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Nick's Notes: J.J. Watt does one-handed catches, ILB depth thins

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Notes and quotes from the Texans' 11th day of 2012 Training Camp presented by XFINITY at the Methodist Training Center:

One-hand man: Six days removed from dislocating his left elbow, Texans defensive end J.J. Watt spent much of practice Wednesday morning catching one-handed passes from a JUGS machine with his right hand. "I don't like standing around," Watt said. "I don't like the guys seeing me not doing anything. The JUGS machine was free, I have a free hand, so (I'm) just doing anything I can." Watt has been working early mornings and late nights with the Texans' training staff. He was able to do pushups on Sunday, just three days after his injury. "He's impressive, guys," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "Y'all see it's just wearing him out not to be out there, but his rehab has been excellent. I think we're looking at possibly a great opportunity for him to maybe play at the end of the preseason, but we will do the right thing."

Johnson, Jackson updates: Wide receiver Andre Johnson, who missed most of last week with a groin injury, has seen a steady uptick in reps this week in the morning practices. "He's went from like 15 to 18 to 20 – probably a few more today," Kubiak said. "He's feeling really good. I've got to make a decision on him tomorrow about what we're going to do, but his week has been very good." Cornerback Kareem Jackson, out most of last week with a sore hamstring, took about 75 percent of his usual reps on Wednesday morning. "You can tell he's missed five or six days to me; I can just tell conditioning-wise compared to the rest of the guys," Kubiak said. "But I like his work, and he should be ready to play, do his part this weekend."

Dissipating depth at ILB: The Texans are losing bodies left and right at inside linebacker. Darryl Sharpton is on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list with a hip injury and has missed all of training camp. Brian Cushing spent Wednesday in a hospital with a virus. Keyaron Fox suffered a "significant" knee injury in practice on Wednesday morning, according to Kubiak, and could miss extensive time. Rookie Shawn Loiseau left Wednesday morning's practice with a groin injury but returned in the afternoon. Bradie James, Mister Alexander, Tim Dobbins and Greg Williams were the Texans' only unscathed inside linebackers on Wednesday. "I'm very concerned," Kubiak said. "We went through a whole practice this morning with four guys doing it. I told the team after practice, that's why Mister and Dobbins and Jesse (Nading) and (Bryan) Braman, that's why they make this team, because they can do all kinds of things. They're always out there; they're always going… Our team knows you can count on those guys. It was a gut check for the linebackers this morning, and they passed with flying colors."

Keenum impressing: Asked about John Beck and Case Keenum, who are competing for the Texans' third quarterback spot, Kubiak was effusive in his praise of Keenum, an undrafted rookie from Houston. "Beck has got experience," Kubiak said of the 3l-year-old veteran. "He's been in there before. But I've been really impressed with Case. I like his want to be good. He's a very driven young man. He works very hard at it. I think he's going to find a way. I just think that's what I see every day in practice. Football is very important to him. He's a leader. People kind of flock to him, and you can tell that in practice."

Praise for DBs: Kubiak said Wednesday morning that the Texans' passing offense had probably its best day so far in camp. That comment was especially encouraging in light of a subsequent remark Kubiak made about the Texans' secondary, which has looked dominant at times during camp. "It's as good of a group as I've ever went against, as a coach watching practice every day," Kubiak said. "I tell our offensive guys that if you can go out there and you can hold your own day-in and day-out against our group, you're not going to face many groups that are better. That's how much I think of our guys on our back end. It's a great competition. They've been very, very consistent in everything they've done."

Quotes of the Day
"What he's done is just be very consistent. He's a talented young man. He's the one guy out of the rookies that has acted like a pro from the get-go, handling himself mentally, physically and can run all day. This thing doesn't look too big for him, and that's a great sign for our team." – Texans head coach Gary Kubiak, on WR Keshawn Martin

"I like Sherrick, and I'll tell you why. I think Sherrick is an overachiever. When things get really, really hard, when everybody gets really, really tired, Sherrick seems to flourish. He finds a way to keep going. He's a grinder, and those guys play in this league for a long time." – Kubiak, on CB Sherrick McManis

"It's always special with my dad. He's my hero. He's my dad. He was my coach. I coached for him – all those things. I look up to him." – Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, on his father, Bum Phillips, being at practice on Wednesday morning

"I think I've played that way my whole life. It's got to be that way. You got to play like you have nothing to lose. I just know that at the end of it, I'm going to give it my all each day and just try to get as much out each rep and each day as I can." – Rookie QB Case Keenum, on if he feels like he has nothing to lose because he went undrafted

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