Practice report: Casey's chance?

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James Casey might see quite a bit of action Sunday in Nashville

It was another breezy late-morning practice at the Methodist Training Center on Thursday for the Texans. Afterward, head coach Gary Kubiak spoke with the media in a brief question-and-answer session.

Casey's big chance: Rookie tight end James Casey turned heads in training camp and the preseason with his versatility, sure hands and ability to pick things up quickly. Now, the former Rice Owl may even start this Sunday… at fullback.

Vonta Leach is still nursing a bruised knee and ran on the sidelines during today's practice. He is listed as day-to-day. Casey got all of Leach's reps at fullback in practice, and if Leach is a no-go, Gary Kubiak said Casey would start against the Titans.

"It's a nice place to get your first start as a pro, going to Tennessee, lining up and doing some iso at fullback," Kubiak said with a smile. "He's worked really good. We have no problems with him mentally. He knows what's going on. He's going to need an opportunity like this to see the speed of the National Football League. His chance may be coming sooner than later."

Casey is excited about the possibility of starting, but he said he wasn't going to be overwhelmed by such an opportunity in only his second regular season game as a professional football player.

"It would obviously be a little bit different than Sunday when I only played about five or six plays on special teams," Casey said. "I'm just going to treat it like any other game, just going to go out there and be ready to play a lot. It's all about just trying to take advantage of all the opportunities I get."

{QUOTE} But, Kubiak said, don't rule out Leach just yet.

"If (Leach) comes out and practices tomorrow, I think he's got a good chance," Kubiak said. "But he's going to have to make some improvement."

Brown's impact: Backup running back Chris Brown will see action for the first time at LP Field since he left the Titans as an unrestricted free agent after the 2007 season. Brown was a Titan for five years and was drafted by Tennessee after a collegiate career at Colorado. Kubiak would like to see more carries from Brown than the three he had against the Jets.

"We'd love to have Chris come out of a game with 10 or 12 carries all the time for our team," Kubiak said. "But we haven't been past the 20-carry mark as a football team in a while, so hopefully we're able to run the ball somewhat effectively, so we get to see them (Brown and Steve Slaton) both. If he's carrying it 10 or 12 times, then I bet we're carrying it 35 times, so that's something we'd like to come out of the game with."

Kubiak also is impressed with how Brown runs the football.

"In short-yardage, you like his big body," Kubiak said. "Red zone, you like his big body. But if you're running the ball in this league and you're running it 35 times on a weekend, there's plenty of carries to go around for two guys. So we'd like to be able to play them both and rotate them from that standpoint, but it just hasn't happened."

Health update: A handful of Texans are banged-up and in various stages of being ready to play against the Titans. Wide receiver Kevin Walter practiced some this morning, as well as safety Eugene Wilson and cornerback Jacques Reeves. Kubiak said all three are listed as day-to-day, said that Wilson looked "good," while Reeves took the full amount of reps.

Along with Leach, defensive tackle Shaun Cody and cornerback Antwaun Molden did not participate in drills this morning.

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