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Houston Texans

Brooke Bentley Question & Answer

Michael Wallett - Amsterdam, NY, US: I have like two questions, first off I love this team I grew up in TX just outside of Houston. My first question is what are some off the free agent players that the team are looking to pick up? My second question is when are the Texans going to come up to NY, I would love to see them play Teams like the Giants or the Jets. I am always bumbed when the season starts cause I only get to see the Texans play once or twice in the Season.

Brooke Bentley:

Hi fans, this will be my last question of the day. Thanks for all the great emails. Keep them coming and don't forget to check out for in-depth Pro Bowl coverage next week!!

Hi Michael,

I'm not at liberty to talk about the players the Texans are going after in free agency, but I can say the focus of the offseason will be on defense. General manager Rick Smith has talked about getting more depth at every defensive position, especially in the secondary and on the defensive line. Next season, the Texans will play the Jets, but that game will be in Houston. They do travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills.

Diego - Sugar Land, TX, US: Hi Brooke. The Texans, in my opinion, could use a guy like Pat White to not only add talent to our stellar offense but add a little trickery as well, something we haven't seen a lot of in our franchise's history. What do you think are the chances of Slaton and White dressing out in the same uniform again?

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Diego,

West Virginia quarterback Pat White is a completely different player than Matt Schaub and would offer a different look. However, the rumor coming out of the Senior Bowl last week was that White would enter the draft as a wide receiver, and the Texans probably won't be going after a wideout in the earlier rounds of the draft.

emeka mordi - houston, TX, US: what will frank bush bring to the table defensively that richard smith didn't, being that they both coached on the same staff. in other words, what is the difference between frank bush and richard smith scheme wise?

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Emeka,

You ask a great question. Frank Bush and Richard Smith coached together last season, but they have very different styles and philosophies. Bush is a fiery coach who preaches aggression. He wants the front seven to go after the quarterback and the secondary to fly around and make plays. He calls himself an "attacking" coach, and the players love it. In fact, linebacker DeMeco Ryans said Bush was the type of coach that got him pumped up before games. Bush also will look for more defensive playmakers this offseason to give him the talent to execute his schemes.

Nick - Cypress, TX, US: Brooke, Do you think the Texans are in more need of a Safety to help with pass defense, or a Defensive Lineman to compliment Mario?

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Nick,

To be honest, the Texans need both and could look to the draft and free agency to find their players. The Texans started two veteran safeties last season, Nick Ferguson and Eugene Wilson, who got the job done. But they need a physical player who can force turnovers. The team also needs a pass rusher opposite Mario Williams, so that teams don't smother Mario with double teams. A run-stuffing defensive tackle who can hold two blockers also would be nice.

david - houston, TX, US: what is likelihood of re-signing dunte robinson and with the 15th pick -will texans base their decision on him re-signing or will they trade down for xtra picks or use the old cliche - will take the best athelete available

Brooke Bentley:

Hi David,

You are so right: Coaches love that draft cliche! I talked to general manager Rick Smith about re-signing Dunta and Smith said he is making that his first priority right now. The Texans want Dunta back. Dunta wants to make big-time money, so they are working on a deal. As for the draft, it looks like the Texans will focus on their defensive needs. And they have a lot of them: physical safety, run-stuffing defensive tackle and pass rusher opposite Mario Williams.

Clara - Richmond, TX, US: My question is about Dunta Robinson in free agency. When do you think the Texans will resign him to a contract? That man is my favorite player. I am a season ticket holder and I was at the game that he returned. I have never in my life heard the stadium as loud as it was when they annouced Dunta Robinson back on to the field. Please give me some hope that Dunta will be back.

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Clara,

I have good news: Texans GM Rick Smith agrees with you. He wants Dunta Robinson back, too. I asked Smith this question in a video interview last week and here was his answer, "We're working hard at this point to try to get a deal with Dunta completed. I think that's going to be our focus, to get him done."

Austin - Boquete, TX, PM: Is there any way the Texans can get an all purpose FULLBACK? Some more meat on the goal line. How about Chris Wells ( running back) from Ohio state? Put 20 lbs on him. He could also catch out of the backfield.

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Austin,

Ohio State's Chris Wells (6-1, 235) could be one of the best running backs in the draft because of his size and speed. Most draft boards have him going high in the first round. It's not likely that the Texans will use a first-round pick on a running back. They probably will focus on a defensive player. Plus, fullback Vonta Leach is coming off the best season of his career, paving the way for Steve Slaton and catching clutch screen passes late in the year. Of course, if Wells' draft stock falls, things could change.

Charlie Gwaltney - Bossier City, LA, US: What are the Texans planning on working on for the 2009? Offense? Defense?

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Charlie,

The Texans can improve in both areas. On offense, they moved the ball well but had too many turnovers and struggled in the red zone. Quarterbacks Matt Schaub and Sage Rosenfels combined for 20 interceptions last season. They will work on making better decisions with their passes. On defense, the Texans will look to get faster, more athletic players through free agency and the draft. They finished the season ranked 22nd in the league, giving up an average of 336.6 ypg. They need more talent to improve those numbers.

Jose Govea - houston, TX, US: hi i wanted to ask u that if the texans going to resign any guys that are going free agents from the texans team... i dont really know who is a free agent but i wish we dont lose no one from our offense.........

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Jose,

The Texans' restricted free agents this year are: WR David Anderson, T Rashad Butler, DE Earl Cochran, TE Owen Daniels, TE Joel Dreessen and DE Stanley McClover. General manager Rick Smith has emphasized that the team is committed to re-signing Owen Daniels. The unrestricted free agents are: SS C.C. Brown, TE Mark Bruener, CB DeMarcus Faggins, SS Nick Ferguson, T Scott Jackson, LS Bryan Pittman, CB Dunta Robinson, FB Cecil Sapp, C Chris White, DB Jimmy Williams, FS Eugene Wilson and DT Jeff Zgonina. Smith already is working on a deal to make sure Robinson stays in Houston and he told me he would like to bring Wilson back as well.

For a lowdown on free agency, click here.

Kevin - houston, TX, US: Do you think that the texans will try to go get DE julias peppers?

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Kevin,

I talked about this in an earlier question, so here's the lowdown on Peppers. A couple of weeks ago Peppers' agent said he wanted out of Charlotte. The Panthers will try to do everything they can to get him to stay. They hired a new defensive coordinator, Ron Meeks, who was the D-coordinator in Indy for seven seasons. The Panthers also can use the franchise tag on Peppers. His contract expires Feb.26 and the Panthers' window for tagging him is Feb. 5-19. If the Panthers don't tag him, Peppers will be fair game.

Joey Garcia - Katy, TX, US: What is the Texans salary cap situation going into 2009 ? How much room do they have and will they be shopping Rosenfells via trade?

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Joey,

I don't have the exact number salary cap numbers, but there have been estimates in USA Today that the Texans are at around $94,000,000. That gives them about 30,000,000 to work with. I stress that these numbers are not confirmed and only estimates. As for quarterback Sage Rosenfels, he has another year left on his deal. The Texans did entertain trades for him last offseason, but didn't like the offers.

Rebecca Shifflet - Spring, TX, US: During the 2009 draft who do you think we will pick up to add to the team, to make us better? If you could guess at this very moment what do you think our record will be for the 2009 football season?

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Rebecca,

It seems like the Texans will focus on defense in this year's draft. The offense doesn't have many holes, but the defense could use a physical safety, a run-stopping defensive tackle and a pass rusher opposite Mario Williams. As for next year's record, it's a little hard to predict because the schedule has not come out. The Texans know their opponents, but they don't when they will be playing them - and that can make a big difference. Check back with me in April when the schedule comes out. As for the 2009 opponents, click here.

Calvin L Baker - Houston, TX, US: The Texans have continuely gone after high profile defensive players. While a good defense is important Gary Kubiac has failed to improve the Offensive line. When first becoming the Texans he said their goal would be to get the Quarterback and to protect the Quarter back. When do we improve the Offense to protect the Quarterback.

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Calvin,

The Texans' offensive line did struggle at the beginning of last season in pass protection, but they made huge strides by the end of the year. Rookie left tackle Duane Brown, a first-round pick, faced a baptism by fire as a starter, going against the Steelers and the Titans in his first two NFL games. But Brown settled down during the season and was able to contain top-tier defensive ends. Also, the line did an excellent job in run blocking for Steve Slaton, who finished second in the AFC in rushing. I think the O-line will surprise you next year and will be an anchor for the Texans' offense.

Marcus Egemba - Las Vegas, NV, US: Are you considering drafting Vontae Davis from Illinois

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Marcus,

The Texans are looking for defensive playmakers in this year's draft. They will feel much better about the cornerback position if they can re-sign Dunta Robinson. If not, cornerback certainly will be a position of need. Illinois' Vontae Davis is considered a first-round pick right now and the best corner in the draft behind Ohio State's Malcolm Jenkins. Davis recorded 78 tackles and two interceptions last season. He is the younger brother of San Francisco tight end and former top-10 pick Vernon Davis (Maryland). Athleticism obviously runs in this family, because both of the Davis brothers are freakishly strong and fast.

larry meeks - atlanta, GA, US: Brooke the texans have a fine strong safety in nick ferguson.It would a sad day to not bring this kid back.

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Larry,

General manager Rick Smith signed free agent safeties Nick Ferguson and Eugene Wilson last season as veterans who could add depth in the secondary. Both ended up starting for the Texans and did a very solid job. Ferguson provided leadership at the position and contributed on special teams. It's no secret that the Texans want to bring in a fast, physical safety, but that doesn't mean Ferguson will be gone. Ferguson is entering his 10th season in the NFL and once again he could be fighting for a roster spot.

Alejandro - Houston, TX, US: Now that its out there that Julius Peppers does not whant to return to Carolina what are the chances the Texans go out and get him to relieve all that preassure off Mario Williams?

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Texans fans! Thanks for joining the weekly Live Chat. The Texans are deep into their talent evaluation portion of the season, so we have a lot of draft and free agency emails to break down. Let the fun begin!

Hi Alejandro,

Here's the deal on Julius Peppers. A couple of weeks ago Peppers' agent said he wanted out of Charlotte. The Panthers most likely will do everything they can to get him to stay. They hired a new defensive coordinator, Ron Meeks, who served as the D-coordinator in Indy for seven seasons. The Panthers also can use the franchise tag on Peppers and give him a deal too sweet to refuse. Peppers' contract expires Feb.26 and the Panthers' window for tagging him is Feb. 5-19, so it will be interesting to see how it pans out. That being said, the Texans (and a lot of other teams) would love to have a guy like Peppers on their defensive line to keep teams from double teaming Mario Williams.

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