Nick Scurfield (1:02:19PM): Welcome to today's live chat. I'll be here for about an hour, and probably a few minutes longer. Before I get started, just wanted to remind everybody that rookie linebacker Brian Cushing will be at the Go Texan Store to sign autographs from 6-7 p.m. tonight. If you're interested in coming to meet him, I'd recommend arriving before 6:45 p.m. as we're expecting a long line today.
Sam R.Allen - Freeport, TX, US: When Schaub is having bad game why doesn't Coach Kubiak pull him out the game.
Nick Scurfield (2:20:11PM): Aside from the Jets game, which Schaub played in with a bum ankle, he hasn't had a bad game this season. Schaub leads the league in touchdown passes and passing yards and already has tied the Texans single-season touchdown passes record through just seven games. He's playing as well as he ever has.
Daniel Marzella - Houston, TX, US: I have been a die hard texans fan since day 1. If you live in Houston then why the heck wouldn't you cheer on your team. I have been an Owen Daniels fan since last year and have been looking for a Premier Owen Daniels jersey. When are the Texans/NFL shop going to start selling PREMIER Owen Daniels jersey. I want one damn'it and I gurantee you I am not the only Texan Fan that wants one of these bad boys. So could you make them start selling PREMIER Owen Daniels jerseys please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Nick Scurfield (1:06:21PM): From my understanding, the Go Texan Store sells only replica jerseys. You can order a personalized jersey that is about the equivalent of a Premier jersey for $150, or so I'm told. But if you want to see a particular player's jersey on sale, I'd recommend e-mailing email@example.com.
Rick - Lufkin, TX, US: With Owen Daniels having such a great year. Are the Texans going to sign him to a multi-year deal(like they should)?
Nick Scurfield (2:20:29PM): Rick Smith's policy generally has been not to negotiate contracts during the season. Daniels is playing as well as any tight end in the league right now and has stated a desire to be in Houston in the past. He said on a radio show today that he won't let his contract be a distraction.
Nate - Stockton, CA, US: Hey Nick do notice when we come out of the locker room we seem to relax to much and let teams come back? Do u think we need to take halftime at the goal post like high school so we can keep the focus on controlling the field for 75mins? Thanks, Texan$ we swept the bay all my neihbors hate me now. GO TEXAN$!
Nick Scurfield (2:21:11PM): Hey, Nate. The Texans have struggled to put together a consistent 60 minutes all season. Sometimes, they're cold in the first half and on fire in the second, and sometimes it's the other way around. They shut out the Bengals in the 2nd half two weeks ago in what was their most complete game of the season. I doubt we'll see them on the field during halftime, though... that time is short and precious for making adjustments. And don't let the Stockton locals get to you - enjoy your team's hard-earned victories over Oakland and SF
Brad - Houston, TX, US: Hey Nick. Will Moats ever see more play time? I believe he is a perfect mixture between Slaton and Brown. Why not bring him in more often to help Slaton out? Slaton seems to be playing better this season after sitting on the bench for a few plays.
Nick Scurfield (1:13:25PM): Brad- Moats continues to plug away during practice. He's gotten PT on special teams lately, but the Texans appear to be riding Slaton and Brown as their 1-2 RB punch for now. Slaton has 5 TDs in the last four games but has to protect the ball better, and Brown has had some nice runs in both of the last two games.
Jeff Otto - Eagle Pass, TX, US: Nick, With the Redskins release of Anthony Alridge are the Texans looking at bringing him back in or is Chris Henry filling that position on the Practice Squad.
Nick Scurfield (1:15:09PM): I'd have to defer to Rick Smith on that one, but Chris Henry has had some nice practices since arriving. Haven't heard anything about Quick-6 coming back to Houston. Arian Foster and Henry are the practice squad RBs for now.
Nate - Stockton, CA, US: Do you think our secondary is ready for the cold weather & more so the running game of this cold natured hungry bills teams? As a fan im looking at the colts already.My TEXAN$ Are 6&3 at the bye! GO TEXAN$!
Nick Scurfield (1:16:46PM): The Texans' defense was the best in the league against the run in the month of October. Didn't allow a single team to run for more than 60 yards. Quite a turnaround from the start of the season. This team has shown it can win in cold weather already with victories at Cincy 2 weeks ago and at Green Bay late in the '08 season.
Sam - Arlington, TX, US: Nick, do you know who will be offciating the game on Sunday in Buffalo?
Nick Scurfield (1:18:05PM): I don't off the top of my head, sorry. Shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll post it in my blog.
Jordan - Houston, TX, US: The Texans screen game has been flawless the last 2 weeks. Do you think this success is attributed to the Texans blocking scheme or Slatons experience running screens in college?
Nick Scurfield (1:19:58PM): Little bit of both. The Texans have an athletic offensive line, so guys like Duane Brown and Chris Myers are especially adept at getting out wide or down the field to make blocks. And Slaton is so dangerous and elusive in space that if he gets some room to run, watch out.
Charles - Channelview, TX, US: It seems team are all passing more than running(Teans, steelers, etc). Is it a problem with the teams or are defences just more geared to run stopping. Since we have a problem running the ball, do you think there will be a chance that we see a Wishbone / "Wild Cat" type Goal Line Offence. Using James Casey, Vonta Leech, and Chris Brown in the backfield?
Nick Scurfield (1:23:33PM): It does seem like the league is shifting to more pass-heavy offenses. Lot of quarterbacks putting up huge numbers this season. That's already happened in the college game where spread offenses are more and more commonplace, so maybe it's somewhat of an extension of that. But I don't think it's a problem - a team will take a win any way it can get it. The Texans haven't run much of the Wildcat, and with the success the offense has had, I would think they'll keep the status quo unless something needs to change.
Frank - Round Rock, TX, US: I agree with Daniel(Houston), Owen Daniels is underrated. I've been wanting an Owen Daniels Jersey for awhile now.
Nick Scurfield (1:24:42PM): Please pass along your comments to email@example.com. Daniels looks like he's on his way to another Pro Bowl season - leads all TEs in receiving yards and is second in touchdowns and receptions.
Baron Schultz - Arlington,my home is Katy, TX, US: Why does Kyle Shanahan not run with Vonta Leach, with a huge back like that and someone who seems to have good hands when he catches the ball, it seems like in those short yardage and goal line situations they could power him through there. So why do they not run Vonta Leach in short yardage and goal line situations?
Nick Scurfield (1:26:03PM): Leach only has a few carries in his entire career. The Texans prefer to use him as a punishing lead blocker and receiver out of the backfield. I seem to get questions about him every week, though, so I'll try to ask one of the coaches this week so that you're not just hearing it from me.
Garrett - League City, TX, US: Hey do you know anything about the injury status for Andre Johnson and will he be playing next week against the Bills.
Nick Scurfield (1:27:55PM): Andre has a lung contusion and will be listed as day-to-day this week. They're hopeful that he can play against the Bills. Team doctors will examine him each day with tests before making a decision.
Matthew - Katy, TX, US: I know this is early...but what position due you see us pursuing in the draft? I wish Rick Smith would do what ever it took to take the best DB out of the draft! Were gonna make the playoffs so were going to have to trade down too get a good pick!
Nick Scurfield (1:30:05PM): Haha... I hope you're right. It's too early to say, but Smith and Co. have developed a strong track record in the draft and shown that they can get good value even in the latter picks of the first round, like when they traded back to No. 26 and got Duane Brown last year. Brown has been playing as well as any Texans OL this season. Safety was looking like a position the Texans might need to address, but Bernard Pollard has provided a huge boon to the defense and is only 24 years old.
CalTex - Houston, TX, US: Not so much a question, but a favor I need you to do for me. Tell the team that NO ONE CAN BEAT THEM!!! and play with that attitude!!!, also tell Chris Brown to get mean and run lower and harder and hold on to the ball!!!
Nick Scurfield (1:31:19PM): I'll pass it along to some players. The team is developing more confidence, more swagger as the season goes along. Winning breeds that. And Brown has done a solid job in the last 2 weeks.
Jimmy Stratta - Guelph, CA: First off, I just need to express my excitement for the Texans being in Buffalo this coming Sunday!! Being a die hard Texans fan is hard when you're up in Canada, but this is the closest stadium to us and I'm going to be 7 rows behind the endzone!! CAN'T WAIT!!! On that note, how do you think the Texans are preparing for the game on Sunday? Weather can get quite nasty in Buffalo (especially the wind) and it seems like the throwing game is most consistent part of the offense right now. Is coach Kubiak preparing for more of a running game this week or will they stick to screen passes to combat the wind?
Nick Scurfield (1:33:44PM): Glad to know we'll have some fans up there. The Texans won't start practicing for Buffalo until tomorrow, so can't say just yet. But Kubiak said yesterday that he played many times at Buffalo where you could only throw for two quarters when the wind is at your back. With 20 mph wind in the weekend forecast, they might have to look to the running game more. But Schaub has been excellent on the road this season - even better than he's been at home - so they'll have plenty of confidence in him if and when he does throw
Bill - Alvin, TX, US: Is would seem that we would have more sacs than we do. I don't think the O-lines we have played are anything special. Are we just getting there to slow or is it this basic defence we are running?
Nick Scurfield (2:21:35PM): They had 2 sacks last week against SF in the first quarter after recording 6 all season. Maybe that's the start of a turnaround. But even if the numbers aren't there, the coaches are happy with the improved pass rush in recent weeks. Guys like Antonio Smith, Okoye and Connor Barwin and even Shaun Cody this past week are making the quarterback move around on a pretty consistent basis
Tarrej - Missouri City, TX, US: When will Chris Henry touch the field? He and Slaton would make a dangerous duo. He is the heavier back to complement Slaton and churn out the short yardage. James Casey can run they can use him from the Fb position for short yardage.
Nick Scurfield (1:39:30PM): Henry's still on the practice squad, so he wouldn't see any action unless he gets called up and another player gets moved off the roster. Casey is the backup FB to Vonta Leach - he's gotten a few snaps there during the season and could give the offense some different looks with his versatility. But if I were Kyle Shanahan, I'd have a hard time taking out Leach in short-yardage situations because he's such a good blocker.
Bob - Houston, TX, US: Hey do you know why the texans never run any trick plays, it seems like when we run the ball its so predictable and i think thats why Steve Slaton having a hard time running the ball.
Nick Scurfield (1:42:02PM): We've run some tosses to Kevin Walter this season, which involved at least a litlte bit of trickery. The Texans' offense has been so successful in the past couple of years that I don't think the trick plays are necessary. But you're right in that the running game has to get better. Expect the blocking to improve as Studdard and White/Caldwell get more playing time at the guard spots.
Ben Maldonado - Webster, TX, US: First of all just want to say this IS the season and WE are going to the playoffs. Do you think there is anything that can be done to improve Slaton's fumble-itis? He is a tremendous player and in my opinion its not completely his fault for the lack of running yards but is there anything can be done for his sliperry hand? Oh yeah and can you give me free Texans tickets? =)
Nick Scurfield (1:45:45PM): Thanks for the question. Kubiak had everybody pulling at the ball from Slaton during practice last week. Unfortunately, he still lost a fumble in the 49ers game. Kubiak said they believe in him and that the team will go as far as Steve will take them. One of the things they're worried about is that Slaton will get a reputation as a fumbler and other teams will try to strip him even more. The coaches will going to continue to work with Slaton on it during practice, and he's going to continue to focus on getting 2 hands on the ball and holding on to it at all times.
David - Humble, TX, US: I have to give credit to Alex Smith and Vernon Davis for exposing the Texans zone scheme on Sunday. However, it seems the Texans' offensive playcalling was a bit pedestrian in the second half. Do you think Shanny was a little out of sorts with a big lead and wasn't sure what to call? I thought Chris Brown didn't get nearly the touches he needed to put the the game away earlier. Your thoughts?
Nick Scurfield (1:47:55PM): I think the Texans couldn't have played a better first half, save for that last possession. The 49ers came out in the second half and put them on the ropes, but the Texans made the plays at the end to win the game. Whether it's coaching or playing, the Texans just have to figure out how to consistently come out at the level they're capable of for a full 60 minutes.
TD - Houston, TX, US: Where can we find video from the outstanding show the Marines put on at halftime?
Nick Scurfield (1:49:45PM): It was an outstanding tribute on Salute to the Military day. We have a video of the pregame festivities on the Texans TV homepage, and there are photos of the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon on HoustonTexans.com as well. If we can track down video of the halftime performance, we'll put it up on our website.
john - League City, TX, US: Nick, everyone is raving that this has been DeMeco's best season. Why? What is he doing so differently? I just see him being the same beast he usually is. How has he been doing in coverage? Why doesnt he get more sacks?
Nick Scurfield (2:23:02PM): Kubiak has said several times that Cushing has pushed DeMeco's game to another level. DeMeco loves the intensity that Cushing plays with right next to him, and he's been a more firey player on the field than in the past. The leadership that he provides on defense cannot be overstated, and it's easy to forget that he's only a fourth year player.
Pete - Houston, TX, US: Do you get the feeling that the Texans are completely focused on this week's game, or is there a sense of anticipation to face the Colts on Nov. 8? I know for me, I'm already assuming a W this week and am salivating at the thought of two very confident teams squaring off for an inner division match up!
Nick Scurfield (2:23:44PM): The players have their day off today, but when they come back to work tomorrow, they'll be 100 percent focused on Buffalo. It's easy for the rest of us to look ahead, but so much goes into their game plan each week and the games demand so much of them physically that they can't do anything but focus on the opponent at hand. Buffalo has won their last two against two very talented teams, and the Texans will have to play well in a hostile environment to come out with the win.
Michael Garcia - Houston, TX, US: The Texans are playing with mad intensity right now. Im not going to say flawless football, but they have cut out those big play mistakes. What either in the locker room or at practice has seem to have sparked this change?
Nick Scurfield (1:58:06PM): The biggest thing is that the players have gotten better at sticking to their assigments. Missed assignments had a big part in those big touchdown rusn earlier in the season. The improvement can be attributed to some new players (Pollard, Quin, etc.) getting time on defense and guys like Cushing, Dunta and the rest gelling together under Frank Bush in his first season as coordinator
Tarrej - missouri city, TX, US: With Anthony Hill not being used much this year, what are the odds Gibbs will move him to tackle? The O-line is short bodies and face it not playing well in the running department. Buffalo had success with Jason Peters doing it, he made the pro bowl as a rookie and was signed away by Philly. The tight end position is for the most part closed with the way Owen is playing, Dreesen's a suitable second and Casey's got a lot of potential to play there. No room left for Hill. They drafted him to block anyway, Duane can take over for Chester because the Texans can't run to the left without Pitts. Duane's run blocking leaves something to be desired eventhough his pass blocking has improved. Hey Duane used to be a tight end.
Nick Scurfield (1:59:50PM): Interesting idea, but it'd be a lot to ask of a rookie who hasn't played much at all in the NFL to switch positions mid-season. Also, Duane Brown and Eric Winston look like they could be the Texans' bookend tackles for years to come. Give Hill some time - he was about as good a run-blocking tight end as there was in this year's draft.
Jordan - Houston, TX, US: Vernon Davis shredded our defense in the second half against the 49ers. I know its one game at a time but the Texans will be matched up against Peyton manning and Dallas Clark in 2 weeks. If Dunta Robinson locks up Reggie Wayne, will the interior D be able to contain Dallas Clark?
Nick Scurfield (2:02:31PM): The Texans were playing quarters coverage on those TDs, and Kubiak said the linebackers and safeties both have responsibility for what happened. The Texans know the Colts will be salivating over that when they watch the film, and it's something they'll have to work on during practice. The quarterback Alex Smith caught the Texans off guard, though - the players said they hadn't studied film on him since Hill had been the starter.
Tarrej - Missouri City, TX, US: What's keeping Adibi from taking the weakside Lb job? Is McCain or Molden the eventual starting corner oppostie D-rob? Why did Pollard replace Barber? Can Quin take over for Wilson @ safety? Would Troy Nolan be starting if he wasn't hurt? And in your opinion what position to the Texans need to address ASAP being only 7 weeks into the season?
Nick Scurfield (2:24:17PM): Zac Diles won the weakside starting job in camp. He's played well this year, though his numbers aren't as high as they were last year because he's been coming off the field in nickel packages. Reeves and Quin have been in the Texans' top 3 at corner along with Robinson of late. Quin has some physical attributes that some people think might make him a good safety some day, but he's played well at corner so far.
Tyrone - Houston, TX, US: Why dont the texans ever QB sneak whwn were on the 1 yard line. We always run the ball and we can never get in the endzone. we could have a better record then 4-3.
Nick Scurfield (2:06:57PM): The QB sneak has been effective for the Texans all season. They scored on a 1-yd TD run by Slaton against the 49ers, though, and showed the ability to run for short-yardage first downs at other points in the game this week as well
Frank - Round Rock, TX, US: Is T.O. playing this week? and if he is who will shadowing him? In the "Spartan's" spirit, WE ARE TEXANS!!!!!!!!!!!!
Nick Scurfield (2:08:56PM): He's played in every game this season, so I would assume so. The Texans usually don't put a corner on one particular guy - they like to keep their players on a certain side of the field. Aside from Ochocinco, hard to think of another WR with a more opposite personality than Andre Johnson.
Jimmy Stratta - Guelph, CA: I found that interesting how the players said they were caught off guard by Alex Smith. I'm just curious, how that is possible for professional athletes at this level? Smith, just like Hill, throws with his arm. What could be THAT confusing that they were so blind sided by the move? I really respected Kubiak addressing that in his post game conference, saying that they shouldn't use the QB change as an excuse. The D should be ready to cover their men no matter who is in control of throwing the ball, right? If they get that confused, Buffalo might as well switch between Fitzpatrick and Edwards every quarter if they want to win! :p
Nick Scurfield (2:11:48PM): Kubiak would agree with you - he said the QB change was no excuse; the defense just didn't play with the same attention to detail and focus, in his opinion. Buffalo has ruled out Edwards, by the way, meaning Fitzpatrick will be the guy this week. So no need to worry about a quarter-by-quarter switch...
Nick Scurfield (2:25:21PM): That's all the time I've got. Thanks for stopping by with all of your great questions and for spending some extra time here today (looks like we went about 10 minutes past the hour). Sorry if I didn't get to your question, but I'll be back next week in the same time and place.
Have a nice week and a safe & Happy Halloween on Saturday.