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Houston Texans

Nick Scurfield Question & Answer

Nick Scurfield (2:19:29PM): Thanks for stopping by my weekly live chat. I'm here every Tuesday from 1-2 p.m., and usually a little bit past 2.

Before I get started, let me remind everybody to check out the homepage of (/index2.html), where you can vote for LB Brian Cushing and RB Ryan Moats for NFL honors that they're up for this week. Now, on to the questions.


Nick Scurfield (7:29:37PM): It's the biggest test the Texans will have faced all season... and that's also probably true for any defense in the NFL that faces Manning, who's off to perhaps the best start of his career. But the Texans have been able to stop him in spurts in the past couple of seasons, and their defense is much better now. Dunta Robinson and Jacques Reeves are playing as well as they have in recent weeks, so that gives reason for hope

Jeremy - houston, TX, US: any word on Owen Daniels.

Nick Scurfield (1:07:18PM): He's out for the season with a torn ACL. /news/Story.asp?storyid=5766 ... Tough break for a great guy off the field who was playing as well as any TE in the league this season.

kenneth gamble - houston, TX, US: will james casey start this week?

Nick Scurfield (1:08:29PM): No- see the link above. Casey is out for at least the Colts game after having his knee scoped Monday to repair meniscus damage. He played through the pain against the Bills and was on the field for 42 plays, so Kubiak is optimistic that Casey will be back for the MNF game on Nov. 23.

Nick Scurfield (1:09:00PM): Joel Dreessen will be the starter


Nick Scurfield (1:10:22PM): Nate- love the optimism, but long way to go 'til the postseason. The Texans have been a second-half team under Kubiak - let's hope that trend continues now that they're off to the best start in team history at 5-3

protoTexans (KirK) - Pasadena, TX, US: No breaks for the Texans... Not only with OD down & out for the season, Casey is going to out a min of 2weeks. I know of course that we have JD & Hill, & Hill, who has seen very limited action thus far in the season.... But we may have an ace in the pocket if you can call it that. Has it been discussed in using Conner Barwin in a snap for TE? He played the position in college for most of his time there & seemed to excell on the YPC avg for the number of catches he had & he is big enough to be a good blocker in the TE role... Any comment?

Nick Scurfield (1:13:44PM): Kirk- I was at the Senior Bowl this year and remember seeing Barwin work out as a DE and TE. He's an amazing athlete, but I haven't heard anything along these lines, and I'd be surprised if it happened. Would stunt Barwin's growth as a DE, and he's been playing a good bit.. he's valuable for depth esp. with Mario's shoulder concern. Unless the Texans sign a free agent TE this week, looks like they'll go to Indy with 2 on the roster. They'll adjust accordingly.

Matt Meador - huntsville, TX, US: Why don't they bring back Jeb Putzier, or would that make to much sense??? I think he is unemployed right now.

Nick Scurfield (1:15:13PM): Putzier was cut by the Broncos during the 2009 preseason. I don't think he's recorded a catch since he was with the Texans in 2007. He's a guy who would know the system very well, though.

Jeff Obenhaus - Katy, TX, US: Nick, OD is out, now Casey. Not to worry, we have Dreessen and Hill, right? What is the deal with Hill? Will he be playing against the Colts?

Nick Scurfield (7:31:01PM): You'd better believe it. Hill hasn't played at all this year, but the rookie out of NC State will have to be ready to go this week. Kubiak said yesterday that he's not sure if Hill is ready but we're going to find out & that this is what they drafted him for. He's a big, physical run blocker who showed at NC State that he can also catch a pass or two when needed.

Jeff Obenhaus - Katy, TX, US: Nick, How in the world is Frank Bush going to stop Peyton Manning this week?

Nick Scurfield (1:19:52PM): That's a question that every DC in the NFL would love to have the answer to. The Texans are 4-1 in their last five games, and a big part of that has been Bush's defense- they're ranked 4th in the league in both yards allowed and scoring defense in that span.

Sam - Round Rock, TX, US: What does Owen Daniels injury do to his contract status in the upcoming year? I'd have to guess that no long-term extension would be on the table now, but is he still a RFA for next season?

Nick Scurfield (1:20:39PM): If there is no new CBA in place, then you're correct- Daniels will still be a restricted free agent for next season, just like he was this past offseason.

Rett - Clute, TX, US: Hello Nick. Do you think the Texans can get pressure up the middle on the Colts like the 49ers did? If so, do you think theat may be the key to winning over Indy?

Nick Scurfield (2:19:54PM): Antonio Smith was an absolute force last week at Buffalo, and Shaun Cody and Amobi Okoye have getting better and better as the season goes on. If they can keep it up and collapse the pocket, that'll make Manning's day that much more difficult. The Texans have to apply pressure to Manning if they want to have any hope of slowing him down.

Barrett - austin, TX, US: Nick, Lot's of discussions about who might be brought in (or up from the practice squad). Casey was our backup long snapper. Wasn't the Texans former long snapper (twice removed) released by Seattle earlier this year? Also, I doubt this would happen but it might be worth asking Kubiak if he would ever consider giving Barwin a few reps in practice. Nothing wrong with a little diversity.

Nick Scurfield (7:31:38PM): If Kubiak did, I'm sure Barwin would be up to the task. You're referring to Bryan Pittman, who was in fact released by Seattle this offseason. Zgonina will be the Texans' backup snapper with Casey out - he was already on the deep snapping depth chart as the #3 guy. Kubiak said yesterday that the team will be looking at long snappers and tight ends and consider adding one as they go forward.

Chris - Houston, TX, US: Who did the Texans Work out today, and are we looking to signing any one to replace Owens roster spot?

Nick Scurfield (1:29:35PM): The Texans don't generally disclose who they bring in for workouts, but often times the team announce any moves on Tuesdays at 3 p.m. They'll definitely be looking at someone to take O.D.'s spot - no word yet on who.

Brian Ashaka - houston, TX, US: Are the texans going to try to pick up some free agent TE's? or ae they going to try and change around the whole Offense? i know the texans have been doing 3 TE skeem so what are the texans going to do?

Nick Scurfield (2:20:13PM): Brian- The Texans will probably look at some tight ends and long snappers in the coming weeks. If Casey can recover in time for the Titans game like they're hoping, that would make them feel a lot better about the TE position. The Texans won't be able to run as many multiple TE sets this week as they normally like to, but they scored 31 points against the Bills with one-and-a-half TEs (Dreessen plus an injured Casey, after Daniels was hurt).

Aaron Dickens - Lubbock, TX, US: Did you go with Drew Dougherty to Niagra Falls this weekend? Apparently he's a big fan of Superman II. -Someone Who Used To Work With Drew

Nick Scurfield (1:34:23PM): I did. Yeah, he couldn't stop talking about Superman II on the way up to the falls. I think that movie's before my time, so I wasn't quite sure what he was talking about. Incredible sight at Niagara Falls, though.

William - FT Huachuca, AZ, US: Any chance we saw the birth of a really flexible Running Back Tandem this weekend with Moats putting on such a show? I mean I can think of so many ways to confuse a defense by putting Moats and Slaton back there at the same time. Heck put Slaton out wide and throw Chris back there with Moats. It gets me excited just thinking of the possibilities.

Nick Scurfield (1:37:32PM): Kubiak said they plan to use all three of them. He called Brown the best pass blocker of the 3. Slaton is most flexible as a receiver with his ability to line up wide. Moats, of course, just set a team record with 3 TDs in a game. So there could well be a combination of them being used going forward, but how much each player is on the field is yet to be seen.

Faiz - Saint Louis, MO, US: Do you think the loss of Owen Daniels will have a major effect on the Texans' offense? Especially in the red zone, where the Texans struggled against the Bills. Owen was always a huge target in the red zone, and now that he's gone, what changes should we expect to see this coming sunday?

Nick Scurfield (1:40:28PM): Any time you lose a player like Daniels, especially with the season he was having, it's a big blow to the team. But Dreessen has shown to be a capable receiver in the red zone. He caught what would have been the game-tying TD pass from Schaub against the Jaguars, but it was nullified by a penalty on Kevin Walter. He also made a spectacular leaping effort to grab Schaub's pass in the back of the end zone against the Cardinals, but he couldn't quite come down inbounds. The team has a lot of confidence in Joel (James Casey told me earlier this season that he thinks Dreessen could start for a lot of teams in the league), and there are still a ton of weapons around him in the receiving corps.

Mohi - Katy, TX, US: Now that OD and James Casey are out, what should we expect to see from Joel Dresseen. Not many people know much about him. Is he a pass-catching TE? Tell us about his strengths and weaknesses as a player.

Nick Scurfield (1:43:22PM): Kubiak actually addressed this in his press conference yesterday. Dreessen can play at the line of scrimmage and he can make plays in the passing game. There's not much he doesn't do.... he's the long snapper and plays almost everything on special teams. He's shown sure hands when thrown to but hasn't had a lot of balls go his way since Daniels has been such an outstanding player. Two years ago, Dreessen had 4 catches, but 2 of them were TDs. He had a career-high 11 catches last season.

Trey Viktorin - El Campo, TX, US: What is OD's spirit after the injury? Is he down to a point where it might rub off on others or has enough support drifted his way so that the team keeps him up as he progresses through his rehab? I would hate to see him ponder on the resigning damage his injury has caused and pass that on to others who are in contract years.

Nick Scurfield (1:44:53PM): Owen is understandably bummed, but in no way will he have a negative effect on the team. I'm sure it'll eat at him that he won't be able to be on the field with his teammates, but he's going to be behind the team 100 percent as the season goes on. He's a very well-liked guy in the locker room, and there's been a nice outpouring of support his way.

Brad Sawyer - houston, TX, US: Nick, even though the texans have not had much success against he colts in the past i happen to think we matchup very well against them. The defense has stepped it up lately and our offense has been one of the most productive what do you think will be the key matchup on sunday

Nick Scurfield (1:46:26PM): There are probably 20 different ways I could answer this question, but I think it'll come down to turnovers. The Texans are 17-2 when winning the turnover battle under Kubiak, and Peyton Manning will make you pay for mistakes like nobody else. Case in point: The Texans' heart-wrenching loss to the Colts at home last season, where Indy made up 17 points in the final five minutes.

protoTexans (KirK) - Pasadena, TX, US: I have read that a couple of Colts Secondary were banged up on Sunday, any word on them yet? I was looking at the renking for the AFC S & we are neck n neck with the Colts, who have played 8 to our 7, I believe that we can run with them if we can get pressure on Manning, their run O does not scare me with the way we have been stopping the run, do you agree?

Nick Scurfield (1:49:08PM): I'm not sure about the Colts' secondary other than having heard that they've had some injuries back there. I'll be able to answer that better tomorrow once the injury report comes out. Addai has been playing better for them of late with Donald Brown hurt, but the Texans' run defense has been the best in the league (by a longshot) since October 1.

ERIC - Houston, TX, US: NICK - What kind of defensive package to you see us in against Indy. Will we try and blitz more to disrupt timing on pass plays or will we only rush four and try to cover strong? I know Indy hasn't done real well in the running game. So most importantly we need to get Peyton on the ground early in the game. Do you know any injuries on their side?

Nick Scurfield (2:20:35PM): Haven't looked into the Colts' injuries much at this point in the week, but I'll post something in my blog about that after the chat. I would expect to see blitzes because Manning will pick you apart if you give him time. The Texans' linebackers and defensive line (particulary Antonio Smith) have been on a roll of late, which bodes well for the Texans.

Trey Viktorin - El Campo, TX, US: I was very impressed with what the Texans did with out OD and with out preparing for a game with out him. I cannot wait to see what they bring to the Colts game and it will be harder for them to game plan us as we have not played with out him and now will also be without Casey. This should be great to watch win or loose but hope for the win. I was never happier than when I was watching last week and the Defense never let the game get out of hand, I was able to think we could pull it out even with how badly it started, no need for the panic of old. How great is that....the teams said the same thing in post game quotes. GO TEXANS!!

Nick Scurfield (1:55:36PM): I agree with you- it's very encouraging that the Texans could adjust in-game after they lost Daniels and put up 31 points. Say what you want about the Bills, but you've got to give credit to the Texans' coaching staff for that because it totally changed the Texans' game plan. Hopefully, with a week to prepare for their personnel changes, they'll be even better. And the defense was huge in the Bills game... allowed only nine first downs and never let them get into a rhythm.

Joey T - Austin, TX, US: I can't wait till Sunday to knock the undefeated Colts of their high horse, How do you feel about Sundays match up? Any concerns aside from injury?

Nick Scurfield (1:58:09PM): Joey- I know you said besides the injuries, but I can't help but answer that question by talking about injuries. Lots of guys nicked up after the Bills game - Casey, Dom Barber, Xavier Adibi among them - and that's going to affect special teams, which has been superb for the Texans under Joe Marciano this season. Dreessen will be playing less on special teams as well since he'll be the starting tight end. So I'll be interested to see who steps up for the Texans in that part of the game.

RonK. - Houston, TX, US: I think that the Texans should have been using the 3 back tandem all along, just hate to see it come this way. My question is: Do you think that opps.teams have been practicing the ball stripping tech. as they approach a game against the Texans and Slaton more so than other opp.'s they temas meet during the season? Personally I see that this is part of problem; Slaton is seeing an unusual increase in ball stripping by opp.'s than other backs do(which face more stop movement and tackle the player rather than the ball).

Nick Scurfield (2:01:18PM): Ron- Kubiak said that was a concern of his after a game a couple of weeks ago, that other teams would "smell blood" and Slaton would get a reputation as a fumbler, causing more teams to actively try to strip him. A lot of the fumbles seem to have happened when Slaton is making an extra effort to get more yards, which is hard to fault a guy for trying to do. The team is behind Slaton and hoping that he can get the problem fixed, because he's an important part of the offense when he's on the field

Jorie - Calgary, CA: Hi Nick, Big fan from the north. I am curious if you really think that Slaton will no longer be the #1 in town? Is it merely posturing from the coaching staff to get him to excercise some ball control or more because of Moats's stellar performance? Thanks! Cheers from the Texas of the north (Alberta)......

Nick Scurfield (2:20:54PM): Hey Jorie- Kubiak said he still plans to play all 3 running backs. He told Slaton after the game to keep his chin up and that he expects Slaton to come back and help out this week. He also told the media on Sunday that he considered putting Slaton back in the game after halftime, but they decided to ride with the hot hand in Moats. Winning the game was the most important thing to the coaches at Buffalo, and they felt that Moats gave them the best chance to do so with the way he was running.

Nick Scurfield (2:08:52PM): That's all the time I've got today; thanks for stopping by and sending in questions. Should be a great game this week against the Colts, one that some national media pundits are already calling the biggest in Texans history. I'll be here for the chat next week in the same time and place. Take care.

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