Head coach Gary Kubiak spoke to the media after practice Thursday.
Captain Ryans: The Texans coaching staff wants DeMeco Ryans to be even more of a team leader in his second season. His teammates are ready for that to happen as well, having selected the 2006 defensive rookie of the year as one of the Texans' captains for Sunday's Liberty White Kickoff.
"It's a definitely a great feeling any time you're elected captain by your teammates," Ryans said. "It's always great to be respected by your teammates. When you do that, you really feel like you really accomplished something when you have your teammates really feeling like you can go out there and be the leader of the team for them."
Ryans wasn't surprised by the selection of teammates Kris Brown and Andre Johnson as fellow captains.
"I think those guys were a shoe in for it also," he said. "They are great leaders on and off the field. When you have great character guys like that, great guys on and off the field, doing things the right way, guys look up to them."
Injury free and ready to go: Head coach Gary Kubiak reported that there are no new injuries as Sunday approaches.
"We're fine," he said. "We have everybody out at practice. There are a couple of guys that are just a little dinged up, but they'll be one hundred percent. We should be okay."
Defensive end Anthony Weaver has fully recovered from his knee rehabilitation as expected and will be an asset to the defense on Sunday.
"He's looked good in practice," Kubiak said. "We have to be smart on how much we play him, so we'll put a play count on him, but he's a factor.
"Just watching him practice today, what he brings to our team, he's a leader of our football team amongst that group, along with DeMeco (Ryans). I'm just hoping that we've had the right plan all along on how we brought him along and then we have to be smart on how we play him."
The difference is Green: Kubiak's offenses in Denver consistently ranked among the league's best in rushing. The Texans' run game surged at the end of last season, and it appears that with Ahman Green now in the backfield, Houston's offense is on its way to replicating Kubiak's successes with the Broncos.
"Our guys up front know right now that if they give that guy a crease, he can make a big, big play," Kubiak said of Green. "That puts a big time confidence level in those guys up front. I just think it's kind of brought some enthusiasm and a little bit more bounce in the step to the whole group."
One of those guys up front, left tackle Ephraim Salaam, spoke excitedly about Green's ability to break tackles.
"Throughout his career, he's been that type of running back," Salaam said. "It's definitely something, as an offensive lineman, I love. We can't block them all. We're going to block most of them, but we can't block them all. Sometimes we need you to get past the one or two defenders that are left, and he does that well."
Let's go Boul-ing: Kubiak said after practice that he plans to use Michael Boulware mostly on special teams this week, but also may use him in short-yardage situations against the run.
"He can definitely go in those situations," Kubiak said. "You can get him down in the box. (But) for us to go and put a big load on him, I mean he's only been here for a week. I think would be wrong. I think we let him be a factor on special teams and then we'll go from there."
But Kubiak admitted that Boulware probably could be pressed into action if the course of the game calls for it.
"You know what, he could play," Kubiak said. "Could we throw our whole package in there with him? Maybe not. (Boulware) knew a great deal of what we were doing before he came here, and we knew that. I think he's made up some ground in the last couple of days. He should be a factor on special teams and if something happens, he can play."
Playing to win: Defensive end Mario Williams has a simple expectation for his defense against the Chiefs: Play the game the right way. The defense played well in the preseason, and Williams knows carrying that momentum into the regular season will produce good results.
"Being that it is the first regular season game, the whole point of us going out there is basically to play mistake free," he said. "That's our goal, and hopefully we can accomplish that."
His personal goals for the game revolve not around sacks or individual statistics, but on helping the defense in any way that he can.
"My biggest goal is just to go out there and make plays, no matter when it is," Williams said. "Even if I don't make a tackle, as long as I know I helped make that play. Just going out there and letting it loose, that's all I'm worried about."