Notes from the Texans' practice and locker room on Wednesday at Reliant Stadium:
Taking on TennesseeThe Tennessee Titans may have a new head coach in former Oilers great and Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive lineman Mike Munchak, but that doesn't mean they're a totally different outfit. Munchak retained several assistants who, like he, served under former head coach Jeff Fisher. Texans head coach Gary Kubiak is impressed with their team makeup, and sees many similarities from the previous regime.
"They play extremely hard and are very physical," Kubiak said. "Their offense has changed quite a bit from before so we have to adjust to that. Defensively, they do have a new coordinator, but a lot of the schemes are the same. I think it's a same type of game, a very physical game with those guys."
Added significance?With a 3-3 record and the chance to supplant the Titans in the AFC South's top spot, the question of whether or not this Sunday's matchup is more important than most games was brought up with Kubiak and the players. The head coach didn't agree.
"No, they're all important," Kubiak said. "I don't think you can put a thumb on any one game. You can probably look back at the end of the season and be able to do that. But right now, you've just got to make sure and play as good as you can play each week."
Linebacker Connor Barwin agreed with Kubiak in that whatever game is next is the most important. But he also added that because a division lead is at stake, this contest with the Titans is a bit different than some in years past.
"It's a huge game, and we need to win a game, too," Barwin said. "We can't lose any more games, so no, I don't think it's a secret to anybody. I don't think anybody around here thinks it's not that important. I think we all understand what's at stake."
Berry Children visit practiceThe Texans had some special visitors for Wednesday's workout at the Methodist Training Center: the Berry children. Peter, Aaron and Willa Berry were in a car accident this summer that claimed the lives of their parents. Peter and Aaron both suffered spinal cord injuries, and they came out today with a cousin. Several team members visited the children in the hospital since then, and the team enjoyed having them out at practice this afternoon.
"We invited them out for a couple of weeks and then finally they were able to get a chance to come out," Kubiak said. "It's good to see them."
Quarterback Matt Schaub was also happy to see Peter and Aaron, as he'd visited the children in the hospital shortly after the accident this summer.
"It meant so much to have them come out," Schaub said. "For them to come out and have such positive energy and smiles on their faces, it really lifts us up more than we lifted them up. It's fun to have them be a part of things. They're part of our community and part of our family here in Houston. It's just great to see them come out."
Quotable"Big game. Got to go get it. That's it. Got to go get it." – Running back Ben Tate on the importance of Sunday's game in Tennessee.
"It's impressive. It's awesome. Two sacks, the forced fumble, the fumble recovery, it's a performance I'm hoping to get very soon here. I need one of those type of days." –Defensive end J.J. Watt on what defensive end Tim Jamison did Sunday against the Ravens.