Notes from the Texans' practice and locker room on Wednesday at Reliant Stadium:
“It’s exciting,” Manning said. “For the four weeks I was out, I couldn’t wait to get back on the field and be around those guys and just being able to be on my feet running around like I am. I truly am blessed.”
Head coach Gary Kubiak also is happy to see Manning back, and described his likelihood for Sunday.
"I expect him to play," Kubiak said. "He took a limited number of reps today, not the full load, but I expect him to play in the game. We will have to monitor, I would imagine, the amount that he plays, but everything looks like we’ll be ready to go. It’s amazing.”
“He’s a leader on this team,” Cody said. “He plays hard and I think you can see it out there in practice. He’s a vocal guy, he’s a leader and we need him out there for our defense.”
The newest Texans quarterback found out he was headed to Houston yesterday in decidedly un-dramatic fashion.
“I think I was making my kids breakfast,” Clemens said. “I think it was in the morning sometime.”
The six-year veteran spent training camp with the Redskins, but was released in early September before Week 1. Since then, he said, he led a fairly simple life.
“Just lift, run, throw,” Clemens said. “It’s been a unique situation for me over the last 10 weeks. Just trying to stay in shape, trying to stay ready. I’m in Washington State, that’s where we have kind of a home base. I’ve got two little kids, so I’ve spent some really good time with my wife and kids.”
Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison shared his first impressions of Clemens after the third-stringer worked with the Texans for the first time.
“He’s got a really strong arm,” Dennison said. “He’s been around the game for a while. I think he’s athletic. He’s been in camp with Washington, so the terminology is somewhat similar to him.”
Through the first ten games of 2011, running back Maurice Jones-Drew has amassed 941 rushing yards. Only Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy has gained more this season. Jones-Drew has routinely faced defenses that have focused on stopping him by putting more defenders near the line of scrimmage. What’s he’s been able to accomplish despite all that has impressed the Texans.
“Oh yeah, there’s no question he’s a good running back,” linebacker
Jones-Drew credits the presence of rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert, in addition to help up front, as keys to his success so far.
“Obviously our offensive line is doing a great job,” Jones-Drew said. “We’re leaning more on the run game with Blaine being there and kind of trying to let him develop, which he’s developed into a pretty decent quarterback for us right now.”
Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio is thankful for Jones-Drew’s production.
“Maurice has been the one constant for us on offense,” Del Rio said. “He’s been strong through the first 10 games. From the beginning of the year until now, he’s been a force for us.”
“We’re in a great position. Everybody knows that. We’re going to try and do everything we can to make sure we are the top team in the AFC when it’s all over.” –Wide receiver Andre Johnson on the team’s goals.