Nick Scurfield (1:06:32PM): Sorry for the delay. I got caught up at a charity event near downtown sponsored by Andre Johnson, DeMeco Ryans and Dunta Robinson in conjunction with H-E-B. Great event- they gave full Thanksgiving meals to 1,000 needy families. Anyway, on to the live chat...
John Bailey - Pflugerville, TX, US: Hey Nick, Is it looking like Casey or Hill will overtake the TE spot over Joel Dreesen? Also, what are the Texans doing to get started early rather than later in the games on offense?
Nick Scurfield (1:08:10PM): Dreessen is the starter- many Texans players regard him as the most underrated player on the team. Hill played in his first game against Indy, and the coaches were pleased with the 6-7 snaps he gave them on offense. Kubiak said yesterday that when Casey returns from his injury, he's going to become a big part of what the team is doing.
Lady Smith - Missouri City, TX, US: Nick, I believe the Texans have a good chance at breaking the Titans 3 in a row winning streak, especially with the Texans defense stopping Chris Johnson. However, the Titans Defense seems to have a strategy of getting everybody to the ball. How will the Texans prevent turnovers and loose balls against the Titans especially in the 4th quarter, which seems to be the quarter in which the Titans thrive and the quarter the Texans appear to have issues? Thanks.
Nick Scurfield (1:09:57PM): The Texans have actually outscored their opponents by 14 points in the 4th quarter over the course of the 2009 season. But you're right about the turnovers being an issue- heading into the bye week, Kubiak said that was his biggest concern. You can bet they'll be emphasizing it in meetings and practice this week.
Will - Bellaire, TX, US: Nick, I read on Pro Football Talk that today is the NFL's deadline to choose whether or not they'll replace the Steelers-Baltimore game as Week 12's NBC Sunday Night Game. What's the status of that, and will the Texans-Colts game be shifted to Primetime? PFT said that the game was not protected by the networks so it could be a possibility.
Nick Scurfield (1:11:06PM): According to PFT, there was no change for the primetime game in Week 12.
Chris Curtsinger - Lebanon Junction, KY, US: Who will get the majority of the carries and passes this weekend, Moats or Slaton? I have both of them on my fantasy team and I am wondering which one to play. Also do you think there might be enough offense to go around that I could play both.
Nick Scurfield (2:09:57PM): If you played them both in the Texans' last game, they both would've helped since both scored a touchdown. Wish I could tell you who'll play more, but Kubiak said today he hadn't decided on a starter... before the bye, he said he wanted to see how they responded in practice coming off the bye. Moats got most of the carries against Indy, while Slaton was used primarily in a third-down back role.
Sam - Houston, TX, US: Mario Williams' nagging shoulder injury has really seemed to put a damper on his first half performance, so did the bye week give him a chance to finally get that injury up to 100%?
Nick Scurfield (1:16:02PM): One of the great things about Mario is that he's proven he'll play through pain and be out there for his teammates. Still leads the Texans with 4.0 sacks despite the shoulder injury. According to what Kubiak said yesterday, the bye did help Williams (along with Cushing and just about everybody on the team), although Williams already was starting to practice more before the bye.
Blake - Cypress, TX, US: Who will get the carries this upcoming Monday night for the Texans. Slaton or Moats
Nick Scurfield (2:08:50PM): That's anybody's guess at this point. Moats has gotten almost all of the Texans' carries since Slaton's fumble at Buffalo, but Slaton was still involved in the game plan against Indy. Both players are working hard every day in practice to show the coaches they can help the team. Don't forget about Chris Brown, too - Kubiak repeatedly has said he plans to play all three backs.
Roger - St. Cloud, MN, US: Hey, do you know what the texans are planning to do with their RB's? Slaton is the future and is really good, but Moats he has been around never really got a shot and showed something. Thanks for your time.
Nick Scurfield (1:19:43PM): Getting a lot of questions about this- please see above answers. Moats earned more playing time at Indy because of the way he ran at Buffalo, while Kubiak has said the team needs Slaton to be successful. How it plays out going forward, we'll see.
Ross - Houston, TX, US: What were some of the cooler trips or vacations that Texans players went on during their time off last week? I saw Duane Brown's tweets from the Pacquiao-Cotto fight, looked like that would be hard to beat!
Nick Scurfield (2:12:52PM): Yeah- Duane Brown was Tweeting from Vegas all week. The guys were all over the place; talked to more than a few who stayed in town and just relaxed. As for the coolest trip, I'll take a biased viewpoint and say that the honor goes to Brian Cushing and Shaun Cody, who both went to LA and saw USC (my alma mater) this weekend. However, I will not be taking any questions on the USC-Stanford game- it's a sore spot.
Steve - Pearland, TX, US: Will the Texans be wearing their battle red jerseys for the monday night game?
Nick Scurfield (1:25:32PM): You bet. This will be the second and final time the Texans don their red-on-red uniforms this season. Always makes for a great atmosphere at Reliant. Check out our uniform combinations for the enitre season: /gameday/2009UniformCombinations.asp
Kyle - Katy, TX, US: Nick, What will the Texans do to make sure that Vince Young doesn't beat them with his legs Monday night? The replays of his overtime run to win the game in 2006 still gives me nightmares.
Nick Scurfield (2:10:29PM): You're not alone on that one. A reporter asked DeMeco Ryans about that play yesterday, and Ryans said he was trying to forget about it. But this is a different team, and the Titans are obviously a lot different now with Chris Johnson now on the roster. Young and Johnson are a couple of potent runners- particularly Johnson, who leads the league in rushing.
Colton - The Woodlands, TX, US: Nick, How does the team's practice schedule change when they're having a Monday night home game compared to just a standard sunday day homegame?
Nick Scurfield (2:13:18PM): This week is particularly different because the Texans are just coming off of a bye, too. They practiced Monday and today, have tomorrow to rest and then will begin focusing on the Titans on Thursday. The Texans also will probably have more of a full practice on Saturday instead of the usual walk-through.
Chris - Houston, TX, US: With the Bengals seemingly on path to win the AFC North outright and our head-to-head tiebreaker over them less relevant in terms of the Wild Card picture, what are some of the other key tiebreakers Texans fans need to think about that will determine who could get a spot between the Texans and other AFC teams who we won't play this year (Steelers, Chargers, Broncos)?
Nick Scurfield (1:36:38PM): If you're looking at the Wild Card, the two tie-breakers that come after head-to-head are winning percentage within conference, followed by winning percentage in common games (minimum of 4). If the teams are in the same division, then it goes head-to-head, division record, common games, conference record.
Rob - Houston, TX, US: I saw that Andre Johnson is #1 in Pro Bowl votes for WRs...is this the kind of sign that he's finally being recognized nationally as the best WR in football?
Nick Scurfield (1:41:01PM): I'd say so. He's actually #2 among NFL WRs, though- #1 in the AFC, while Larry Fitzgerald is #1 in the NFC and #1 overall among WRs. Andre is the #9 vote-getter among all NFL players right now. Pretty nice to see him getting some much-derserved recognition.
Nick Scurfield (2:13:37PM): I'll have a blog post up after the chat looking at some of the top vote-getters, by the way. The NFL just sent out a release to all teams this afternoon.
Jim Harbaugh - Palo Alto, CA, US: Nick, Do you think Stanford has eclipsed USC in terms of talent? Best, Jim Harbaugh Stanford Head Football Coach
Nick Scurfield (1:43:40PM): Ouch. I have a really hard time posting this in the chat, but I'll let it go. Whoever that came from- good one.
Joseph J. - TX, Houston: Nick, what happened to Jacoby Jones over the bye week? He's been a pleasant surprise for us this year (in my opinion, he's one of our most improved players) but now I saw yesterday that coach Kubiak said he's hurt. Is he going to play?
Nick Scurfield (1:49:00PM): Jones has swelling in his calf that actually stems from something that happened in the Colts game. He was able to practice last Tuesday, so the team thought he was OK, but something happened over the course of his few days at home over the bye that caused some swelling. Kubiak said it's gotten worse over the last couple of days, but they're keeping their fingers crossed that he'll be able to play.
Raging Bull - US: NICK- When are the Texans going to give Chris Henry the ball!! I think he could be the answer in short-yardage situations
Nick Scurfield (2:15:33PM): Well, Kubiak today said that between the team's two practice squad backs, Arian Foster would be the one who probably would get a look first. They picked Foster's reps up a little bit today, working four guys in practice in the RB rotation. They like the way Foster played on special teams in the preseason.
Ron - TX, Pasadena: what's the latest on james casey's injury
Nick Scurfield (2:00:34PM): Kubiak said that if he can make it out of the first two practices this week healthy, there'll probably be a good chance he's ready to go on Monday. They'll have to evaluate him after today's practice. Casey, who has had his knee scoped before and knows what that recovery process is like, is confident that he will be able to play
Mike C. - UH computer lab, TX, US: I believe Brian Cushing has been nominated 3 times for Defensive player of the week and actually received the honors twice allready this year. What do you think his chances are for Rookie of the Year or defensive rookie of the year or whatever, and who is his competition at this point in the season?
Nick Scurfield (2:14:32PM): Cushing is the first rookie to win two weekly NFL honors like that in a season since Adrian Peterson, who was a consensus rookie of the year pick in 2007. His main competition is Bills safety Jairus Byrd, who has 8 INTs this season. But if Cushing keeps up what he's doing, he'll defintiely be in that conversation. Check out this podcast interview I did with Vic Carucci of NFL.com last week; we discussed this topic in the latter part of the segment: http://cdn3.libsyn.com/houstontexans/111009Carucci32K.mp3?nvb=20091117195149&nva=20091118200149&t=047e6fccbd5e0e47ef236
Nick Scurfield (2:08:08PM): That'll do it for my live chat today. Thanks for joining, and don't forget to wear Battle Red next Monday night when the Texans take on the Titans. Have a nice week.