The Texans will have to increas their pressure upfront to contain Jacksonville running back Fred Taylor.
The Texans practiced Wednesday with redemption on their minds. Houston (7-8) is looking to bounce back from its loss at Indy and finish the season with the best record in franchise history.
Lessons learned: When the Texans host Jacksonville (11-4) on Sunday, they have a chance to finish with the best record in franchise history at 8-8. If Houston loses, the team will be winless in the AFC South for the second time.
The Texans have improved in head coach Gary Kubiak's second year, but Sunday's 35-18 loss to the Colts showed Kubiak that his team still has a ways to go before becoming a Super Bowl contender.
"There's a lot of things we need to learn to do better to become a playoff football team or a team that has a chance to play for a championship someday," Kubiak said. "We learned some lessons from this team we played last week.
"We're all very, very disappointed in the way we played and the way we coached. We need to do something about it."
The Texans got started Wednesday, preparing for a Jags team that rushed for 244 yards and averaged 9.4 yards per carry in their last outing against the Texans.
"We've got one more game against a great team, another playoff team, and we have to treat this like our playoff," wideout André Davis said. "We're going to make sure that we prepare just as hard as we do any other week and try and go out on a winning note."
The Jaguars clinched a wild-card playoff spot and the fifth seed in the AFC playoffs for the second time in the last three seasons by routing the Oakland Raiders 49-11. Coach Jack Del Rio is expected to rest some players, including quarterback David Garrard and running back Fred Taylor; however, the Texans aren't taking anything for granted.
They learned that lesson Sunday.
Staying committed: Kubiak praised Del Rio for staying committed to his game plan this season, especially at the quarterback position.
"They got off to a slow start this year," Kubiak said. "It looked like early in the season, things weren't going as well for them. But they stayed committed to what they were doing. They stayed committed to their choice at quarterback, and he (Del Rio) made their team believe."
Against Oakland on Sunday, Garrard led the team on scoring drives in their first four possessions. He finished 11-of-18 passing for 199 yards and ran in a touchdown. Taylor chipped in 111 yards rushing on seven carries.
"I think the thing that stood out about David (Garrard) is he has not had things go exactly how he maybe hoped they would; yet, his character really showed through because he handled himself with a great deal of class," Del Rio said. "It was always team first and he continued to work hard and he gave himself an opportunity to compete. In the end, he ended up winning the job, and he did that because of that approach, because he continued to work hard."
Kubiak and his players have been most impressed by Garrard's consistency.
"I'm very impressed with him on film," cornerback Fred Bennett said. "He has a nice touch on the ball. His receivers are making plays now. Every throw he makes isn't perfect, but the way his receivers catch the ball and the things he does, the way he runs the offense, like you said, he doesn't turnover the ball, he takes very good care of the ball."
Kubiak sees the same thing.
"He's been rock solid," Kubiak said. "He's protected the ball.
"For them to be sitting there with that kid knowing he's going to be there a long, long time has to be a big key to their football team."
Injury outlook: Quarterback Matt Schaub, who has been out the last three games with a shoulder injury, took almost all the reps with the scout team. It was the most the starting quarterback has practiced since suffering the injury in Week 13. Kubiak would like to see Schaub back up quarterback Sage Rosenfels against the Jaguars.
"I'm hoping that he is able to play," Kubiak said. "At the same time, he's only going to play if I think he's 100 percent."
Schaub, who is wearing a harness on his left arm, wants to finish the season on the field with the team.
"I wanted to be out there with the guys the past three weeks, but unfortunately that wasn't the case," Schaub said. "I've just got to get myself best prepared to play and be able to go in there and compete and play hard.
"You've got to be out there with your guys every week, week in and week out in this league to be successful, to get in the playoffs and to move on and get to where you want to go as a ball club and as a team."
Right tackle Eric Winston is still sore from getting kicked in the back against the Colts. If Winston is not able to go on Sunday, Rashad Butler will get extensive playing time.
Another concern is defensive end Anthony Weaver, who is nursing a shoulder injury. Defensive end Earl Cochran, who was one of the few bright spots in Indy, could start for Weaver against the Jaguars.
Linebacker DeMeco Ryans sat out of practice with a sore right knee. He will be a game-time decision.
Wide receiver Andre Johnson did not work out because of a sore knee, but the two-time Pro Bowler should return to practice on Thursday.
"Playing on that turf, it really bangs it up pretty good," Johnson said. " We practiced on the turf today and I sat out of practice. But I'm fine. I'll be able to play on Sunday."
Roster moves: Defensive tackle DelJuan Robinson moved up from the practice squad to the active roster and running back Arliss Beach signed with the practice squad. The Texans waived running back Adimchinobi Echemandu to make room on their roster.
The 6-3, 296-Robinson was signed by the Texans as an undrafted free agent in May after graduating from Mississippi State. During the preseason, the defensive tackle recorded four tackles and a half sack.
Beach was signed by the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent from the University of Kentucky in 2006. He spent his first pro season on injured reserve.
Injury report: For the Texans' official injury report, click here.