Tytus Howard (hand) on IR

The Houston Texans placed starting right tackle Tytus Howard (hand) on injured reserve Wednesday, a move that sidelines him for at least the first four games of the season.

The Texans open at Baltimore on Sunday.

Howard was seen at practice Monday with a protective cast on his left hand. He sustained the injury during practice at training camp in early August. ESPN reported he had surgery two days later to repair a broken hand.

Howard has started all 54 games he has played since the Texans selected him with the 23rd overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Alabama State.

Howard, 27, signed a three-year, $56 million extension in July that reportedly included $36.5 million guaranteed.

Josh Jones is listed behind Howard on the depth chart at right tackle. George Fant is also an option.

–Field Level Media