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Nick Scurfield Question & Answer

Nick Scurfield (1:04:03PM): Thanks for joining in on today's live chat. Lot of questions streaming in, but before I get started, just wanted to remind everybody that Texans rookie linebacker Brian Cushing and quarterback Matt Schaub are both up for weekly NFL awards this week. Check out the homepage of to cast your vote for them. Now, on to the questions.

Nate - stockton, CA, US: will we be all red for the next game? i like to match the team,& the red on red seems to work for our team. oh yeah i was born in S.F. raised in Houston, so i want our team to finish the bay AREA off. GO TEXAN$!

Nick Scurfield (1:05:20PM): Nope - we'll be in blue jerseys and white pants. You can check the uniform combinations for each game at this link: /gameday/2009UniformCombinations.asp

Jonathan - Houston, TX, US: Are the Texans considering any moves before the trade deadline that is in a few hours? Thanks

Nick Scurfield (1:06:43PM): Haven't heard of anything. Coach Kubiak effectively gave a "no comment" response to that same question in his press conference yesterday. Rick Smith would be the one to answer that

Doug Lacy - Clear Lake City, TX, US: If you were GM....would you make a trade to get someone like Shawn Rogers at defensive tackle? Or would you keep it status quo for now?

Nick Scurfield (1:08:19PM): Talented player with local ties, but there usually aren't many big trades at the NFL trade deadline.. that's more common in the NBA and in baseball. Plus, the players already on the roster have been good enough to give the Texans the second-best run defense in the league over the past three weeks.

Doug - Clear Lake City, TX, US: I have noticed both blocks of Kris Brown field goals have come from the linemen lined over Duane this correct?...

Nick Scurfield (1:09:28PM): I'm not sure, but according to what Kubiak said yesterday, the protection problems on field goals are a result of the young offensive linemen that have been rotating in. Brown has been arguably their best offensive lineman this season.

John - Pearland, TX, US: Nick, Mario Williams didn't seem to have a big impact in the pass rush on Sunday. How much is that shoulder bothering him? Thanks, John

Nick Scurfield (1:11:13PM): It's kept him out of contact in practice, and kept him out of practice altogether at times. Mario played only about 40 snaps this week; he usually plays them all. Kubiak said they're "a little concerned" about it and that's why the Texans have been going with 5 DEs and 3 DTs in the past couple of games. But Mario has yet to miss a game due to injury in his career, even when he had plantar fasciitis as a rookie

Steve - Houston, TX, US: The 49ers offense ranks in the bottom 5 in the league in pass offense, but will the debut of Michael Crabtree make the Texans prepare for more of a passing attack from SF on Sunday?

Nick Scurfield (1:13:21PM): Good research - SF is 29th in passing offense. Reports coming out of San Francisco say that Crabtree is expected to start over Josh Morgan against the Texans. Crabtree is a rare talent, but it'll be his first NFL game. The bread and butter of Mike Singletary's team is going to be his physical running game either way.

Tyler - Austin, TX, US: The way that the Texans used Steve Slaton in the short passing game really reminded me of the Domanick Davis days where he'd rack up a ton of yards on screen passes. Do you think the Texans will stick with this short pass to the RB gameplan as a proxy run game?

Nick Scurfield (1:14:50PM):

It's a creative way to get Slaton more touches, and he's so dangerous in space as we've seen time and again (including on the 38-yd TD at Cincinnati). With the way it worked against the Bengals, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Texans keep doing it until somebody finds a way to stop it

Sam - The Woodlands, TX, US: With so much depth at WR (A. Johnson, Walter, Davis, Jones, Anderson) and the league's most productive TE in Daniels, would you say the Texans have the top receiving corps in the league? I'm not sure I'd even trade them for the Cardinals' passcatchers. What do you think?

Nick Scurfield (1:16:20PM): Arizona's WRs are a very talented bunch - three 1,000-yard receivers last year. But I'd like to think you could argue that the talent and depth of the Texans' receiving corps is at least on par with anybody else's in the league. Don't foget about Slaton, too - he's a dangerous weapon as a receiver as well.

Ryan - Houston, TX, US: I know the likelihood that the Texans make a trade within the next few hours before the trade dealdine is unlikely, but what would be the cost in terms of draft picks of acquiring some sort of starter? Would it be worth giving up a 5th round pick to get a starter in a walk contract year?

Nick Scurfield (1:18:37PM): The Bears had to give up a second-round pick to get Gaines Adams from the Bucs. Adams was a top-5 pick in 2007 but wasn't doing much this season in Tampa. If you could give up a 5th-rounder for an impact player and that player fit with what your team does, sounds like it wouldn't be a bad idea

Jimmy - Katy, TX, US: it seems like an abnormally high number of Texans players are coming down with the flu of late...what is the team doing to try and prevent players from getting sick?

Nick Scurfield (1:19:59PM): The flu bug was an issue a couple of weeks ago but seems to have passed. The players got vaccines and were constantly reminded to wash their hands - you should've seen how many hand sanitizer dispensers popped up at the stadium a couple of weeks ago. And players were instructed to see the trainers at the first sign of any flu-like symptoms.

Danny - Houston, TX, US: Is there any Texans lineman other than Duane Brown who could move like he did on those kick-out blocks during those big screen plays on Sunday? very impressive for an o-lineman!

Nick Scurfield (1:21:53PM): I'm wondering how many linemen in the league can move like that. That's why the Texans targeted him in the first round last year. Between Brown and Winston, the Texans' tackle play has been strong this season. Texans have allowed only 2 sacks in 90 pass attempts in last two games...

Trey - El Campo, TX, TX, US: Do you think or havew you hear any rumor of the Texans making a last minute trade before the trade deadline today? How great was it to see the Texans use there strenths to win last Sunday. Screen passes and deep shots.....I personally was very happy to see the team play to the abilities they have. Run when you can but pass at will because that is who we are as Texans right now. Thanks.

Nick Scurfield (1:23:51PM): You'd have to ask Rick Smith, but I wouldn't expect a trade. The offense was running on all cylinders at Cincy. Kubiak indicated the week before that he wouldn't hesitate to use the pass more if the running game wasn't working, and that's what they did. But they still kept a pretty good balance of runs and passes, and that allowed the play action to be deadly effective.

Ben Gorby - round rock, TX, US: Maybe early for playoff talk, but seeing as we got off to such a slow start last season and still ended with .500 record given the better start this year and the fact that the defense is starting to come around do you think with the talent in the AFC there is a spot for the Texans as wildcard?

Nick Scurfield (1:26:13PM): Like you said, long way to go, but as of today the Texans are tied with a bunch of AFC teams at 3-3 in the second wildcard spot. This team certainly has the talent to make the playoffs. It's a matter of playing good football for 60 minutes every week like they did against the Bengals. Beating the 49ers would put them at 4-3 for the first time since 2004.

Andy - Pearland, TX, US: How much of an advantage is it for a team to have the bye week to prepare for an opponent, as the 49ers did in advance of this weekend's game? I'd think from a gameplan perspective it would help a lot, aside from giving time for players to heal, but what do you think?

Nick Scurfield (1:29:18PM): It helps, but I'd say it helps more in giving the players time to rest than it does with game-planning. 49ers RBs Frank Gore and Glen Coffee are both coming off of injuries, so the extra week could be huge in that case. On the flipside, the Texans are riding a wave of momentum after their game against the Bengals, and you can't get that momentum on a bye week

Brandon - San Antonio, TX, US: Would you blame the lack of success in the running game more on the rushers or the line?

Nick Scurfield (1:30:39PM): That falls on everybody, from the line to the backs to the receivers and tight ends. They're showing flashes of being effective in the running game - Chris Brown averaged 5 yards a carry at Cincy and Slaton had some big runs called back by penalties. As the new guards get more time on the field with the rest of the line, the blocking should continue to improve

Trey - El Campo, TX, US: How great a pick up was 31 pollard? Him Cushings, Diles, and Ryans are some heat packing players. Do you think the Texans are still light at Safty?

Nick Scurfield (1:33:21PM): They're carrying five safeties, so I'd say no. In the words of Kubiak, Pollard has added a new dimension to the defense. The Texans went from last in the league against the run before he got here to second-best against the run in his three games with the team. Credit obviously doesn't all go to Pollard - the whole defense is getting better as a unit under Frank Bush. But Pollard definitely adds a physical presence in the back end.

blakeluna - austin, TX, US: will the texans get somebody in the trade deadline plz they need a safty.... texans need to get big oll lineman not 6ft2 get like 6ft7 or 8

Nick Scurfield (1:35:15PM): Not sure, but Pollard and Wilson have been excellent together at safety in the last few weeks. Gibbs prefers athletic linemen for his zone scheme - they need the ability to get to the second level

Ben - round rock, TX, US: It appears to me that the top defenses in the league are running a 3-4 defense. why dont the Texans run a 3-4, and blitz more if they feel they need a pass rush? why dont they blitz at all actually!!?

Nick Scurfield (1:37:19PM): Thanks for the question. Not sure of the stat now, but I know that through the first few weeks, the Texans were blitzing as much as any team in the league. They haven't run a 3-4 since Dom Capers was here, and it'd require a major overhaul of some of the personnel, particularly on the D-line. The defense has been playing at a high level lately... if they can keep it up, the defense's ranking is going to keep climbing

Terrence - Houston, TX, US: Outside of the quarterbacks, what texans player watches the most game film? I'm curious if there are any players an average fan might not expect (offensive lineman, defensive player) who's a real film nut.

Nick Scurfield (1:39:22PM): DeMeco Ryans. Always one of the last people to leave Reliant Stadium after practice and meetings because he spends so much extra time watching film. Very smart guy and a very devoted student of the game.

Michael Dow - Cypress, TX, US: With the emergence of Jacoby Jones at receiver and as a result more weapons available to schaub in the passing game I'm not sure we are going to get to the "run game" to pass game ratio focus Kubiak would like to see. Success with one opens up the other. Do you think our success passing the ball will open things up further for Slaton/Moats?

Nick Scurfield (1:41:35PM): Sure seemed like it did against the Bengals. But they're always going to have to throw in a certain number of runs because the success of this offense is so dependent on play-action. That wide-open TD to Jacoby on a play-action fake wouldn't have been possible if the Bengals weren't respecting the Texans' running game.

CalTex - Houston, TX, US: Do you think the team needs to be Psych Out, that the rest of the games left are MUST WINS!!! Thanks!!! Nick.

Nick Scurfield (1:44:05PM):

Mario Williams said after the game that they need to get over the hump instead of the constant win/lose, win/lose cycle, and this is their chance to do it this week. Andre Johnson was already looking forward to winning this week's game in the postgame locker room at Cincinnati. Sounds like they're plenty psyched up already.

MD - Houston, TX, US: Slaton is great and is turning into our very own Brian Westbrook, but what about Moats? Hes done well in his few opportunities and may be more efficient in his YPC.

Nick Scurfield (1:45:33PM): Moats' only carries this season came against Oakland. Chris Brown was out of that game due to illness. Moats didn't get any carries at Arizona because the Texans only had about 20 carries. It looks like after this last game that they're going with Slaton and Brown as their top two running backs for now.

ray - Pasadena, TX, US: I see we have Chris Henry on the roster. Are they going to try and use him in games or is he more for the practice field? Thanks.

Nick Scurfield (1:46:51PM): Practice only for now. Henry was signed to the practice squad two weeks ago. He can't play in games unless they sign him to the 53-man active roster, which would require moving another player off of the roster.

Ross - Beaumont, TX, US: What do you think is the best catch of the year for the texans so far - Daniels' onehander against Cincy or Andre Johnson's one against Tennessee? Dont know if others come to mind but i think its a two horse race between those two

Nick Scurfield (1:48:46PM): I'll give you a third one in the competition - Andre's touchdown catch at Arizona where the linebacker bounced off of him like a bowling ball and he barreled over McFadden into the end zone. OD's catch this week was spectacular, but I've got to go with Johnson's catch at Tennessee as the best of the year

John - The Woodlands, TX, US: Espn announced the top ten qb's this season and Matt wasn't one of them! Can you understand why that is?

Nick Scurfield (1:50:23PM): I was actually talking about that with some of my Texans colleagues at lunch today. If they're going off of this season, Schaub's numbers are top-10 in almost every passing category, and he's first in the NFL in TD passes and second in yards. If Schaub keeps putting up numbers and the Texans keep winning, the recognition will come.

William - FT Huachuca, AZ, US: So do you think this incredible D is going to be ready for this Running Back Tandem with Gore an Coffee? I was thoroughly impressed by the effort to stop Benson, but if the 49ers can keep their Backs fresh they might have some more success. Also do you think Frank Bushs' Defense just took some time to come together and this dominance will now be the norm?

Nick Scurfield (1:53:39PM): Heard that Gore is expected to play, but haven't seen Coffee's status yet. Tomorrow's injury report should give us an idea. If they both play, that's a new challenge for the defense, but the way they shut down Benson was downright outstanding after Benson had run all over just about everybody they'd faced this season. Bush has more confidence in the calls that he's making now because his players are executing assignments and making plays.

George - Greensboro, NC, US: In the small amount of oppertunities that James Casey has been given, he has shown tremendous effort. In my opinion, this guy should be starting right behind big OD.I think he would really contribute and help give us some W's. Your thoughts Nick? thanks

Nick Scurfield (1:55:49PM): Casey is tremendously talented, but don't discount the contributions that Joel Dreessen has made at tight end. Casey is getting more snaps on offense of late, and he gives an all-out effort every time he's on the field. He's a valuable weapon to have in reserve for now, and there are only good things ahead for him

Wes - Spring, TX, US: Why isn't Adibi starting @ WILL?

Nick Scurfield (1:57:13PM): Zac Diles won the job in the preseason. Diles was leading the Texans in tackles and playing as well as anybody on Houston's defense when he suffered a season-ending leg injury in the middle of the 2008 season

Robbie - Houston, TX, US: A lot of the recent NFL Power Rankings to come out have the texans somewhere in the 14-15 range. Where would you place the Texans in a power ranking of the league?

Nick Scurfield (2:03:34PM): I don't get into rankings and such, but based on record, that seems about right. As long as the Texans win this week, the Power Rankers of the world could put the Texans at 32nd, for all I care.

Jimmy Stratta - Guelph, CA: Why have the Texans' D been so outstanding in the second half of games these past few weeks (holding both the Cards and Bengals to 0 offensive points) but so mediocre in the first half? Do you think they can come out fully prepared from start to finish against the 49ers?

Nick Scurfield (2:24:48PM):

Texans also shut the Raiders out in the second half, so that's three games in a row. The D struggled in the first half against Arizona, but the offense didn't help by not converting a single first down. Despite giving up 17 points in the first half against the Bengals, they played a pretty solid game from start to finish in Week 6. Guys like Cushing, Pollard, Dunta, Reeves and Antonio Smith are getting better with each game, and the defense's momentum is on the upswing as the 49ers come to town.

Nick Scurfield (2:04:10PM): Time for a few more questions before I've got to bolt...

Joe - Austin, TX, US: How should we feel after this win? I'll tell you the Crabtree needs to watch out when he comes to Texas!!

Nick Scurfield (2:05:55PM):

Should be a lot of hoopla surrounding Crabtree playing in his first game. He's drawing a secondary that's playing as well as it has all season.

Alex Porter - Houston(Southgate), TX, US: Today I was watching sportscenter and Trent Dilfer came up with a list of the top 10 quarterbacks in the league. In which Matt Schaub was not on the list. I was suprised to see that Kyle Orton was ranked as the fifth best quarterback. Carson Palmer was also above him. Does anybody outside of Houston have any respect for Matt Schaub?

Nick Scurfield (2:07:53PM):

I saw that, too. Schaub is getting more respect as the season goes on. Peter King mentioned him in his MMQB column this week, and Schaub was on both the Jim Rome Show and SIRIUS NFL Radio yesterday. He's up for FedEx Air Player of the Week: /news/Story.asp?storyid=5713

Trey - El Campo, TX, US: Where has Andre Davis been on the field, I have not seen if he has gotten thrown to very much....but I have definantly seen him on punt team...he IS ALWAYS THERE TO MAKE A PLAY, or at least down the ball close to the endzone. Thanks.

Nick Scurfield (2:10:27PM): He's made an impact on special teams, in coverage and on returns. On offense, he's got a few catches this season, and the reason he probably doesn't have more is that the Texans have so many weapons on offense and are five-deep at WR. Davis is still arguably the Texans' best deep threat, though

Nick Scurfield (2:11:48PM): Also, Davis had a concussion in Week 1 that sidelined him for two games. One last question before I go...

Michael - H-Town, TX, US: I read some recent news that Crabtree will be starting this week, instead of morgan. Do you think this changes how we prepare forthe 9ers and do you think that he can really and honestly make a contribution to the 9ers in helping them TRY! and beat us.

Nick Scurfield (2:14:48PM): If he does start as it's being reported, that'll make things interesting. The only film the Texans have on him will be from Texas Tech since Crabtree skipped the preseason and San Francisco's first five games in a contract holdout. Anybody who saw him at Tech knows what he's capable of, but how will he transition to a pro-style offense? How much of the 49ers' playbook will he have down after 2 weeks with the team? We won't know until Sunday, but it should be interesting to watch.

Nick Scurfield (2:16:57PM): That's all the time I've got today. Thanks for stopping by and sending in your questions. I'll be back for another live chat next week - same time, same place. Have a nice week.

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