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Eric Winston Question & Answer

REZ - Lander, WY, US: Do the Texans need Michael Vick?

Eric Winston: Hi fans. I look forward to answering your questions. Thanks for joining me.

REZ, to answer your question, no. I think Michael Vick is a good quarterback, but we're all set there.

Eric - Austin, TX, US: The red zone. What the plan for improvement.

Eric Winston: I think the big thing in the red zone is everyone accepting more responsibility. The offensive line needs to open up bigger holes. We need to give Kyle Shanahan the ability to want to run it on second-and-goal at the eight-yard line. We need to do more things to put pressure on defenses and not resort to throwing it to Andre or our other receivers so often.

Randy - Klein, TX, US: Do any of the undrafted rookies look good in workouts so far?

Eric Winston: Randy, I think Arian Foster looks good. Jeremiah Johnson, I haven't gotten to see too much of him. Some of the rookie offensive linemen also look like they can play. It's all a matter of getting them with pads on and seeing what they can do in live situations.

kevin - houston, TX, US: Hey eric as a season ticket holder since day 1 i have seen many things from the texans. In year one i remember Steve Mckinney getting into it with a dallas cowgirl linemen cause he felt that the player took a cheap shot a Carr, who do u see on the team that has that same kind of mean streak.

Eric Winston: I think we all have that mean streak to a certain extent. That's the attitude of the entire offensive line. We've been protective of our skill guys and want to make sure that they stay healthy. We try to ensure that no one takes shots on those guys that they shouldn't take.

Cecil Cooper - Chicago, IL, US: Berkman's on the DL - we need some offense. Can I pencil you in at 1st base?

Eric Winston: Absolutely. I don't want to do two-a-days. I'd rather play a month of baseball:)

RT2 - Westwego, LA, US: What is your actual height and weight? I have seen you at 6'-7" 310lbs and 6'-5" 319lbs.

Eric Winston: Hi, as of today, I'm 6-7, 315 pounds.

Eric - Austin, TX, US: When Alex Gibbs joined the club we heard a lot about cut blocking? Not hearing much about it anymore. Is it a staple in the arsenal? When and how is it used?

Eric Winston: Yes, cut blocking is a mainstay in our arsenal. It's used 90 percent of the time on backside cut-offs. On the backside of run plays, you'll see us cutting people down to make sure that they can't pursue Steve Slaton.

Kevin - Houston, TX, US: has Duane Brown progressed as a pass blocker from last year from what you've seen so far? ps: vote eric winston for the pro bowl (you can never campaign too early) :)

Eric Winston: Absolutely. I think Duane got better every week last year. By the end of the year, he was holding his own against the best players in the league. Obviously, he still has room to improve. But if he keeps the same attitude, I think that he'll progress nicely.

Paul Kelley - Houston, TX, US: Added you to twitter yesterday and moved over here per twitter. How is the confidence in the pass protection heading into this season's camp?

Eric Winston: I think our confidence is pretty high. I think with the way our run game is set up, if we're solid in that and we can consistently run the ball, it will have a direct correlation to how well we pass protect. If we have to drop back 40 times, then we're not going to be very successful. If we're balanced, and we keep teams on their toes with the play-action, we'll be better pass blockers.

Mary - Houston, TX, US: What team is your favorite to play against?

Eric Winston: Mary, it's hard to pick my favorite team to play against, but the funnest game to play in is becoming the Tennessee game because it's turning into a rivalry and it's really physical. It's a college-type rivalry. And recently it's been going back-and-forth, so it's a lot of fun.

ray williams - houston, TX, US: WAs up eric with people doubting the offensive line what would it mean if steve slaton went over the thousand yards again this year

Eric Winston: Ray, that's always the goal, to have a 1,000-yard rusher. But we're shooting a little higher this year. We're shooting for the 1,500-yard rushing mark. Obviously, that depends on a lot of things. Hopefully, we'll be in enough games so that we can run the ball enough and that can happen.

Eric - League City, TX, US: Who are the most difficult defensive lineman you have played against?

Eric Winston: Jevon Kearse is really good. Derrick Burgess from Oakland also gives me problems. They both play in the same style of defense. They line up really wide and they're long athletes with good speed. They just gave me some problems last year.

Rudy - Rosenberg, TX, US: I am considering investing in a authentic Texan jersey. As you may or may not know it really is an investment. Is no. 73 a good LONG-TERM invesment? IF I do, I will wear it proudly as I consider you a gentleman and a great cometitor. Have a great season. P.S. If ever in Rosenberg e-mail me we'll burn some meat.

Eric Winston: Rudy, I never eat burnt meat. Always medium rare. So keep that in mind. Regarding your first question, I am keeping No. 73. Even though No. 74 is open now, I am staying with No. 73 for hopefully the rest of my pro career. My contract runs through 2013, so I should be here in Houston a while.

Richard - San Antonio, TX, US: Eric, We're all looking forward to next season! My question is, can we expect to see some of the "wildcat" offense from the Texans? We certainly seem to have the athleticism to be able to accomplish this. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.

Eric Winston: Richard, I wouldn't predict that. The "Wildcat" might be in the game plan for a few games, but I don't think that you'll see a steady stream of the "Wildcat" offense with us this year.

ronnie martinez - houston, TN, US: whats up eric man i am a big fan of yours and just was wondering could you give a prediction of what you all record would be for this season? and also what team team from this years schedule are you or even a couple teammates worried about if any?

Eric Winston: My prediction for this season is 16-0. I don't ever enter a game thinking that we're going to lose, so that's a difficult question to answer. As for your second question, there are no teams I'm worried about. But I always pay attention to the other teams in our division because we play them twice. If we can win those games, then it sets us up well for the rest of the schedule.

Christopher Brown - cypress, TX, US: With the idea of adding a game or two to the regular season being tossed around, I was wondering how you and players in general felt about that.Also,do you think you will be available after Friday's open practice as part of the autograph session.You are one of the players I am hoping is there.Thanks and have a great season.

Eric Winston: As long as we get another two checks, I don't think players will complain too much. It's a long season, but adding two games won't make a huge difference. We're all pretty sore already. With two extra regular season games, you'd probably have to raise the roster limits late in the year because it's just a game of attrition at that point.

Ryan Reyna - Portland, TX, US: Hey Mr. Winston, Most know the Texans' line is pretty much set, but do you think that maybe Antoine Caldwell might jump into the starting lineup come the start of the '09 season? Thanks

Eric Winston: Ryan, I don't know exactly if Antoine will be in the starting lineup this season, but he could definitely be a presence at the swing guard-center position and be a crucial backup if one of the guards or center goes down. Then again, if Antoine plays well enough, he could get in the starting lineup because the coaches always play the best players.

John - Spring, TX, US: What will be the largest challenge for the Texans this season?

Eric Winston: John, I think our biggest challenge will be starting fast. We haven't done that in the past two years and it really hurt us. If we can start fast, we can put ourselves in position to have a good second half of the season. We've proven that we can play well in the second half of the season.

Seth - monterrey, MX: I am Texans fan living in Mexico so is my link to the team. I really enjoy it when you give interviews, do mock drafts, basically I think you have a great camera presence. Have you given any thought to becoming a broadcaster after you retire? Hopefully you won't retire for YEARS to come, but I think you could have a future in that business. Thank you for all you hard work and effort for the team, and your continued contributions to this website.

Eric Winston: Seth, I'd love to do that once I'm retired. I'm trying to keep as many options open as I can. It's a lot of fun.

Jason - Tyler, TX, US: Are you satisfied with an 84 overall rating in the new upcoming Madden NFL 10, or do you think you were cheated a few points? And why in the world is Schaub only a 77??? The season preview and team rosters can be found here if you haven't already seen it:

Eric Winston: I think I was cheated:) I have no idea why Schaub is a 77. You'd think he'd be in the mid-80s, at least.

Jeff Asna - Sugar Land, TX, US: Eric, you have played with some amazing talent throughout your football life, ranging from high school ball in Midland, college ball at Miami, and now with a star-studded cast here with the Texans. Where does this 2009 Texans squad rank among these teams?

Eric Winston: Hey fans, I have time for a few more questions. Thanks for sending in all of the questions.

I think the feelings I have entering this season with the Texans are a lot like the feelings I felt after my freshman year at Miami when we went to the national championship. It's the same mindset. Everyone on our team is eager to prove that we're good. We just want to prove how good we think we can be.

Cheyenne Shank - Willard, OH, US: How do you feel with Houston bringing in Rex Grossman?

Eric Winston: I thought it was a good idea to bring Rex in. Last year, I think we wanted to keep three quarterbacks, but nobody stepped to the plate and showed that they deserved that No. 3 spot. I think keeping three quarterbacks is the way to go. I don't think you can have enough quality backups. If Rex proves that he's one of the best 53 players on the team, I don't think there's anything bad about keeping him on the roster.

Danetta Beaushaw - Houston, TX, US: What would you like the every day fan to really understand about your position and its challenges and how you play the game?

Eric Winston: I have time to answer one more question after this...

Danetta, check out my blog;/1248897701283/) because I get into the details of my position in one of my recent posts.

Robert - Houston, TX, US: Mr. Winston, I heard somewhere that you were with Sage when he was informed of his trade to the Vikings. My question is are you and your offensive close with Matt? What do you guys do off the field to help build chemistry among the group. Thanks! Can't wait for the upcoming season!! Robert

Eric Winston: Thanks for participating in the live chat. This is my last question.

As far as the Sage trade, I heard about that and then saw him later in the day when it all went down.

In terms of Matt, I think players on the team are just as close with Matt as we were with Sage. Both of them are good leaders and great guys.

Off the field, Matt and I play golf a bunch and we hang out. So we have good chemistry.

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