Here's my first blog installment of the Fan Mailbag. I'll be doing this every Friday, same time (more or less), same place.
Thanks to all who sent in questions, and please direct any future queries to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter.com/NickScurfield.
Without further ado:
Q (from Zanth in Houston): Howdy Nick, I'm just wondering what the players and/or staff is doing to embrace the upcoming Battle Red Day this Sunday against the Jaguars. Thanks.
A (from me, also in Houston):Just about every player that I've talked to loves the red uniforms. I talked to DeMeco Ryans about them for a feature that'll be in the *Gameday *magazine on Sunday, and he said there's a different atmosphere in the stadium when they have the all red on. "The fans are hyped up a lot, and as players, we're definitely on another level when we put it on," he said. I can't give too much more away from my feature, but the players know that they have a history of playing well in Battle Red. And the players got red cleats that they practiced in on Friday and will wear Sunday.
Q (Kevin, parts unknown):Nick- Is there a printable 2009 schedule somewhere on HT.com? I remember printing one off last year but cannot find this year's. Thanks
A (me again):Check the Fan Zone homepage and click on any of the three Wallpapers in the middle of the page. Or, on the schedule page, scroll down to the bottom and click on the "Printer-Friendly" option just below the StubHub logo.
Q (Andy, Lubbock):Do you think Mario Williams will be able to get a bunch of sacks against the Jaguars' rookie tackles?
A: Well, the Jags gave up four sacks last week against Arizona after allowing only one the week before. Granted, the Cardinals had a huge lead for most of that game so the Jags passed 43 times, but watch out for Mario if the Texans can get a lead – the Jags are the only team in the league with two starting rookie tackles. The way I look at it is that they've given up 2.5 sacks per game; Williams accounted for almost 50 percent of the Texans' sacks over the past two seasons; and Williams had three sacks against them in 2008. If the Jags give up their average and Mario gets his average, he's due for at least one.
Q (Phil, Bellaire):Nick- what are the Texans going to do to stop the run?? And please don't just say 8 man fronts… that scares me w our secondary. But seriously… I was pulling my hair out on Chris Johnson's 91yard touchdown run!
A: Kubiak said earlier this week that putting more guys near the line of scrimmage could be a possibility, but since that's not what you want to hear, here's some good news: The biggest thing they can do to eliminate the big plays is to communicate better and stay on their assignments. There was a blown assignment on each of Johnson's three long TDs in Week 2. And to improve the Texans' communication and preparedness, Kubiak has had the players practice with crowd noise all week – even though this is a home game coming up. Players seemed to respond well to it, so we'll see if it carries over to the field on Sunday.
Q (Jay, Beaumont):Nick I have Kevin Walter on my fantasy team and he's been killing me, my other receivers are trash and I need him healthy! Tell me he's playing this week, please…