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5 Questions Houston Texans Edition with John McClain

I was able to get some questions about the Houston Texans answered by the Houston Chronicle's John McClain.

1.  Amobi Okoye was the defensive rookie of the month in September.  Talk about his play and what it has meant to the defense as a whole.

Okoye turned 20 after the draft. He plays hard all the time. He makes mistakes. One play he's great, one play he's out of position. But that's to be expected. The coaches love him. Like most of the other defensive players, he didn't play well in the 37-17 loss at Jacksonville.

2.  Matt Schaub seems to be the savior the Texans were hoping he could be.  Why has he been able to be successful where David Carr wasn't?

The Texans ruined Carr by starting him from Day One on an expansion team. He got gun shy in the pocket. Last season, he threw sideline to sideline and led the league in completion percentage. Schaub is fourth in completion percentage and third in yards per pass, which means he's accurate down the field. He's had problems in the red zone, primarily because their running game has been terrible. Injuries to receiver Andre Johnson, running back Ahman Green and center Steve McKinney have hampered red zone production and the running game. Schaub is a hard worker who is liked and respected by his teammates and coaches. He gets rid of the ball fast. When he doesn't, he gets sacked. They're allowed fewer than two sacks a game. The line's not better; Schaub's a lot better than Carr.

3.  What is Ahman Green's status for Sunday?  If he doesn't go will the Texans be able to do anything at all against the Titans' run defense?

Green returned last week against the Jaguars. He hadn't finished a game because of a bruised knee that caused him to miss two full games. Even with Green back, the running game was terrible against Jacksonville. Now they have to run against the No. 1 run defense in the league.

4.  Do you think the Texans are legitimate contendors for a playoff spot this season or are they still a year or two away?

I wrote early last season that I thought the Texans would get close to 8-8 this season and be a wild-card contender in 2008. I've seen nothing that would change my mind. They beat the Chiefs and Panthers decisively in the first two games and lost Andre Johnson, who still hasn't played. He was off to the best start of his career, and he led the league in catches last season.

5.  How much different will the Texans defensive game plan be if Kerry Collins is in there instead of Vince Young?

It'll be a different game plan, of course. Collins is a pocket passer who throws down the field. Young runs and throws on the run. With a runner like Young, defenses usually play more zone. With Collins not a threat to run, they can play more man coverage. The reason, of course, is that in man coverage, the defensive backs, especially the corners who have to support the run, sometimes have their backs to the line of scrimmage and don't see the quarterback take off and run.

I really apprecite John taking the time to do this.  No one knows the NFL better than he does.  I will have 5 questions with Battle Red Blog later in the week.