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Brooke Bentley Question & Answer

Norman Carlsen - Georgetown, TX, US: I agree that the Texans need pass rush help at DE to help M.Williams and it will make Mario more effective. To help the defense I have 2 questions: 1) Are they going to look at a player like Rocky Bernad (DT, Seattle) to help in the middle with run defense? 2) When do you see them locking down Ryans and Robinson in long term deals to give stability to defense leadership?

Brooke Bentley:

Last question. Thanks again for all the great emails. If I didn't get you this week, you'll be first on the list for the next live chat.

Hi Norman,

The Giants signed Rocky Bernard over the weeked, which was a great pick up for them. The Texans still could use a defensive tackle who can clog the middle and hold two blockers. That need hasn't been filled. The team also wants to sign DeMeco Ryans to a long-term deal. Ryans has one year left on his contract, and the Texans want to extend his deal before his contract year. General manager Rick Smith used the franchise tag on cornerback Dunta Robinson, but he said he wants to sign D-Rob to a long-term deal, as well. Robinson wasn't happy with getting the tag, so both sides are going to go back to the table and try to hammer something out.


Todd - Seabrook, TX, US: Thanks for all you do Brooke! My question is two part(s). Will the Texans make a real run for Cedric Benson? I hope so! And is the recent signing of Antonio Smith a good thing? He popped up on radar screens late this past season, had a good playoff run and super bowl performance, but before that was relatively unknown? Thanks in advance....Todd

Brooke Bentley:

Two more...

Hi Todd,

The Texans met with Cedric Benson on Monday. Benson would be a great complement to Steve Slaton, but Benson has to decide if he would want to make less money in Houston and be a backup. He would start for the Bengals after recording a career-high 747 yards rushing in 10 starts last year. I do think the Smith signing is a good thing. In this year's draft, there aren't many good pass-rushing defensive ends who fit a 4-3 scheme. Smith had two sacks in the post season and came into his own last year. Plus, he has played under defensive coordinator Frank Bush and is excited to be in Bush's scheme. Smith has the speed and size to scare teams and keep double-teams off of Mario Williams.


Chess White - Houston, TX, US: Hey Brooke, is there a possibility that the Texans could take Vontae Davis in the first round of the draft? He is definitely the most athletic defensive back in the draft, and he could be available at 15. Would the Texans want to address the CB position if a great one like Davis was available?

Brooke Bentley:

Three more...

Hi Chess,

I saw Vontae Davis workout at the combine. You are right, he is the most athletic cornerback in this year's draft. A lot of scouts think he passed up Malcolm Jenkins as the best corner prospect. If so, it will be hard for the Texans to get him at 15. Also, the Texans feel pretty good at corner with Dunta Robinson getting the franchise tag. There is more of a need at outside linebacker and a very deep class of OLBs.


Andrew - Texas, TX, US: How close are the Texans to signing Cedric Benson? Thanks.

Brooke Bentley:

Time is winding down, but there's still a ton of mail! I'm going to take four more questions. Great emails, fans.

Hi Andrew,

Here's the deal with Cedric Benson. It is reported that the Bengals offered him more money and a starting spot. Benson is from Midland and would like to return to Texas, but he would make less and back up Steve Slaton. So he is trying to weigh those options. Stay tuned and check our site or twitter page for the latest info: http://twitter.com/thetexans.


dave z - houston, TX, US: I realize football is a physical game. I would like to see Matt Schaub complete a season, injury free. What steps or training program is Matt currently particupanting in to strenghten his body?

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Dave,

The Texans realize that Schaub has to stay healthy for 16 games for the team to succeed in the postseason. Last year, Schaub spent the offseason rehabbing his shoulder. This year, he will be working with new head strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright to increase his strength in every muscle group. I actually talked Wright about his approach: /news/Story.asp?storyid=5174


kevin - houston, TX, US: when is the texans gunna resign owen and dunta

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Kevin,

The Texans used the franchise tag on cornerback Dunta Robinson and want to sign him to a long-term deal. They gave tight end Owen Daniels a qualifying offer. They want to make sure both stay in Houston.


Mark W. Castillo - Austin, TX, US: Is it ossible that we will be taking either Cushing / Matthews @ 15th pick or we do we take the risk of losing the shot at either one by trading down? I think a lot of personel teams are down-playing both of the USC kids draft value most importantly their toughness. Oh! One more thing, how do you feel about UCONN's D. Brown or M. Goodson out of aTm as a back up for Stevie Slayton?

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Mark,

It is most definitely possible that the Texans will take USC linebackers Brian Cushing or Clay Matthews. I saw both of them play in college when I covered USC football, and they are work horses who can make plays. I also spoke to both at the scouting combine and they want to come to Houston. The Texans would risk losing both if they traded down. Matthews and Cushing tested well at the combine and enter the draft with a lot of hype. As for running backs, Donald Brown looked great at the combine. He would be awesome backing up Slaton. There is a chance he could be there when the Texans pick in the second round, but he was getting first-round talk in Indy. Mike Goodson is another stout back who would work well with Slaton. I like where your head is, Mark.


Andrew Weaverling - Wallis, TX, US: Do you think that players that went to the same college or high school as players on the roster are sometimes favored over other players? Also other than VY do you think that hometown players are favored more?

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Andrew,

To be honest, I don't think there is a bias toward players who played high school or college football in Texas. There only are a handful of Texas natives on the team. I think the hometown bias comes into play when players enter free agency and want to return to their homestate. Many are willing to take less money to return home.


Bruce - Houston, TX, US: So now that we got Antonio Smith at DE, what positions and what players do you think we will focus on in the draft?

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Bruce,

Well, the Texans still have a lot of needs: physical safety, outside linebacker, run-stopping defensive tackle and a running back to complement Steve Slaton. They are trying to fill some of those voids in free agency. Running back Cedric Benson met with the team on Monday. General manager Rick Smith does want to build the Texans through the draft, and there is a very deep class of outside linebackers.


Michael Garcia - Katy, TX, US: Do you think texans will select a LB number one overall and if so who will we end up with? Are the texans going to spend some real money and go after a free agent saftey or running back? Why dont the texans ever seem to want to spent money on quality free agents when they are in need and are available ?

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Michael,

Last year, the Texans were very conservative in free agency, but they have ramped it up in 2009. The Texans signed defensive end Antonio Smith and quarterback Dan Orlovsky over the weekend. And they met with running back Cedric Benson on Monday. Smith helped lead the Cardinals to a Super Bowl and had two sacks in the post season. He was one of the most prized defensive ends in free agency this year. Smith said the Giants, Bucs and Eagles were all after him. He will line up on the left side and rush the passer opposite Mario Williams, so that was a big free agency signing for Houston. Benson started for the Bengals last season and had a career-high 747 yards rushing in 10 starts. He would be a mean one-two punch with starter Steve Slaton. There aren't too many physical safeties left in free agency, so the Texans might have to look to the draft for that position. I was extremely impressed with the outside linebackers at the combine. It is a deep class with a lot of potential first-round picks (ie: Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews, Aaron Curry) who can start right away in the NFL.


Alejandro - Houston, TX, US: Now that whe have signed a quality DE what do you think the Texans will look for at the draft or do u think they might still get another DE like Orakpo from Texas

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Alejandro,

The Texans filled a huge void on their defensive line by signing left end Antonio Smith. Now, they have a pass rusher opposite Mario Williams, which will help keep teams from double-teaming Super Mario. The Texans would love another edge rusher, but they are going to need a true outside linebacker to line up next to DeMeco Ryans. Both Xavier Adibi and Zac Diles dealt with injuries last season. Also, we have a page on Twitter to update you with all the latest free agency and draft news: http://twitter.com/thetexans


Johnathan glover - houston, TX, US: With the recent signings of dan and antiono what or the texans planning on durig with their draft picks espeically first round power runningback chris wells, or linbacker, or move so far up to get micheal crabtree.

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Johnathan,

Signing Dan Orlovsky means that the Texans won't have to use a high draft pick to get a quarterback in the draft. They have their backup for Matt Schaub. Signing defensive end Antonio Smith means they have their pass rusher opposite Mario Williams. Now, the Texans can focus on other defensive holes they need to fill. The Texans are loaded at wide receiver and they have been looking at free agent running backs (ie: Cedric Benson) to complement Steve Slaton. I have been impressed with the outside linebackers coming out in the draft and would vote to use a first-round pick on one of them. Of course I am biased because I went to USC, but Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews have been getting a lot of hype.


andy canales - edcouch, TX, US: do you think that the texans should lean more in the offensive line or secondary than the d line

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Andy,

The Texans' offensive line looks pretty much set for next season. They return the same unit, which started every game together last season. Plus, left tackle Duane Brown will have a year under his belt as a starter. The Texans signed defensive end Antonio Smith on Saturday to rush the passer opposite Mario Williams, but many think that they need a run-stopping defensive tackle. As for the secondary, they re-signed safety Eugene Wilson and used the franchise tag on cornerback Dunta Robinson. But they still need a physical safety.


Ugene - Houston, TX, US: I was just wondering and it might sound a little crazy but i'm a over the road truck driver and a huge HOUSTN TEXANS fan and i have had heard very little on what has been going on with the Texans .....Whats the deal with Dunte Robinson.Did we resign him or whats the deal with him?

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Ugene,

The Texans used their franchise tag on Dunta Robinson on February 19. General manager Rick Smith said that he still wants to sign Robinson to a long-term deal, but the team used to the tag to make sure they would get the cornerback for another season.


Michael - Spring, TX, US: Do you think the TEXANS will move up in the draft or stay where there at? Also do you think there going Defence in the first round?

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Michael,

General manager Rick Smith showed last year that he's not afraid to trade down in the draft for more picks. Smith has preached that he wants to build the Texans through the draft, and additional picks lets him do so. The Texans were able to trade back last year, because they knew Duane Brown would still be available to them at 26. Most likely, they only will trade back if they know they can get their player. As for which player that will be, defense is a safe bet. I was extremely impressed with the group of outside linebackers at the combine this year. The Texans need a first-round guy next to DeMeco Ryans because Xavier Adibi and Zac Diles both dealt with injuries last year.


Alejandro - Houston, TX, US: If its true that Jay Cutler was put on the trading block do you believe the Texans might make a run for him because coach Kubiak did instal a similar system to that of Coach shannahan and Jay runs it pretty well

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Alejandro,

A lot of sources have been saying that the Broncos were trying to orchestrate a three-way trade with Jay Cutler in return for Matt Cassell. Now, it looks like Cutler will remain the franchise quarterback in Denver. The Texans, on the other hand, are feeling very good about their quarterback situation. They like Matt Schaub as the starter and Dan Orlovsky, who signed on Sunday, as the backup.


Andrew Weaverling - Wallis, TX, US: What do you think the possibilities are that the Texans will draft Javarris Williams in the later rounds to backup Slaton. He's a hometown guy that runs hard has some speed and he isn't afraid to pound the ball up the middle.

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Andrew,

Running back Javarris Williams, who was born in Richmond, TX, is a player the Texans could get later in the draft. He is short and stout (5-10, 223), but creates some wiggle room for himself. He had an impressive showing at the East-West Shine Game in Houston, where a lot of the Texans' scouts and coaches were taking notes. And the Texans are in the market for a running back who can pound the ball to complement Steve Slaton.


benny - houston, TX, US: r the texans keeping ander jhonson

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Benny,

The Texans most definitely are keeping wide receiver Andre Johnson. He has a couple of years left on his contract.


jason - mannington, WV, US: Is there any chance that the Texans draft Pat White? Steve Pat=wildkat.

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Jason,

You are so right - West Virginia products Steve Slaton and Pat White are built for the Wildcat. But the chances of getting White are slim. The Texans just signed a quarterback Dan Orlovsky to three-year deal. Orlovsky, who threw for 1,616 yards and eight touchdowns in Detroit last season, will back up Matt Schaub. Plus, the Texans won't have the money to spend on White. He is coming out of the combine with a lot of buzz. He ran the fastest 40 among quarterbacks and I thought he threw the best during drills.


Doug - Houston, TX, US: I heard that they were having problems at the combine with the electronic timekeepers and all the agents of the players who participated were getting mad at NFL.com and NFL network because they felt the times reported were wrong...any truth to this?

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Doug,

You heard right. The electronic timekeepers were having technical problems at the combine this year, leading agents to question to the accuracy of the official times. Every agent and a lot of coaches bring their own stop watches to clock players, and they were clocking faster times than the combine timekeepers. Many agents say the combine's timekeeping errors explain why the 40-yard dash times were much slower this year. Not one runnning back broke 4.4 seconds. Still, there is no confirmation on the accuracy of the combine timekeepers.


tyler - Turtle Lake, WI, US: Do u think Aaron Curry (OLB) will have a chance of getting picked by the Texans if he doesnt get picked by other teams? and maybe Texas (WR) Micheal Crabtree.

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Tyler,

Outside linebacker Aaron Curry came out of the 2009 NFL Scouting Combine as the top defensive prospect in the draft. He dominated just about every measurable drill for his position group and he won over the media with his sincere nature and sense of humor. Plus, Curry was a tackling machine at Wake Forest and he returned three interceptions for touchdowns. He will be long gone before the Texans pick at 15. And probably so will wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Although he has a stress fracture in his left foot, scouts still think Crabtree is a top-five pick and the best receiver in the draft.


Tony A. - Houston, TX, US: Hi Brooke, well first of all im a big FAN of Texans and YOU of course.. now the questions, with the signing of DE Smith and QB Orlovsky, do you think they will also bring RB Benson?? if they do wha will they be looking for in their 1st round draft? thanks.

Brooke Bentley:

Hi Texans fans! Welcome back to our Live Chat. We've got a lot to discuss today. Over the weekend, the Texans signed two free agents, defensive end Antonio Smith and quarterback Dan Orlovsky. Both players fill huge needs for the team, but the Texans aren't done yet. They still are looking to add depth before the draft. That being said, let the free agency and draft questions begin!

Hi Tony,

The Texans met with running back Cedric Benson on Monday. Benson would complement Steve Slaton, who would remain the starter. It has been reported that Cincinnati offered Benson a deal where he would get starting money. After being waived by the Bears last year because of legal reasons, Benson signed with the Bengals and had a career-high 747 yards rushing in 10 starts. The question remains: Does Benson want to be a starter and make more money in Cincinnati or does he want to return to his homestate of Texas and get a chance to flourish in one of the best offenses in the league with Houston? That question should be answered in the next few days.


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