Joe D - Houston, TX, US: Hey Nick- what happened to Connor Barwin? He looked so good in the preseason but I haven't seen much from him since. Thanks
Thanks for joining me for today's live chat. Before I get started, I wanted to remind everybody that Texans wide receiver Jacoby Jones will be signing autographs in the Go Texan Store at Reliant Stadium from 6-7 p.m. today. More than 250 people showed up last week for Owen Daniels, so I would encourage anybody thinking about arriving to come early.
Now, on to Joe D's question. Barwin hasn't had a sack, but he's been active. He recovered the fumble after Mario Williams' sack against Oakland, and he also deflected a pass earlier in the game. He's been close to the quarterback a few times and is going to have to continue to work on his technique, which is an area of development for him since he's only a second-year defensive end.
Ben Dobb - Houston, TX, US: Nick, It seemed like a good week for rookie LBs from USC... Cushing showed why the Texans made him their #1 draft pick and Clay Matthews of the Packers stripped Adrian Peterson and ran the ball back for a touchdown last night! How did the coaches evaluate Cushing's perfomance Sunday?
Ben, you clearly know where my college loyalties lie... I'm a USC guy, through and through. I'm sure Bruce Matthews was smiling on Monday night when he saw his nephew Clay III's score. As for Cushing, he's been nothing short of exceptional. Coach Kubiak said that it's obvious we're watching a special player in #56, and they only expect him to get better. He's led the team (or tied) for the lead in tackles in all four games so far.
Jarmell - houston, TX, US: will the texans win ten game this year
Nick Scurfield: If they do, it'll mean they have to win some tough games on the road (like they have coming up at Arizona and Cincinnati). They showed that they can do that in Week 2 at Tennessee. Nobody around here is satisfied with 8-8 the last two years, and the players and coaches know that the talent is in place for the team to take another step forward.
Lou - Clear lake, TX, US: What are your thoughts on the upcoming game and season.
Nick Scurfield: I think that it'll be great to see Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, two of the league's best and classiest receivers, in the same game. And Walter and Boldin aren't too shabby themselves. AZ is a very different team than Oakland offensively, and the Texans' young secondary will face a big test. Antonio Smith is playing against his former team, too, which bears watching. I think it'll be an entertaining game and, as Kubiak said yesterday, the Texans know they're going to have to probably score a lot of points to win.
Rett Wiginton - Clute, TX, US: Nick, how do you think our secondary will do again Arizona. They seem to be having trouble in coverage.
Thanks for the question, Rett. There have been a lot of different bodies in the secondary this season with all the injuries and inconsistency. They looked better against a struggling Raiders team last week. Kubiak was impressed with Glover Quin in his first start and said that Dunta has gotten better each week. McCain also made some nice plays in the game and has the speed to keep up with anyone. Reeves might be back as well. Doesn't get much tougher than Fitz, Boldin and Breaston, though.
jason - belton, TX, US: Cushing is a BEAST!!! any nicknames for him yet? i say beast, that's it. let's just call him BEAST.
I like your enthusiasm. Haven't heard any nicknames for Cushing yet, but some fans on the HT.com message boards have dubbed the LB trio of Cushing, Ryans and Diles the "50 boyz" (56, 59, 54). What do you think?
Steve Thomas - Clear Lake, TX, US: Hey Nick I know it's early but do you think Cushing could win defensive rookie of the year if he keeps this up
Nick Scurfield: Long way to go, but he'll have to be in the conversation if he keeps it up. Not even DeMeco Ryans led the Texans in tackles in his first four games like Cushing has. He's added a lot of fire to the second level of the Texans' defense.
William Bowman - FT Huachuca, AZ, US: Hey Nick I finally get to SEE my Texans in action this week when they play the Cardinals. Do you think the Texans offense will be as explosive as they were in the first few games? I hear a lot about Arizonas offense but not too much about the D. It would be nice to see an exciting show by Houston, instead of running the ball to get the study material.
Hope you enjoy the game. The Cardinals have been solid against the run but are 30th against the pass. Schaub is second in the AFC in passer rating and TD passes, and the Texans had a very explosive first half against the Raiders before committing to the run in the second half. It should be an entertaining game, and Kubiak said yesterday that the Texans are probably going to need to put some points on the board because of the talent AZ has on offense.
Mo - Bowie, MD, US: Pollard came in and played well. Do you think him knowing the defense had something to do with the D playing better? Him and Wilson should be a good pair for this year.
Nick Scurfield: Talked to Pollard after the game- he said his familiarity with Oakland helped but wasn't really that big of a deal in the game. Knowing David Gibbs has defintiely sped up his transition. Pollard seems very sharp and said he understands the game a lot more now that he's in his fourth year in the league, so it was just a matter of picking up new terminology. If he can play like he did last week, I agree with you - the Texans' safeties will be looking pretty good
Dave Webster - HOUSTON, TX, US: NICK, I THINK AMOBI LOOKS PRETTY GOOD LATELY WHAT ABOUT YOU
He showed up early in the last game with that big sack deep in Raiders territory. The entire front four played better - Kubiak said that all 8 guys they rotate in that d-line rotation were factors in the game.
Kirk - Pasadena, TX, US: Another Casey plug here... lol... Are we going to see him in any two TE sets this week? I saw him & Moats on one play this past game when Vonta went out for a play... Any remarks from the Coaching Staff if he is gonna get in this week?
Casey did a pretty good job as a fullback on that one play, going after the linebacker to help clear a hole for Moats. Vonta Leach complimented him for that during a radio appearance on SR610 this morning. Casey also made a tackle on special teams and recovered one of the Raiders' rolling kickoffs. Haven't heard anything about more PT for him on offense- that'll be up to Kubiak. Casey is going to keep plugging along either way.
Donald - Houston, TX, US: Although Akoye had a descent game yesterday, do you think he'll be looking for work next year?
Nick Scurfield: Amobi is only 22 and just two years removed from being the Texans' first-round pick. If he can continue to improve, and I believe he will, he could become a vital part of the Texans' defense as a pass-rushing threat from the inside.
David - Salado, TX, US: How are the texans going to get better in their seconedary, expecially against a good quarterback?
Continue to play sound assignment football. That was the key thing that plagued the defense in the first few weeks. If the front four continues to bring it on the pass rush like they did against the Raiders, that'll help a lot, too. But as baptisms by fire go, this is about as tough as it gets with all of the young guys and new faces still getting their footing and facing Kurt Warner and those receivers
CalTex - Houston, TX, US: Do you think Pollard complete the Texans defense?
Nick Scurfield: It's only been one game, but I think that he helped the Texans find some of the consistent play in the back end that they had been looking for. Kubiak liked how Pollard played on Sunday. He's a big hitter who brings an intensity that his teammates like to see.
Donald - Houston, TX, US: Fred Bennett seems to still be lost on the field any word on his performance by Coach Kubiak
Nick Scurfield: No, didn't hear anything about Fred after the game. Kubiak did say that Quin and McCain, the rookies, did a good job during the game. And Dunta Robinson is getting better by the week
John - Menifee, CA, US: Hey Nick. This Weeks game was GREAT loved the intensity. But do you think we can keep it up all season? Or are we lookin for another let down?
Nick Scurfield: It's the type of intensity we expected to see when Frank Bush took over as defensive coordinator. If the Texans can continue to get such solid play from their front 7, this defense is going to start climbing the rankings and fast. Ryans and Cushing are setting an aggressive tone for the D, and it's exciting to think about the possibilities on defense if the team can keep putting it together like that.
John - Menifee, CA, US: how is rookie TE Hill doing? and the other guys who are sick?
Nick Scurfield: Anthony is doing well. He called the Texans' doctor (Jim Muntz) yesterday to ask him if he could re-join the team. Eugene Wilson's health also has improved - didn't have any more fever as of yesterday. The Texans are closely monitoring the players and have emphasized to them to immediately see a team trainer if they feel any flu-like symptoms.
Sean R - Pearland, TX, US: After recording the first safety in 7 years in Texans history, and only the second in Texans history, did Cushing get a game ball?
Nick Scurfield: He got a lot of props, but the Texans' defensive players of the game were Antonio Smith and Mario Williams (decided by the coaches). I believe Frank Bush got the game ball.. well-deserved
Kirk - Pasadena, TX, US: If the Texans are up by a Wide Margin as we were this past game against the Raiders, Will the Texans just go into Run mode agaiin, or Keep our foot on thier throats & put the pedal to metal so to say?
Nick Scurfield: Kubiak said the reason he wanted to keep running the ball (41 times total in the game) was that he wanted to have more runs on film so that they could get a bigger sampling of plays to dissect what their problems have been. Kubiak's teams have a very high winning percentage when they run more than the opposition, so if the Texans can get their running game going, I'd expect to see them put the ball on teh ground a lot if they have a lead
James - Spring, TX, US: I thought that we would see more out of Barwin by now in getting presure on the qb's. How happy is Kubiak with his progress at this point?
Nick Scurfield: Barwin has made some plays - fumble recovery, pass deflections, tackles, QB pressures. Just hasn't quite gotten there yet. Kubaik said that all 8 of their defensive linemen were factors in the game on Sunday, and that includes Barwin
John - menifee, CA, US: Is Reeves Gunna be back this week?
Nick Scurfield: They hope so. He fractured his pinky in a fluke incident during a ball drill in practice last Wednesday. Reeves said last week that "it's just a pinky" and he'd be back. If he does return, Kubiak said that he's probably not going to be out there for 60 plays - they'll have to bring him back slowly in his first aciton of the season.
Michael - Houston, TX, US: Moats had a very impressive game. Is there any word to whether he will take anymore snaps?
Nick Scurfield: He provided a spark to the running game when he came in after Slaton's fumble. Kubiak was impressed, but he mentioned yesterday that Moats is deailng with a turf toe issue and is day-to-day
mike ram - san antonio, TX, US: hey nick, i was wondering who do u think we could see more blitzes from continuing on through the season, ryans or cushing. Seems like cushing has all the speed for a blitz, but ive seen more of demeco actually blitzing. Do u know if there are plans for who would be dialed up more?
Nick Scurfield: I don't, sorry. Both are capable and willing - I'd be happy seeing either chasing after the QB. Cushing was all over Russell in the last game, though, knocking him down several times in the backfield
Big dog - Houston, TX, US: Why dont they rotate Slaton,Moats, and Brown so we can have a three headed running attack?
Nick Scurfield: Kubiak has said they like Brown as a short-yardage runner, but Brown was sick this week and couldn't play (gastrointestinal problems). Moats got his fair share of carries while spelling Slaton and looked good doing it. He might have earned some more playing time, depending on how his turf toe injury shakes out
John - menifee, CA, US: Just wanna say thanks Nick! And Go Texans!!
Nick Scurfield: You're welcome. Thanks for your questions
Raymond Tasker - Beaumont, TX, US: Jacoby Jones still scares me sometimes on those punt returns but he makes a lot of big plays, too. Do you think he'll get more involved on offense since he's been doing so much on offense? I kind of wish we could save him just for kick returns! Thanks.
Las tquestion- and a perfect chance to remind everybody that Jacoby will be in the Go Texan Store tongiht from 6-7. Anyway, he has 3 TDs in the past 3 weeks, two on offense and one on the kick return. He's part of a deep and dangerous receiving corps that has to rank up there with arizona's among the best in the league. If the Texans can find a way to get the ball to him on offense, Jones has shown that he can make an impact on games.
Thanks to everyone for your great questions today. Have a great week, and I'll see you next Tuesday.