The Texans practiced outside Saturday morning, and a few players who've missed time due to injury were able to get in a little more work.
Anxiously awaiting?: Rookie linebacker Brian Cushing practiced longer today and continues to get closer to seeing game action. Right now, it looks like he'll miss the Monday Night Football contest with the Vikings but be ready in time for the Friday nighter at Tampa Bay.
"I think if it was a regular season game, we'd be a gametime decision on him," head coach Gary Kubiak said. "Obviously, we're not going to do that this week, but he's made a lot of progress."
Another defender coming back from injury is defensive tackle Travis Johnson, who also practiced with the team Saturday. Unlike Cushing, Kubiak thinks the chances of Johnson getting into the game with Minnesota are more realistic.
"He will be a gametime decision," Kubiak said. "He looked pretty good moving around, so we'll see where he's at on Monday."
Cornering the market: Without Dunta Robinson and Jacques Reeves, the cornerback spot has seen a lot of young faces, combined with 10-year veteran Deltha O'Neal, who joined the team during training camp on Aug.6. Kubiak said that while O'Neal's adjustment to the team has been a bit slow, it looks like the two-time Pro Bowler will soon make some more significant contributions.
"We got Deltha when we had a little crisis in camp with Jacques (Reeves) going down, and all these young players," he said. "But he's been practicing well. He did some good things in the game the other night in the second half, so we'll take another look at him this week."
Thrust into action: Rookie corners Brice McCain and Glover Quin are seeing more significant reps in nickel defense packages, and Kubiak said the two will be counted upon in 2009.
"I've never been on a team with two rookie starters when you say nickel up," Kubiak said. "But that's our hand, and (defensive backs coach) David (Gibbs) is doing a great job bringing those guys along. We're going to have to have them play above and beyond this year for our football team to get to where it wants to go. So we've got to handle the situation as a staff and as players."
The "Flash" is back: Cletis Gordon, whose nickname is "Flash," signed on Thursday and practiced for the first time as a Texan on Friday. He practiced again Saturday and continues to adjust to his new surroundings.
"It feels great; I feel like I have an opportunity here, and it's closer to home," said Gordon, an Amite City, La., native. "It's a great chance for my friends and family to come out and see me play."
Gordon said that he wants to contribute quickly to his new team.
"I just want to come in and learn, get on the field and help this defense," Gordon said. "It's a young, talented group, and the guys work hard here. I'm getting into the playbook right now and learning the terminology and the different techniques. Hopefully, Monday or Friday I'll get a chance to show what I can do."
Welcome any time:Fans are encouraged to arrive early to the Reliant area for Monday's game with Minnesota. Parking gates open at 3 p.m. Monday afternoon, four hours prior to the 7 p.m. kickoff.