Head coach Gary Kubiak spoke to the media after practice Tuesday.
Practice insider has the scoop on all the buzzworthy items from Reliant Stadium on Tuesday, from the Texans' preparations for Saturday's battle for the Governor's Cup to impending roster cuts.
Governor's Cup on the line:The Houston Texans opened their first practice of the week with an intensity running as high as the scorching Texas heat. The players were all turning it up because the big "D" is coming to town. On Saturday, the Texans will challenge the Dallas Cowboys for the Governor's Cup, the legendary award given to the winner of the Houston-Dallas game.
"This is serious business," guard Chester Pitts said. "I remember when I came in as a rookie, that first game. It's never been that loud in the stadium since then. It's a memorable moment. We have to really find a way to go out there and make the fans happy."
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak agreed, pointing out that the game against the Cowboys will be close to matching a regular season test.
"It's kind of nice because it's the third preseason game," Kubiak said. "It's one that you're trying to simulate your regular season, and this adds juice to the situation. It's awesome. I know the stadium will be pumped. I know all the fans will be ready to go, and that's the way it's going to be when we open on Sundays."
Cuts to come:In less than a week, Texans coaches will issue their first round of cuts. And the decision-making process will not be easy. The competition has been fierce at wide receiver, fullback, tight end, center, punter – really just about every position on the field.
"It's very difficult, because they're about six days away from us having to make some tough decisions," Kubiak said. "The players can sense that with how many reps they're getting and what's going on. So it's really hard as a coach, because they've been giving you everything they have."
Rookie Jon Abbate, who switched from linebacker to fullback during training camp, has giving everything and more, making the competition at fullback particularly intense.
"The fullback situation is the one that is very, very difficult because Abbate's done some good things," Kubiak said. "Jameel's (Cook) not been out here. He will play this week if everything goes right here at practice. So that will probably be a very difficult decision."
Players know that cuts are part of the business and are trying to maintain perspective as they prepare for Saturday's game.
"You can't look over your shoulder because it's going to happen," cornerback Dexter Wynn said. "They're going to make decisions upstairs and you've just got to try and play to the best of your abilities every time you're out there. Like I said, you can't really play this game looking over your shoulder because you're not going to perform the way you should be. Just go out there, have fun and let them take care of everything else."
Ferguson forgets Houston:Free agent wide receiver Robert Ferguson decided not to sign with Houston, largely because of the depth at the wide receiver spot. The Houston native last played with Green Bay and has ties here with current Texans assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, but agreed to a deal Tuesday with the Minnesota Vikings. Kubiak said the decision showed positive signs for his receiving unit.
"It says something about the depth of our group," Kubiak said. "It's nice, too, as a coach, to feel good about your group that somebody you pick up isn't just automatically on your football team – they've got to earn the right to be here. I've got guys who've been here busting their tail from day one and doing a good job. We've got a tough enough job figuring out how to decide between the guys we've got here."
Weaving his way back:Defensive end Anthony Weaver continues to make progress strengthening his knee. On Tuesday, Weaver proved to Texans coaches that he will be ready to play against Kansas City.
"Today, he was doing a little one-on-one," Kubiak said. "We've been progressing his work. And today in the one-on-one he got a little soreness down in his knee, and (Texans head athletic trainer) Kevin (Bastin) pulled him out. We're hoping that he plays a little bit this week, but as far as his schedule and where he was headed, we feel like he's going to be fine for opening day."
Notes:Kubiak said the Texans most likely will keep four tight ends because of the ability of both Joel Dreessen and Ben Steele to play fullback…Chester Pitts is expected to return to the lineup and be ready to play this week…defensive linemen Earl Cochran and Travis Johnson should see more reps this week and likely will rotate in with the first unit against Dallas…Kubiak said that wide receiver Andre' Davis has more work to do but is "well on his way to making this football team."