Notes from the Texans' practice and locker room on Wednesday at Reliant Stadium:
Johnson TalkWide receiver Andre Johnson missed practice because of his hamstring injury. For more details on his health, status for Sunday and more, click here.
Spreading the wealth
Without Johnson in the lineup, the question of who gets the ball in his place is a natural one. Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison said that the distribution of passes might be more diverse with Johnson on the sideline.
"I think if anything, it will distribute the ball more because he gets open all the time," Dennison said. "We've got some guys that can get open. Hopefully we'll do enough running that they'll have to crowd the line and make plays."
Defending the Run
The NFL's leading rusher comes to town on Sunday in the form of Raiders running back Darren McFadden. With 468 yards through the first quarter of the season, the former Arkansas standout is good for 6.2 yards a carry. Everyone on the Texans' defense knows the challenge ahead.
"I don't know if we have any secrets," linebacker Connor Barwin said. "We just have to tackle McFadden before he gets out in the open field and can make any big plays."
Inside linebacker Brian Cushing said Wednesday that he relishes the chance to play against one of the best.
"It's something I'm looking forward to," Cushing said. "I think as a linebacker, it's a game you anticipate. They have a hell of a running back and a great running game, so it's something we're definitely looking forward to going into the week."
Backs on the Mend
Arian Foster carried the ball 30 times Sunday against the Steelers, in large part because Ben Tate injured his groin in the early part of the game. Fellow running back Derrick Ward was inactive because of his ankle and shoulder ailments, leaving just Foster and Chris Ogbonnaya as the lone running backs available. Today, Tate and Ward missed practice, but gave updates on what the week holds for them.
"It's getting there," Tate said. "I ran today and ran pretty good, so we'll see how I progress."
He added that he's progressing "better" than he thought he would, but that he and the medical staff were being cautious and not rushing back.
Ward, meanwhile, said that his rehab of the ankle sprain is progressing better than expected, and that he might be able to practice fully on Friday.
"I feel like I can do more than I did last week, obviously," Ward said. "Today was another stepping stone that I accomplished as far as cutting and running 80, 85 percent today, so I'm going to try to pick it up to 100 percent tomorrow and see how he goes from there."
Quotable"We're no slappies out there and we can get the job done." – WR Kevin Walter on the wide receivers corps being capable of contributing without Andre Johnson in the lineup.
"Nothing's changed but my underwear everyday." –WR Jacoby Jones on if his mindset is different now that he'll start in place of Johnson.