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Nick's Notes: Mister Alexander steps up


Notes and quotes from the Texans' 12th day of 2012 Training Camp presented by XFINITY at the Methodist Training Center:

Rep count
Texans coach Gary Kubiak said the team's starters will get 12-15 snaps in the preseason opener at Carolina on Saturday.

Second-stringers will play for a quarter-and-a-half to two quarters. Third-stringers will play the final quarter-and-a-half or just the fourth quarter.

"It'll be nice to do something different tomorrow and hop on a plane," Kubiak said. "They need a break. They need to get some rest in the hotel and stuff and on the plane.

"We need to see them all play… Hopefully, we're ready to go."

Mister steps up
Second-year inside linebacker Mister Alexander practiced as a starter on Wednesday and Thursday with Brian Cushing sidelined by an illness. A product of Eisenhower High in Houston who went undrafted out of Florida State, Alexander excelled on special teams as a rookie after being activated from the Texans' practice squad in November.

"It feels great to finally be able to show the real Mister," Alexander said Thursday. "Last year, I was playing with a torn labrum in my left shoulder, so I was down a weapon. I was kind of wincing at hits when it was on my left-hand side, so I really couldn't just go all out and do what I wanted to do."

Alexander (6-3, 252), who has 4.6 speed in the 40-yard dash, is in line for significant playing time on Saturday at Carolina. 

"He's been impressive," Kubiak said. "He missed all the offseason with a couple surgeries. There was a question of whether or not he'd be ready for camp, and he's held up like a champ. He's getting a ton of reps, and he's proven to be a good special teams player. Now, can he be a consistent linebacker? It's been a big week for him, he's handled it, so we'll see how he does in the game."

Beck 3rd, Keenum 4th
Quarterback John Beck, a sixth-year veteran, will be the Texans' third quarterback on Saturday. Case Keenum, an undrafted rookie from the University of Houston, will be the fourth quarterback.

"I will play Beck before (Keenum) this week," Kubiak said. "I may reverse it next week, but I hope to play all four of them this week."

Beck signed with the Texans in May after two seasons with the Washington Redskins, where he played in essentially the same offense as the Texans'.

"He's doing good," Kubiak said. "He's a veteran player in a system that he should be comfortable with. I think he could be doing better than he's doing right now. I would tell him the same thing, but now it's time to go play and see. He's gotten a ton of reps. To me, I told him he came here to compete with T.J. (Yates) and Case. I think he's doing that, but I think there's another level for him to reach."

Injury report
Tight end Owen Daniels and nose tackle Shaun Cody sat out of practice on Thursday. It was a scheduled day of rest, one that Kubiak has given the two veteran players every fourth day on the recommendation of head athletic trainer/director of sports medicine Geoff Kaplan.

Rookie inside linebacker Shawn Loiseau returned to practice from a minor groin injury suffered on Wednesday morning.

Quotes of the Day
"The guy is explosive. Every time I see him at practice, I can't tell whether he's running hard or whether he's just striding or something like that. The guy is just so fluid in his movements. He's a phenomenal back." – Rookie OLB Whitney Mercilus, the first-round draft pick from Illinois, on Texans RB Arian Foster

"Man, he has made a lot of progress. I guess I'm giving him a hell of a compliment, but I've told you guys all along, football is important to him. He really works at it. I really like the way he's responded to his opportunity here in Houston. I think we're all excited to see him play." – Texans head coach Gary Kubiak, on rookie QB Case Keenum

"I stayed here the whole offseason, not a day off. (Except) probably weekends, but right back at it the next week. Hard work pays off, I guess." – ILB Mister Alexander, on rehabbing from offseason surgery to get ready in time for training camp

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