After an impressive OTAs, cornerback Glover Quin could be in store for a big rookie season.
Each week, HoustonTexans.com's Nick Scurfield will answer your questions about the Texans in his new Fan Mailbag feature. **Click here** to send in a question or comment, and check back next Tuesday for another installment of the mailbag.
protoTexans (Pasadena, Texas): I enjoyed last weeks postings of questions & really read the TE question & response hard. I think that the Texans would be smart to keep the 4 TE's in which ever way they can. I would like to see James Casey get the chance he deserves, but do not want to see him stuck in the long Snapper position, if he is kept for just Sp Teams, he would be wasted if he is just the snapper. Of course we have not even hit the field yet, but what do you see from Casey?
Nick Scurfield: Thanks for the feedback. It's apparent just by watching Casey run a route that he's an outstanding natural athlete, and he made some nice catches down the field during OTAs. But the real test will be when he puts on the pads in three days and has to hold up at the line of scrimmage in blocking and in fighting off linebackers to get into his routes. Though Casey got a look at long snapper during OTAs, he's far from a lock to take that job from Clark Harris (or Joel Dreessen, for that matter). If he ever did become the long snapper, it wouldn't keep him from playing tight end – it'd just be another way he could help the team.
Juan (Brownsville, Texas): So what are our chance on signing Dunta Robinson long term??
Nick Scurfield: The Texans and Robinson won't be able to discuss a long-term deal until after the regular season ends on Jan. 3, 2010. Both sides have expressed interest in making a long-term deal happen within the past year, but we won't really know until January.
Steve Z: Hey Nick, is there any player you think might surprise and have a breakout year in 09?
Nick Scurfield: Glover Quin. Nobody really knew who he was when the Texans drafted him in the fourth round this year. But he made a lot of plays on the ball during OTAs, and the Texans have question marks at corner. Quin has the size, speed and strength to potentially be the nickel corner as a rookie. As for a veteran, I'll say Matt Schaub. Some of the criticism he's taken in the past two seasons has been undue given the nature of his injuries. His per-game numbers are among the league's elite QBs, and he could put up some monster numbers in a healthy season in this offense.
SBond77 (Katy, Texas): What expectations, if any, are there for undrafted running back Aaron Foster out of Tenneesee? He has size, speed and strength. Could he fly in under the radar to make an impact? Or, will Chris Brown finally materialize back in form to give us that extra power we need in the running game?
Nick Scurfield: Arian Foster might have been a high draft pick if he had left college as a junior, but he struggled mightily as a senior. That brought on a lot of questions from talent evaluators. Foster has got a chip on his shoulder and looks the part, and if it turns out that his struggles were at all a byproduct of the turmoil at Tennessee last season, then look out. Brown has everything the Texans are looking for in a bigger back to go with Slaton. The only question is his durability.
Rick (unknown): Nick, I've been listening to the radio this week and heard that different people were coming up with nicknames for Steve Slaton. Last year I recorded all of the Texans games and each Sunday for the past 6 weeks I have been watching last years games. All I can say, after watching him disappear into a pile to only reappear for a large gain, is that the only name that comes to my mind is "Houdini".
Nick Scurfield: Nice one. There's also "Sleepy," which his teammates call him; "Speed" Slaton, which SportsRadio 610's Marc Vandermeer calls him; "Stevie Wonder," one of my personal favorites; and "ThaDoubleS," which Slaton goes by on Twitter. There was a **great discussion thread** on the Houston Texans Message Boards a few weeks ago about this very topic.
Gary P Alexander (Gridiron, Texas): Dear Nick, This starts our 8th year as season ticket holders, blue lot patrons and Texan fans. I appreciate your time in following up with my suggestion to improve the Texans Game Day experience. We are TEXANS, we need to embrace that fact. If the New England Patriots have people in costume as Patriots, then we need people dressed up like Texans: Sam Houston, William Travis, Davey Crockett, Jim Bowie...and the perfect scenario would be to use a REAL cannon when we score and when we kick off and have these characters firing such a cannon.
Nick Scurfield:That's a creative idea, and I forwarded it to our gameday entertainment folks to see what they think. They're always considering ways to make the Texans gameday experience one of the best in the NFL. If you have any ideas like this in the future, please direct them to email@example.com.
Chris (Austin): What do the rookies do from when they report to camp Sunday to when practice starts on Friday? Does the fact that Connor Barwin and Brian Cushing haven't signed their deals preclude them from being able to participate in the week's rookie events leading up to the start of camp? Thanks.
Nick Scurfield: The rookies actually arrived in Houston on Monday, flying in from all around the country at different times of the day. They're here this week to work out with Ray Wright in the weight room and out running on the field. It's a good time for the rookies to get their bodies readjusted to the heat and Wright's routine after most of them spent the last week or two at home. Some rookies also opt to come upstairs to the offices and talk with their position coaches, but it's not required. And no, it doesn't preclude Cushing and Barwin from being here during the week before camp. It's up to those players whether or not to report for these next few days. As far as their contracts go, general manager Rick Smith has gotten every rookie draft pick in by the end of Day 1 of camp since 2006. He and his staff are hard at work trying to get both of those guys signed. (CORRECTION: Since Barwin and Cushing were unsigned, they were, in fact, prohibited from being here until their deals were done. I mistakenly reported that they could be here because I knew that Cushing had flown in to Houston and was planning to work out at the stadium. I didn't realize until later in the week that our team had to ask him to leave because of legal issues in the event that he got injured or something else happened while he was working out before he had signed. My mistake.)