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Practice report: Ready for Rex


The Texans practiced outside on a muggy Thursday morning at the Methodist Traning Center in preparation for the season opener against the New York Jets.

Schaub still improving: Quarterback Matt Schaub went through a full practice on Wednesday, and did the same — and then some -- again this morning, according to head coach Gary Kubiak.

"He took everything he normally does and probably a little more," Kubiak said. "Matt is much better today, so he's progressed each day and I feel very good about it."

Walter's readiness: Receiver Kevin Walter worked again today with head athletic trainer Geoff Kaplan and continues to recover from the hamstring injury he suffered against the Vikings two Mondays ago. Walter was good for 899 receiving yards in 2008, and even though he wasn't mixing it up with his teammates today, there's still a chance he can suit up Sunday at noon against the Jets.

"Kevin is a player that can play well without practicing," Kubiak said. "I think it's going to be really close, whether or not he'll be ready to go. We'll probably work him out before the game. He knows what we're doing. He's a sharp guy. So we'll have to make a smart decision with him."

Rex's impact: The Jets' defense was impressive in 2008, finishing as the NFL's seventh-best against the run and boasting Pro Bowlers in defensive tackle Kris Jenkins, cornerback Darrelle Revis and safety Kerry Rhodes. The Jets acquired former Pro Bowlers in linebacker Bart Scott and cornerback Lito Sheppard, but their best defensive acquisition may well have been head coach Rex Ryan, who skippered the fearsome Ravens defense as its coordinator for the past four years.

"The biggest challenge is that you work all of camp, for six weeks, against your scheme," Kubiak said. "We're a 4-3 scheme. Now you open up against a guy who is a 3-4 and 4-3 scheme; he plays both. So it's a total change. That's the tough part on the offensive side of the ball."

{QUOTE} All week long, Kubiak has said how impressive the Jets' defense is, and today he reiterated his praise of Ryan's unit.

"They're a very good defensive football team," Kubiak said. "They've proven that over 10 years, not just last year. Their scheme is tough. They're going to make some plays. If you turn the ball over against this group, it's not going to be good. We found that out last year in one quarter, in the fourth quarter against Baltimore."

Practice-to-game difference: Kubiak has seen his share of practices after nine years in the NFL as a player and 16 more as an assistant and head coach. Today after the drills finished, the subject of whether or not he can tell if a team is "ready" for the game by observing them in practice the week prior came up. Kubiak had an interesting answer.

"I think there are some coaches that are excellent at that," Kubiak said. "I've been around (assistant head coach) Alex (Gibbs) all my career. I can't tell you how many times Alex has told me, 'We're ready to go,' and I had questions, and he was right."

But Kubiak said he doesn't make a habit of asking for Gibbs' proclamations every week.

"I try to stay away because I don't want to hear the other ones," Kubiak said. "He doesn't say much unless I ask him. I go to him for a lot of advice. He sees a lot of things. He's been around a lot of rodeos."

The practice subject was talked about quite a bit today with the media, because Kubiak also answered a query about watching the film of practice on a regular basis.

"You try to see it all," Kubiak said. "That's why you get away from it. You try to stand back so you can watch all 11 guys try to do their job. I wish I could tell you I saw every guy on every play but obviously you're looking at scripts as a coach, and you're focused on what's supposed to happen at the point of attack. On tape, you see a lot more. You miss a great deal (live), and so that's why you go in there and take a look at it right now. There are times as a coach, when you are at practice, and you don't think practice was good, and then go in and watch say, 'Well, that's pretty good. I must've been in a bad mood today.' Some days you think it's bad and you're just the opposite, but the film never lies. So we sit there and look at it together the next morning. That's what gets us ready to play."

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