Regulating the preseason: The Houston Texans once again prepared for Saturday's game against Dallas as if they were practicing during the regular season. The rivalry game will certainly rival regular season conditions. Texans players, coaches and fans want to recapture the Governor's Cup, the award given to the winner of the Houston-Dallas game, and they want to regain Texas football bragging rights.
"You're playing against another Texas team," cornerback Demarcus Faggins said. "There's just two in Texas, so we want to be the best team out there."
And to be the best, the Texans are going to give the starting unit extensive playing time.
"They're going to play upwards of a whole three quarters, and they know that," Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said. "So their preparation and how we prepare this week and how we rep this week is exactly the way we'll do it for Kansas City. It's the veteran players getting into the frame of mind of the regular season is what it is."
Starting wide receiver Kevin Walter said Dallas' physical 3-4 defense has him focusing with such a regular season mentality.
"These guys are a top defense in the league," Walter said. "And it's a great challenge for us. And we definitely need to bring our A-game, because we know these guys are going to be physical. We've just got to match them."
The man with a plan: To match the Cowboys, Kubiak knows the team has to improve in two key areas, mainly creating better run opportunities for Ahman Green and improving the pass rush defense.
"I think on the offensive side of the ball, we ran the ball better last week, but we didn't run the ball good enough," Kubaik said. "We've got to create some cracks for number 30, and none tougher to try to do that than this group. It's a great challenge for us, but we've got to get him going. On the defensive side of the ball, we continue to concentrate on getting pressure. But one of the things this week for sure, is that this team will run the ball right down your throat. We're going to find out how stout we can be."
Jones has the juice: After scoring on an acrobatic 80-yard punt return, rookie wide receiver Jacoby Jones has everyone wondering if he'll be the team's next big playmaker. His speed and field awareness are top notch, but, more importantly, Jones' coaches think he has the chops for NFL success.
"It's all about confidence,' Kubiak said. "You can scout talent and all those things, but you really can't scout just self confidence. The kid thinks he belongs. It's been that way since day one. The thing I've been impressed with is how well-conditioned he is. He can go all day."
As for his Deion Sanders-style touchdown return dance, Jones still thinks he has some work to do.
"I don't think I picked my legs up high enough," Jones said.
Tight end tinkering: Kubiak said the team will likely carry four tight ends on the roster this season. And the versatility of the players competing for those four spots has forced the coaches into a highly complex decision-making process.
"You know, it's funny, those number, you play with them every day- I sit up on my board and play with those numbers and we talk about this and if we pull one from here, we can add one to here," Kubiak said. "It's like a chess match.
"You try to get Jeb (Putzier) more involved in the passing game. Owen (Daniels) can do both. (Mark) Bruener's more the physical player. So it's a challenge for you as coaches, and the biggest challenge is Sunday getting the personnel exactly the way you want it in a game so you don't put a player in a vulnerable position."
Notes: Defensive end Anthony Weaver is still suffering from a sore knee and is not likely for Saturday's game. Weaver is working on getting ready for opening day on September 9.