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Notes: Familiar faces, explosive plays


Notes from the Texans' practice and locker room on Wednesday at Reliant Stadium:

Johnson, Casey returnWide receiver Andre Johnson and fullback James Casey returned to the practice field Wednesday, and for more on that story, click here.

Foster on a roll
For the third time in his career, running back Arian Foster was named the AFC’s Offensive player of the week. But none of what he was able to do on Sunday in Nashville came as a surprise to offensive coordinator Rick Dennison.

"He just (never) ceases to amaze, I guess," Dennison said. "He just keeps making big plays when we need them. I think that's the thing about Arian; he wants the ball in crucial situations and he makes the plays."

Foster was modest when asked Wednesday about his big-play ability, keying in on the obvious benefits from scoring long touchdowns.

"I'm not talking about myself, but I think any time a player on the offensive side of the ball can score from anywhere, it just adds that dynamic to your offense and I think it's important," Foster said.

Familiar FoesThe Texans and Jaguars have squared off twice a season since 2002, so the two squads are quite familiar with each other. Even though Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, linebacker Brooks Reed and Jacksonville quarterback Blaine Gabbert are rookies, they still know quite a bit about each other as well. All three share the same agent and worked out together before the 2011 NFL Draft.

"J.J.'s a great guy and I also trained with Brooks Reed out in Arizona," Gabbert said. "We just had a chance to work out together, hang out and they're both really good guys and two of my buds and they've been playing well this season."

Watt and Gabbert said they won't talk at all this week prior to the game, but the Texans first rounder is impressed with what his fellow rookie has done thusfar for the Jaguars.

"As a quarterback, he's a mobile guy," Watt said. "He can move around a little bit. We just need to keep him contained and try to get as much pressure on him as we can."

Pocket Hercules
The Texans defense, collectively, said they'll have their hands full Sunday when they square off against the AFC's rushing leader in Maurice Jones-Drew.

"He's a big threat," Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said. "He's going to touch the ball, somehow, some way, so we'll have to do a good job on Sunday."

Jones-Drew has gained 84 yards or more in every game in 2011, twice eclipsing the 100-yard barrier. Watt and the defense don't intend to be the third team to allow Jones-Drew to top that mark.

"Obviously, our goal is to stop him," Watt said. "He's a very good running back in this League and they have a great running attack. If we can keep him under 100 yards, that's our goal. We just want to go out there and stop the run."

Quotable"I don't know. I got a target on my chest. I'm just a peaceful guy. I mind my business. I don't mess with anybody." –Running back Arian Foster, with a smile on his face, when asked about why teammates put masking tape all over his locker.

"Well, he got my vote, I know that." –Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, when asked about Foster getting the AFC Offensive Player of the Week award.

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