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Kubiak sees promise in rookies, poise in vets


The day after his Texans cruised to a 34-7 win over the Seahawks, head coach Gary Kubiak took questions from the media.

Hill done: The Texans received some bad news Monday when they found out rookie tight end Anthony Hill is finished for the season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

"We didn't know the severity of his injury (during the game)," Kubiak said. "He ended up playing like 10 or 12 plays in the game. Then they checked him out today and he did have a tear. I think it's the same one he tore in college, so he's got a long road ahead of him."

Kubiak said he and the training staff aren't sure exactly when Hill tore the ACL, because the rookie was hurt on the first play of the game and then later in the contest as well. Hill played through the injury and was on the field for the Texans' final offensive play.

Plusses for punt coverage: Sunday against the Seahawks, punter Matt Turk boomed four punts for an average of better than 44 yards per, including a crushing 52-yarder. The coverage unit performed well for special teams coordinator Joe Marciano and the Texans, allowing zero punt return yards.

"I think Matt has kicked pretty darn good," Kubiak said. "Matt's had a good five or six-week stretch here. He's done a good job."

Kubiak also liked the play of rookie cornerback Brice McCain, who's excelled as a gunner when the Texans punt.

"McCain's a young man who's gotten better and better as a player for us this year, not only on special teams but doing some good things coverage-wise," Kubiak said. "You're going to see him play some more football."

The kids are all right: Rookie Antoine Caldwell got his first professional start Sunday at right guard. The third-round draft pick out of Alabama did a good job, according to Kubiak.

"It was impressive, because he picked up his play," Kubiak said. "There are still some things, obviously, that he's got to improve upon. He's a very young player. But to got a chance to start in this league, his first start, and to play probably better than he's played all year long for us."

Second-year defender Dominique Barber started at free safety against the Seahawks. He finished with a pair of tackles and a fourth-quarter breakup of a pass intended for T.J. Houshmanzadeh.

"Barber did some good things last week and then was even better this week," Kubiak said. "The thing I was very impressed with Dominique, (is) he continued to play well on special teams for Joe, so he kind of carried a double load and did a good job."

Rookie running back Arian Foster provided a spark, amassing 88 yards from scrimmage. Thirty-four came courtesy of the run, while he also picked up 54 yards on four receptions.

"We were impressed with what Foster came in and did yesterday," Kubiak said. "He can learn a lot of things, but he handled his job in protection for the most part pretty good. I think we'll just get him involved more and give him an opportunity."

Setting the Bar(win) high: Defensive end Connor Barwin has 2.5 on the season and 14 total tackles. When asked about the rookie's performance this season, Kubiak sounded fairly pleased.

"I think we'd like to have maybe more production from a sacks standpoint and those types of things, but he's been a productive player," Kubiak said. "He's gotten better every week. I think when you look at his rookie season, I think it's been very positive. Can it be better? Yeah, it can always be better but I think he's headed in the right direction as a pro for a guy who only played one year of defensive football in college."

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