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Thursday notebook: McNair talks; opportunity knocks

Posted Dec 16, 2010

See what the Texans thought about chairman and CEO Bob McNair's comments to the team and get the latest injury news and more in the Thursday notebook.

Texans coach Gary Kubiak had company in the post-practice huddle on Thursday, as Texans chairman and CEO Bob McNair spoke to players for several minutes after Kubiak finished addressing the team.

“He was just talking to the guys and trying to reinforce some things that we’ve been talking about, talking about staying positive and keep working,” Kubiak said. “It’s good for him every now then to talk to them.”

McNair typically speaks to the players after practice a few times each season.

“That’s not the first time he spoke to us when we’ve been going through something,” wide receiver Andre Johnsons aid. “This year has been frustrating for everybody. I really couldn’t say it’s frustrating for one person more than others. It’s been frustrating for everybody. I’m pretty sure it’s been very frustrating for him also. What he said today, I just really feel like he was saying what he had on his heart and what he was feeling at the time.”

Opportunity knocks
Defensive ends Tim Jamison and Mark Anderson could be used in a rotation in place of Mario Williams, who was put on injured reserve on Wednesday. Kubiak has been particularly impressed with Jamison’s play in recent weeks.

“It’s an opportunity for some young guys,” Kubiak said. “Tim’s been getting the opportunities and taking advantage of it.”

Antoine Caldwell will start at right guard for the injured Mike Brisiel. Kasey Studdard, who has been inactive for all but one game this season, also could get a look at the right guard spot.

“We’ll see whether we rotate or Gump (Caldwell) goes the whole way,” Kubiak said.

Kubiak said that defensive tackle DeMario Pressley, signed Wednesday off the Saints’ practice squad, will be active on Sunday. Defensive end Jarvis Green, signed Thursday, will not be active.

Rackers OK
Kicker Neil Rackers has not practiced yet this week because of a right hamstring injury. Kubiak said it’s of no concern.

“They say it’s very mild and they are just being smart, and he told me, ‘Coach, don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine,’” Kubiak said. “He’s actually going to kick some tomorrow.”

Rackers is 21-of-24 on field goal attempts this season.

Leach to the Beach
With four days left in fan voting for the Pro Bowl, the “Leach to the Beach” campaign has picked up steam as fullback Vonta Leach’s teammates are hoping to rally support to get him to Hawaii.

Wide receiver Andre Johnson, running back Arian Foster, center Chris Myers, left tackle Duane Brown and tight end James Casey are among those who have been campaigning for Leach to make the Pro Bowl during interviews and on Twitter.

“I do (appreciate that), but that’s not the most important thing,” Leach said. “We have three games left here. The most important thing is to try to get wins. Everybody wants to go, but first you look at what you did as a team and then you look at individual stuff. I just hope that Arian goes there. If I go, I go. If I don’t, I don’t.”

Leach has played an integral part in Foster’s success this season, serving as the lead blocker for the league-leader in rushing yards and yards from scrimmage.

“It’s a position in this business that’s rare, really, right now,” Kubiak said. “There are probably 10 teams that actually line up in the I (formation) and have an iso-fullback. From that standpoint, Vonta is a hell of a player from what he does for us. Anytime you’re leading the way for the leading rusher in football, you get some respect… It’ll be interesting to see. I think he was an alternate last year. Usually when the guy behind you is doing good, you get some credit, too. He does a really good job.”

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