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Houston Texans

Practice report: Tuesday

The Texans officially have broken camp and are settling into their weekly practice routine as they get ready to play a regular season dress rehearsal game against the Cowboys on Friday.

Starters will be tested: Texans coach Gary Kubiak and Cowboys coach Wade Phillips have said they plan to play their starters for about three quarters on Friday. It will be as close to regular season play as there is in the preseason.

"They're (Dallas Cowboys) as talented as a football team you'll see and you'll play in this league, and I know they're going to play extremely well," Kubiak said. "This will be their first game at home and will be a great test for us. We're just looking forward to it."

The Cowboys return to Texas Stadium after losing to the Chargers and Broncos on the road. Dallas racked up penalties in both games and didn't look a team that went 13-3 last season, but Kubiak said the Cowboys' record so far doesn't reflect how tough and physical they will be against Houston.

{QUOTE}Regardless, he would rather focus on getting more productivity from his younger players.

"We're going to end up with some new faces that are going to make us better," Kubiak said. "We've got a tremendous challenge ahead of us. I like what we're doing right now, but to sit here and give you the state of the franchise, I'm more concerned with how we practiced today. We had a good day today. We practiced well."

Reeves gets a homecoming:It will probably be strange for Jacques Reeves to enter the Cowboys' visiting locker room. The cornerback was selected by Dallas in the seventh round of the 2004 and spent four years with the team before signing with Houston in the offseason.

"I'm sure it's different when you walk in there and you played for them last year and were a big part of a good football team," Kubiak said of Reeves. "It's got to be a change for him going in there. He knows those players; they know him. They went against each other everyday.

"I'm sure that adds to the buildup for him as far as playing this game. But in all honesty, when that balls kicked off, I think it's another competitive National Football League game and he's just has to do his job."

Reeves' primary job will be to make a play on the ball. He got beat on several deep passes against the Saints, and not because he wasn't in position. Reeves kept up with his receivers, he just didn't turn his head and bat away the ball.

"He got beat a couple times the other night," Kubiak said. "But, boy, he's playing hard and I like the way he fits in with our team and I think he's only going to get better."

Kubiak committed to the run: There are very few question marks about the Texans' passing game after quarterbacks Matt Schaub and Sage Rosenfels combined for 281 passing yards and led the team on five touchdown drives against the Saints.

"I think we have the ability to throw the ball really well," Kubiak said. "We've got some receivers that are playing really well. I think our quarterback has a lot of confidence right now, both of our quarterbacks do.

However, the head coach doesn't want the team to rely on moving the ball through the air.

"We are going to stay committed to the run because we think it helps the whole football team," Kubiak said. "I'm not just worried about (helping) the offense, but I'm worried about helping the defense and the football team in general."

If the Texans can get their ground game going and work the clock, then their defense will spend less time on the field. Plus, a better rushing attack will keep defenses honest and prevent them from teeing off on the quarterbacks.

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