Nick Scurfield (2:32:36PM): Thanks for joining today's live chat. I'll be here for about an hour. We've already got a lot of questions, so let's get right to it.
Nick Scurfield (2:41:08PM): Sorry for the delay. Apparently my responses weren't showing up on the site for the past few minutes, but it looks like we've got our issue resolved now. Onward with the questions.
Jim - Texarkana, TX, US: Nick, Great news that Owen Daniels is 100% and will be ready for the season opener! How many Tight Ends do you think the Texans will carry this year? Any status update on Anthony Hill? I haven't heard anything about his recovery. Do you think the Texans will place him on Reserve/PUP and, thus, miss the first six games or possibly placed on IR and lost for the season?
Nick Scurfield (2:42:56PM): Yes, indeed- that was a jolt of good news for the team this week. The Texans had 4 TEs on the roster last year. Dreessen and Casey have had good offseasons, and they just invested a fourth-round pick on Graham. It'll be interesting to see what happens with Derek Fine, who they also like, and Hill. Haven't heard much on Hill's recovery in a while, although I've seen him rehabbing his butt off every day.
Marvin - port arthtur, TX, US: What do u really think about the Texans defense? Do You think Andre Johnson needs to even be playing a whole lolt these last two games?
Nick Scurfield (2:44:27PM):
He probably won't play at all in the last preseason game against Tampa Bay next Thursday. Andre and the rest of the starters will play for three quarters vs. Dallas tomorrow; even though he obviously doesn't have anything to prove, the third preseason game is always an important tune-up for the regular season. I think the Texans' defense grew by leaps and bounds last year under Frank Bush, and they'll be eager to put a better performance together than the one they had at New Orleans.
Leonard Aulner - Houston, TX, US: The Texans cornerbacks are very young and inexperienced, how do you think they will do against the Dallas offense?
Nick Scurfield (2:46:56PM):
You're right about that- other than Jacques Reeves and Fred Bennett, none of the Texans' CBs has more than two seasons of NFL experience. But the Texans feel good about the talent they've collected in the secondary. Miles Austin had a monster season last year and will be a great test for Glover Quin and Kareem Jackson.
Mayo - Houston, TX, US: What sector do the Texans need to improve on the most based off the preseason games the Texans have played?
Nick Scurfield (2:49:02PM):
It's always tough to know how much to read into what happens in the preseason, but they can't give up 198 rushing yards to anybody like they did against the Saints last week. Lots of missed tackles from the defense. Kubiak said it looked like the first three games of last season, when the Texans were on pace to have the worst defense in the league. Players weren't happy about it, and I think we'll see a much better effort from them this time around.
Rick Brokaw - Raeford, NC, US: With both Ben Tate and Trindon Holliday out for the season do you now see Steve Slaton being used as the primary return man for kickoffs or will he share time with Arian Foster at Running Back? Also, how do you see the Texans implementing Jeremiah Johnson?
Nick Scurfield (2:52:07PM):
Sounds like Slaton's going to get a chance to return kickoffs. They certainly liked his 63-yard return last week. Sherrick McManis and Jeremiah Johnson are also options back there, and Jacoby Jones has returned kicks before as well. At RB, Slaton will play in the first three quarters tomorrow along with Foster, with Foster being the starter. Johnson will be the next running back on the field after those two.
Nelly - katy, TX, US: I wanted to know if section 110 row x are good seats?
Nick Scurfield (2:54:59PM): You're in the lowest section, so they're probably pretty nice. You can actually view your seats with the seat finder on the left side of the Tickets page on HoustonTexans.com.
Garl - katy, TX, US: we no the defence has made a big jump and they look good on paper. but can they bring it to the field? and will they be able to fill the spot while cushing is out for four games? the first game against the colts and our thrid game against dallas are a must win in the regular season don't you think?
Nick Scurfield (2:59:32PM):
Only time will tell on your first question, but I believe they can. The way they fired out of the gate against the Cardinals two weeks ago was indicative of the way they've practiced all offseason. There's a new mentality on the defense, an attitude that they want to go out and dominate every team they play. Darryl Sharpton could be one of the starters in the first four games with Cushing out. Xavier Adibi and Danny Clark, if healthy, would be candidates as well.
john - austin, TX, US: Why have the Texans apparently soured on Deljuan Robinson and embraced Frank Okam? Okam has been useless in games and Deljuan was playing very well in '08 and has been given little time on the field since then? Now, it appears Deljuan will be cut and Okam will be integral to the roster: here's the quote and circumstances I'm basing that conclusion on http://www.texansbullblog.com/coachspeak-abbreviated-roster-nugget/featured-articles/kubes-speak/
Nick Scurfield (1:03:31PM):
I've seen that report before. Kubiak was talking about offensive tackles in that quote, not defensive tackles. The top three offensive tackles being Eric Winston, Duane Brown and Rashad Butler. That must have been a typo in the transcript. We'll have to get that fixed on HT.com.
Baron - Arlington, TX, US: How has the offensive line looked over the last week of practice and which of them do you believe will start? Also, do you think that our secondary although young can look like a veteran group. Lastly, can the Texans Defense start the season in the First week or will they decide to join the team around week 3 again?
Nick Scurfield (1:06:41PM):
Wade Smith will start at left guard, Chris Myers at center and Antoine Caldwell at right guard for the second consecutive game. It's hard to glean much from the O-line in practice since they're not in full pads and they're going against their teammates. While the secondary is young, Bernard Pollard provides a lot of leadership back there. Eugene Wilson is a savvy veteran with Super Bowl rings from his time in New England.
Robert Hendricks - Porter, TX, US: With stadium videoboards getting bigger and bigger, New Giants Stadium and New Dallas Stadium, do you think a upgrade for Relaint's videoboards could be in the not so distant future. I remember when the ribbon videoboards were put around the stadium, the reasoning was fan experience. There is a lot of extra room around the current EZ videoboards to upgrade the size quite a bit. I think putting bigger videoboards in EZ will add a whole lot to the fan experience. They were big when the stadium opened, but now they are small to todays standards!
Nick Scurfield (1:08:46PM): Good question. I'm not the one to answer that, but pass it along to firstname.lastname@example.org and someone in the organization will get back to you.
rivers mccown - houston, TX, US: If the kicking competition comes down to the wire and both continue to play at about the same level, which way do you think Kubiak and Marciano will lean?
Nick Scurfield (1:11:37PM):
I wish I knew. It looks like it's going to come down to how they kick off. They've both been disappointing in that area so far, per Kubiak.
AP - Houston, TX, US: Nick, Who is now the favorite to win the 3rd RB spot?
Nick Scurfield (1:13:27PM): Jeremiah Johnson will be the third running back in the game on Saturday after Foster and Slaton. He was impressive against the Cardinals in the preseason opener. He and Chris Henry both figure to get plenty of carries next Thursday vs. the Bucs.
Jim - Texarkana, TX, US: I noticed Ben Tate has yet to be placed on IR according to the transactions page. Are the Texans just waiting until Tuesday when they have to get down to 75 players to put him on IR or is there a slim chance he will recover quickly enough and play midway through the season?
Nick Scurfield (1:15:19PM): Kubiak said pretty definitively last week that Tate will be out for the season and go on I.R. No need to rush and put him on the list before Tuesday.
Robert - Houston, TX, US: Jeremiah Johnson, just like Foster, is trying to prove to the Texans he belongs in the NFL. They both have the incentive to do their best. I would like to see him get some reps with the ones tomorrow night so we can get a better indication of what he can do. At Arizona he was playing with the 3's and 4's. Any chance we may see him in the 3rd quarter? J don't see Slayton doing anything to improve his stock in the backfield. To often last week he was turning his back to the defense going into the line. That tells me he is still gunshy.
Nick Scurfield (1:20:36PM):
The plan is for Foster and Slaton to play in the first three quarters. Johnson would be next in the fourth. I wouldn't count Slaton out; he's only a year removed from out-rushing Chris Johnson as a rookie and is a veritable threat as a pass catcher out of the backfield, even last year when he struggled to run the ball. But like you mentioned, Johnson is a guy who bears watching. Averaged almost 7 yards per carry at Oregon and is just now getting a chance to show what he can do after he missed last season with a shoulder injury.
Mitch - Houston, TX, US: Most teams with good interior defense seem to have big tackles. We seem to be going in the other direction and get pushed around by big O-lines. Why do we think smaller is better?
Nick Scurfield (1:23:18PM): It's a matter of what the coaches prefer for their system. They like quick defensive linemen who can get off the ball and make plays in Frank Bush's attacking scheme. Don't necessarily have to be big space-eaters in the middle to be productive.
Adrian - laporte, TX, US: who will win dallas or texans??
Nick Scurfield (1:24:07PM):
What do you think? Send me your prediction and I'll post it here. I don't make game predictions, especially in the preseason.
Marvin - port arthtur, TX, US: Will the offensive play selection change since we have a new coordinator? Do we have what it takes to beat the Colts at least once and beat the other division opponents twice!
Nick Scurfield (1:27:31PM): If anything changes with the offense, it'll likely be minor wrinkles here and there. New OC Rick Dennison came up through the same Denver offense as Gary Kubiak, and that continuity was a key reason why they hired him. The Texans have been oh-so-close in so many division games over the past few years, including against the Colts, so they know they have the talent to win those games. Closing them out and improving their division record will be critical to their postseason push.
Ray - Pasadena, TX, US: Nick what became of the try out of Charles Spencer and how did he look?
Nick Scurfield (1:29:37PM): The Texans didn't sign him, but they worked out Spencer and Ephraim Salaam that day. Kubiak said they'll continue to look at other offensive tackles as well- not necessarily to sign them immediately, but to see what's out there in case down they run into problems at the position down the road.
Adrian - laporte, TX, US: What I meant was who will put on a better performance. The Texans Starters or the Dallas Starters...
Nick Scurfield (1:34:04PM): I gotcha. Didn't mean to discourage you from making a prediction; fire away with one if you have it! I'm expecting it to be back-and-forth. A lot of people are picking the Cowboys to win the NFC this year, and the Texans have high expectations for themselves this season. Cowboys have struggled offensively this preseason and will be without several starters due to injury, though.
Nick Scurfield (1:37:22PM):
That's it for today. Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the game tomorrow, and check out our live pregame and postgame shows on HoustonTexans.com 90 minutes before kickoff and immediately following the game.