The Texans continued training camp on Wednesday with two practices at the Methodist Training Center.
With approximately 10 players still out with injury, the Texans' outdoor morning practice and indoor afternoon practice were both light sessions. Defensive end Mario Williams (hip flexor) and linebackers Zac Diles (groin) and Xavier Adibi (groin) were among those who did not participate.
"I took the pads off of them to try to regroup their bodies here before we make a big push toward the weekend, but we had a good practice," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said in the morning.
Wednesday afternoon, Kubiak fielded several questions from the media about defensive end Aaron Schobel. The two-time Pro Bowler and native of Columbus, Texas, about an hour from Houston, was released by the Buffalo Bills on Wednesday.
Schobel, 32, told the Houston Chronicle earlier this week that the Texans would be his top choice in free agency.
"He's a heck of a player obviously," Kubiak said. "I've followed him for a lot of years, being a local guy around town here. But we are going to do our homework on him like we do on every player. He's a fine football player. We'll do our homework, just like every other team, and see what happens."
Schobel played for Texans defensive line coach Bill Kollar in Buffalo from 2006-08. He had 10 sacks last season, giving him 78 for his career.
"(Kollar) thinks a lot of him as a player," Kubiak said. "That's part of this league. Players are released... and you sit there and usually one of us (coaches) have a relationship with somebody. Bill speaks very highly of him."
Late Wednesday, the Texans announced that they had placed fullback Justin Griffith on the reserve/injured list with a spinal cord concussion/contusion. The Texans re-signed another fullback, undrafted Rutgers rookie Jack Corcoran, to take Griffith's place on the active roster.
Five Things Worth Noting
• Linebacker Brian Cushing was not at practice on Wednesday. "He had some personal business that I knew about when we started camp that he had to take care of," Kubiak said in the morning. "He had to take a day off, and I told him to get it done today… It's no big deal. It's something I knew that had to get done, so we picked the right day to do it. There's never a right day, so I picked today."
• Adibi is one of the frontrunners to start at strongside linebacker during Cushing's suspension in the first four games of the season, but he has missed the past two days with what Kubiak termed a "very good groin strain" on Wednesday afternoon. "I'm concerned right now with Adibi," Kubiak said. "I think everybody (else) will get back here pretty quickly, but he's going to miss some time. Obviously, we were counting on him very much so as a team. I feel bad for him because it seems like every time he gets on the brink, something happens. Hopefully, we can get past this and keep him healthy for a period of time."
• Kubiak singled out linebacker Darnell Bing, who's entering his third season out of USC, as having a "great morning" of practice. With Cushing away from the team and Diles and Adibi out, the Texans had only six linebackers on the field Wednesday morning. Rookie linebacker Darryl Sharpton also flashed with a couple of nice plays – read more in Wednesday's "Rookie Watch" feature.
• "Up and down" was how Kubiak described the play of backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky, who signed last year as a free agent from the Detroit Lions. Orlovsky lost the No. 2 job to Rex Grossman in 2009 after a shaky preseason, but he has made strides in the Texans' offense in his second offseason in Houston. "He's doing a lot of the things much better than he did last year," Kubiak said. "There are still some lapses from the standpoint of being consistent, but when you're the guy that's not playing a lot every day, that's usually what happens. He's just got to find that level of consistency with his amount of reps."
• Two friendly jokes highlighted the morning practice. Wide receiver Kevin Walter, celebrating his 29th birthday, got a pie stuffed in his face by quarterback Matt Schaub during an interview with a local TV station. Earlier, an unnamed culprit placed a small pink tricycle among the team's exercise bikes on the sidelines. The tricycle had 5-5, 165-pound rookie wide receiver Trindon Holliday's name and number stuck on the back of it.
Five Things Worth Quoting
"This is a brotherhood that we all have. We know and we understand that on this grass, this is our job. Guys are trying to take our job, opponents are trying to beat us and put us out of work, we're not going to let that happen. It's a new aura around here. It's a new attitude. Everybody is excited, and we're building a powerhouse."
- SS Bernard Pollard
"Whenever we get in the huddle, he has his own thing where he calls out the person there and puts his own little swing in there to get us a little krunk. He's emotional. He's an emotional leader."
- DE Antonio Smith, on Pollard's leadership style
"When we move him inside, you really start to see him produce and make more plays. He was more effective for us last year when we moved him inside and obviously, we'll be doing the same thing this year a bunch. He keeps getting better all the time at defensive end, but he really played more inside when he was in Arizona, and that's where he feels more comfortable. He's been doing a good job."
- Kollar, on Smith, who tied for second on the team with 4.5 sacks last season
"From what I've seen so far, there is absolutely no problem with his strength. In fact, this camp compared to camp last year, he's playing quite a bit stronger. He's playing with better leverage, better technique. Again, it's always the same thing: We need to keep working to get better pass-rush techniques. But the way he's been playing the run, I'm really pretty pleased with how he's doing."
- Kollar on DT Amobi Okoye, who reported to camp at 283 pounds, 13 pounds lighter than his playing weight in 2009
"I'm impressed how he coaches. He's a very detailed quarterback guy. He has a great relationship with his players. He has a lot information to give them when he talks to them. As a (former) quarterback myself, I think he's a hell of a coach. I would've loved to play for him. I like the way he goes about his business."
- Kubiak, on the relationship between quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp and Schaub