The grass in the Reliant Park bubble may be fake, but the Texans' preparation and anticipation for Saturday's game against the Dallas Cowboys was very real.
The Texans practiced for about an hour and a half Friday morning, devoting all their attention to the Cowboys.
"We do want to win," starting quarterback David Carr said. "Anytime these guys come down here or we go up there or whatever it's always going to be a big deal, whether its preseason, regular season or a photo shoot. We've got to make a good showing and we will."
Head coach Dom Capers said several rookies would get chances Saturday. Starters will see limited action.
Carr will play "one or two series." Running back Domanick Davis will not play in the game. Capers said he wants to be cautious with last season's Rookie of the Year because of small injuries to his leg and ankle.
Capers said the team will "make an attempt to get the large majority of players in the game."
Rookie cornerback Dunta Robinson and linebacker Jason Babin will get extended playing time. Robinson will play the entire first half and on third downs in the third and fourth quarter. Babin will play 20 to 25 snaps.
"You want to see how your players respond in a game situation, how they handle the pressure of playing against another team," Capers said. "We're always looking to start to establish our identity in terms of playing hard, playing smart and playing physical."
Head coach Bill Parcells will take a similar approach in dividing playing time. He also has a plan to deal with injury problems.
"There's a couple of receivers we can't play, we just haven't got enough," Parcells said Friday. "Everybody else, defensively, across the board, they should all get something. It would be mostly offensively, there might be a couple linemen that don't play this week because I want to look at a couple guys more extensively and then I'll play these other guys next week."
As for quarterback, Parcells said Tony Romo understands the offense. He will play behind starter Vinny Testaverde. Drew Henson is also expected to see significant playing time in his first trip to Houston since the Texans drafted him last year.
It will also be the first trip to Houston for the Cowboys since the Texans upset them 19-10 in the team's inaugural game.
"They're a different team, we're a different team," Carr said. "That was a couple of years ago. We've changed a lot. Hopefully we can go out and just be consistent and do what we're doing now because I have a lot better feeling about our team now than I did back then."