The Texans practiced outside Friday for approximately 95 minutes. Since the Minnesota game is on Monday Night Football, today's work was comparable to a Thursday practice that would occur before a Sunday game.
Start me up: Head coach Gary Kubiak reiterated that the starters will play the first three quarters of Monday night's game with Minnesota. He wants those first teamers to play better than they did last Saturday against New Orleans.
"They're going out there for three quarters and if you're a starter, you better play like one because there is some good competition going on," Kubiak said. "You'll see some new faces playing with the starters this week and we'll see how we come out of it."
It's on for Antwaun: Cornerback Antwaun Molden continues in his return from a fractured left ankle and practiced for the duration of Friday's drills. The long layoff is now over and Molden's glad.
"I've been out for nine months and I'm definitely looking forward to playing," Molden said. "I'm excited and I feel good. I just take every day and get better in the film room and transfer my technique onto the field."
Kubiak said he likes what he's seen from Molden thusfar, and the presence of the second-year corner is a welcome sight in the secondary.
"I've been very impressed," Kubiak said. "So far, he's ready to go. I know the team is excited to see him out here. He was playing well for us before he got hurt."
Cushing next week?: Brian Cushing also practiced again for about 20 minutes with the team and will possibly suit up in a preseason game.
"He put his pads on today," Kubiak said of Cushing. "He and I talked about his situation and we're just trying to, right now, have him ready to play next week, and then we'll make a decision from there."
Smith ponders the run: Defensive end Antonio Smith, who was rolling around the locker room and Texans' facilities on his Segway, spoke after practice about the potent Vikings rushing offense.
"We can't let them get out there and rush the ball over 100 yards," Smith said. "I think that's our goal: keep them under 100 yards. We can't let them just run through our defense like we did last week. I think that cutback really got us in that game with the Saints."
As for Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre, color Smith impressed, but not overly impressed.
"Defensive linemen dream of sacking quarterbacks like Brett Favre," Smith said. "He loves the game. He wanted to come back. I think that's just it. I think too many people make a big deal out of it when it's really not."
Look ma, one hand!: Rookie tight end James Casey once again snared a pass with just one hand this afternoon. Yesterday, Dan Orlovsky threw it his way; today, it was Alex Brink. Casey caught Friday's pass in traffic up the left sideline for a gain of about 15 yards, and continues to impress his head coach.
"They look easy, don't they?" Kubiak said of Casey's highlight-reel receptions. "They're catching our whole team's attention. He's had a really fine camp. We're asking him to do a great deal, but he's got a chance to turn into a fine pro pretty quickly."
New face: The team signed cornerback Cletis Gordon, and the newly acquired defensive back practiced today. Gordon spent the past three seasons with San Diego and saw action in 14 games in 2008 with a start in Week 10 against Kansas City. The Jackson State product was signed by the Chargers in 2006 as an undrafted free agent. He also contributed on special teams in San Diego.