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Practice Insider - Wednesday


Sage Rosenfels threw for 290 yards Sunday and could start for an injured Matt Schaub against the Chargers.

Before Wednesday's practice, the Houston Texans still had not heard where they will play Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers. Wildfires raging in Southern California have forced hundreds of thousands of residents out of their homes, and San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium is currently being used as an evacuation center.

Personnel moves: With quarterback Matt Schaub hobbled by the thigh, ankle, hip and back injuries he suffered against the Titans, the Texans decided to clear space on their practice squad for a reserve quarterback.

On Tuesday, the team placed running back Samkon Gado on waivers and replaced him on the active roster with running back Adimchinobi Echemandu, who was signed to the practice squad earlier this month.

Echemandu, a four-year veteran who had been released by the Raiders, said he was thrilled to move on from a practice squad experience that seemed more like an audition.

"They see what you can do (on the practice squad); if you can play, then they'll move you up," the running back said.

"I think I just showed I work hard and have some skills, so they thought that was enough to move me up, and I appreciate that."

The Texans filled with the open spot with quarterback Shane Boyd, who had been on the Cardinals' practice squad before being waived.

Head coach Gary Kubiak considered bringing back quarterback Jared Zabranksy, the Boise State standout who was released from the practice squad in mid-September. However, those talks did not pan out, and Kubiak liked what he saw from Boyd in the preseason.

"We played against him in the preseason when we played Arizona," Kubiak said. "We liked what he did - very positive about coming in here and wanting to compete and get better, so we brought him in."

Boyd jumped right into practice Wednesday, showing enthusiasm for his new role.

"I'm sure I'll be taking a lot of those reps and as I'm learning the offense, I'll continue to get better so they can continue to get more confidence in me and prepare me just in case something happens," Boyd said. "You never know when an injury can be re-aggravated and I'd have a more significant role, so I know they want me to get around this learning curve pretty quick."

Boyd signed with Tennessee as an undrafted free agent in 2005 after playing for the University of Kentucky. He had been working out to stay in shape when his agent, whom he shares with defensive tackle Amobi Okoye, negotiated the deal.

Schaub healing: Kubiak is still hoping Schaub can play against San Diego, but if he's not healthy, Sage Rosenfels will assume starting duties.

Rosenfels took the majority of the snaps in practice, but the head coach was impressed with Schaub's mobility.

"I'd say he's still day-to-day," Kubiak said. "It would have been hard to throw him on the football field today before a Wednesday practice in the NFL when everybody is beat up and barely moving around anyway. He was right in there amongst us, so like I said, I thought it was positive."

Schaub had practiced gingerly with wide receiver Andre Johnson and undergone extensive rehab treatments earlier this week, both of which paid off on Wednesday.

"It felt pretty good to move around and get out there and loosen up and go through plays and test it out," Schaub said. "It felt pretty good. Obviously, it's just the first day out there to practice, so now I've got to get it rested and ready for tomorrow."

The workouts did not aggravate Schaub's injuries, but he wants to increase his speed before returning to the field.

"In this game, you have to be able to move around and make some plays outside the pocket, within the pocket and to avoid pass rushers and blitzers," Schaub said. "So I just want to make sure I feel comfortable that I can do that."

If Schaub isn't comfortable rolling out of the pocket, Rosenfels said he will be ready to when his number is called.

"I think it's knowing your seat on the bus," Rosenfels said. "Coach Kubiak is the driver of the bus, and I have my seat on the bus. Sometimes it's in the front when the team needs me and sometimes it's in the back trying to help the guys in the front."

"That's why together, everyone accomplishes more. It's the team aspect of the game."

Riding shotgun: Against Tennessee, both quarterbacks successfully used the shotgun to avoid pressure. Kubiak has preferred having the signal callers under center, but he has also let them decide when to switch to shotgun.

"We're pretty effective doing it, but I tend to leave that to the quarterbacks," Kubiak said. "If they feel comfortable doing it, that's fine with me."

Both quarterbacks ran the shotgun in college and like going to it when they need a protection advantage.

"The strength of being in shotgun is that on certain blitzes, like when the Mike linebacker goes right over Mike Flanagan or one of the guards, they don't have to make a call that would leave a defensive end free or a tackle free and the running back would have to block them," Rosenfels said.

Schaub agreed, adding that he has not been game-planning to use the shotgun more because of his injuries.

"There's certain spots and there's certain plays that you like from the shotgun, and there's certain plays that you'd rather be under center for depending on the timing or where the throw's going or the potential for blitzers," Schaub said. "You pick and choose the plays and the spots where you want to do it."

Johnson & Jones: Wide receiver Andre Johnson practiced with the team, going through 20 minutes of individual workouts. It was his most extensive workout since spraining his left knee in Week 2.

The Pro Bowler will continue to increase his contact repetitions, but Kubiak said the wideout is doubtful for Sunday's game.

"I would say that's a reach still for Andre until he gets out here in the competitive environment," Kubiak said. "He was doing individual drills and stuff like that, so that was a big step forward. We'll see how he responds tomorrow."

Wide receiver Jacoby Jones' shoulder did not hinder him from going through a full practice on offense and special teams. The rookie said he fell hard on his shoulder early in the game against Tennessee but that he doesn't expect that to slow him down this week.
Injury Report: For the Texans' official injury report, please click here.

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