The Texans released strong safety Guss Scott on Nov. 21, five days before facing the New York Jets. On Nov. 24, the Jets signed Scott to their active roster. A few days after the game – a 26-11 win by the Jets – Scott was released by New York on Nov. 29.
This week, the Patriots signed Scott to their practice squad on Dec. 12, five days before facing the Texans. We'll find out next week, after this Sunday's game, if Scott suffers a similar fate as he did in New York.
Granted, Scott did play for the Patriots under Bill Belichick and current Jets head coach Eric Mangini last year, while Mangini was the defensive coordinator. So that familiarity could be one reason why both teams signed him to their roster. But the timing of the transactions still raises some questions, particularly if Scott is waived next week.
NFL teams require their players to turn in their playbooks when they get released to prevent any possibility of information leaks. But that still doesn't ensure that players forget everything they've learned. In all honesty, there's no way for teams to prevent players from sharing information about their former team to their current employers.
So has Scott shared information about the Texans to the Jets or Patriots? I'll probably never know, and I don't want to speculate on what information he could provide. All I'll say is that the NFL is an extremely competitive business, and it never ceases to amaze me the lengths some teams will go in order to gain a competitive edge.
Last week, there was some controversy surrounding the Miami Dolphins because of tapes they allegedly purchased to study the New England Patriots' cadence. The NFL ruled that the Dolphins did nothing illegal, and the story lost its legs. Nevertheless, the Dolphins shut out New England 21-0, which suggests that Miami's defense was on top of its game.
There's other ways for teams to gain an advantage on their opponents. For example, New England rarely divulges the extent of their injuries. Belichick is extremely vague with reporters regarding injuries to his roster, and that's his prerogative. But people have complained in the past that the Patriots do abuse the intent of the injury report by listing so many players as questionable (50-50 chance of playing). For the record, New England has 10 players listed as questionable on their injury report this week.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak doesn't have an issue with the way the Patriots handle their business. In fact, he admires how they operate. But Kubiak does admit that it's very difficult to prepare for New England because of how close the team keeps its cards to its vest.
In my opinion, this behind-the-scenes drama only adds to the suspense of the game, so I have no qualms about teams doing everything in their power to prepare themselves for a game. As long as they don't break the rules, then it's fair game. If I were a coach, I might employ some of the same tactics.
Pro Bowl voting: Players and coaches voted for the Pro Bowl this week, and I did everything in my power to find out who people on the Texans voted for on other teams. This is what I got.
The Texans' defensive ends voted for Chargers rookie tackle Marcus McNeill and Baltimore tackle Jonathan Ogden. The Texans' defensive tackles voted for Chargers guard Kris Dielman and Kansas City Chiefs guard Brian Waters.
The Texans' guards and centers voted for Chargers nose tackle Jamal Williams among others.
I know this is a very incomplete list. If I hear anything else, I'll pass it along.
Travel: I think I speak for a lot of people on the Texans in saying that I'm glad this is our last road trip.
Since Oct. 14, we have traveled to Dallas, Tennessee, Jacksonville, Oakland and New York (twice). We have had only three home games in that stretch, and this week we play at New England. That's a lot of air travel, and I know many members of the team are looking forward to closing out the 2006 slate at home in front of our fans.