Gary Kubiak and the Texans look forward to Sunday's matchup with the Jets.
The Texans practiced outside in a light drizzle at the Methodist Training Facility Friday morning in preparation for the season opener with the New York Jets.
O captain, my captain: When practice wrapped, head coach Gary Kubiak and the team huddled together on the field for some announcements. A series of applause followed, and when asked about the clapping afterward, Kubiak explained that he had announced the team captains in front of the squad.
"Our two on offense are Matt (Schaub) and Andre (Johnson) again this year," Kubiak said. "Our two on defense are Mario (Williams) and DeMeco (Ryans), so that's the same as last year. We ended up with two special teams captains, the vote was so close – Kris Brown and Kevin Bentley. So we'll carry six."
But that wasn't all. Kubiak discussed a weekly captain that changes from game-to-game. For the Jets game, he selected linebacker Zac Diles.
"I'll name some guy that I think deserves an opportunity, and this first week I've just been very impressed," Kubiak said of the weakside linebacker. "He played well for us last year and got hurt. I told him when he came in he didn't have a starting job, he was going to have to earn it all over again, and he did it. So he'll be our other guy this week."
Schaub, Johnson, Williams, Ryans, Brown and Bentley will be the captains for the duration of the 2009 campaign, while Diles will be the additional captain for Week 1. Diles was Kubiak's selection, while the other six were voted on by their teammates.
Zac attack: Kubiak expanded on the impact the former Kansas State Wildcat had defensively, and his excellent attitude as well.
"He never asks for anything, just works," Kubiak said. "Very unselfish in camp. We couldn't have got through camp at one point at linebacker had he not been so flexible, moved to the other side and done all the things that we asked him to do. That's why the guys can count on him."
Run to win: Kubiak was displeased with the Texans run game when asked about this afternoon. Both he and Jets head coach Rex Ryan have said this week that you have to be able to run to win in the NFL, and the Texans' boss wants to see some improvement.
"I'm not happy with it," Kubiak said. "I'd like to have run the ball better in the preseason, but it's time to go, and this challenge this week will be tremendous. It's like watching the game last night. There's two teams (Pittsburgh and Tennessee) that run the ball pretty darn good and two teams that said, 'No, you're not.' This football team right here is very good, but it still doesn't diminish the fact that we've got to stay committed to it and run the football, and the key to winning will be us running it good enough to win the football game."
Kubiak did have some positive thoughts on his three running backs, starting with second-year pro Steve Slaton.
"Steve's a better player right now than he was last year coming into this season," Kubiak said. "He's got some great challenges. He's no longer a surprise; everybody knows who he is. But he's a better player." Chris' (Brown) health going into this game is a big plus for our football team. But we'll need them both. We'll need Ryan (Moats) also. So those guys'll have to work well as a group."
Transaction:Running back Andre Hall was waived to make room for cornerback Dunta Robinson, who was activated from the exempt/commissioner persmission list this afternoon.