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Friday notebook: Kubiak happy with tempo, communication


With their weekly schedule pushed back a day because of Monday Night Football, the Texans had a Thursday-like practice on Friday at the Methodist Training Center.

Players continue to look fresh and rejuvenated coming off their bye week.

"It was a real good practice," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "We had some good tempo in what we're doing. We need to finish up well tomorrow, but we are having a good week."

As Brian Cushing directs the defense at middle linebacker for the first time, Kubiak has emphasized the need for all 11 players on defense need to communicate with each other.

"I like the way we are talking," Kubiak said. "That's probably the biggest thing this week with some of the changes with the communication, because we know that we'll be in a hostile environment where communication will be of the utmost of importance. I like what I've seen in the way that we've been communicating."

Brisiel back
Right guard Mike Brisiel, who has started three games this season, returned this week from a knee injury. He sat out the Texans' Week 6 victory over the Chiefs.

Now that he's back, Brisiel could be in line to play in a rotation with Antoine Caldwell against the Colts.

"He has looked good the last two days, and we are hoping that he could carry his load," Kubiak said. "We have been playing him and Caldwell pretty much even, so I don't expect it to change."  

Players-only meeting
Defensive end Antonio Smith said that he called a players-only meeting earlier this week out of frustration with the way the Texans' defense has played.

Smith is a defensive captain and one of few players on the team with Super Bowl experience. He worked his way up from the Arizona Cardinals' practice squad to become a regular starter, eventually helping Arizona reach Super Bowl XLII in the 2008 season.

"I just basically wanted to give whatever bit of knowledge that I have from what I've been through in this game and try to relay to my teammates the sacrifices that need to be made by myself and everybody else on the defense," Smith said. "I just think that there were some things that needed to be said."

Smith said that a similar meeting occurred last season after three games, when the Texans had the worst rushing defense in the league. DeMeco Ryans and Dunta Robinson called that meeting. Ryans is now on injured reserve, while Robinson is with the Atlanta Falcons.

"Sometimes, you've got to pump each other up talk to each other and hold each other accountable," Smith said. "I think a coach can tell you that until he's blue in the face. You want to please your coach and want to do right, but I think that it's more pressure when your brother puts the pressure on you and when your peers put the pressure on you."

Kubiak, who played in the NFL for nine seasons with the Denver Broncos, was asked what he thought about Smith calling the meeting.

"That's up to the players," Kubiak said. "He plays hard and he does his job. Guys that do their job, players don't mind them standing up and speaking their piece and telling them what they think. He's a guy that they know that they can count on every week."

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