GAINING MOMENTUM:The squad did an hour walk-through this morning before heading to the airport to travel to Texas Stadium for tomorrow nights showdown against Dallas.
The team knows that last week's game against Denver was a start, but there's a lot more work to be done, and knocking out some preseason practice play is the way to do it.
"We know we're going to get the Cowboys best effort tomorrow night, it will be a gauge for us to see how much we've improved over the last two weeks," head coach Dom Capers said. "I think we have something to build on after last Saturday night so I'm interested to see if special teams can go out and make improvement on their performance. Our defense really didn't play against the Cowboys the first time we scrimmaged them and I thought our offense was much better last week (against Denver) so how much can we improve on that?"
Though the team doesn't have a detailed, scripted game plan for their appearance in Texas Stadium, they will have a few plays in the hopper to test.
"We've worked off of cards a couple of days this week but as far as having a game plan, we may have two or three things but it's not like you're going to implement a total game plan," Capers said. "We'd be more likely to do that next week against the Chargers."
The coaches plan on having Carr see about as much time on the field as he did against Denver, which was just slightly over one quarter of play. Though Capers would like him to get in on some two-minute action is possible.
"We plan on getting David the same number of plays as last week with the exception of that when we are in a two-minute situation where we can get David in there, we'd like him to have a two-minute situation," Capers said. "We aren't going to be foolish but we think it would help"
RIVALRY RENEWED: It's been one year since the Texans made their NFL debut in Reliant Stadium with a win over Dallas. In one year, a lot has changed. The Cowboys are now under the direction of Bill Parcells, have transformed into a much more disciplined team, and will have a chance at redemption in their own stadium.
On Houston's side of the ball, added offensive weapons in the running and receiving game have opened up a wide variety of options in gaining yardage. Already a factor in last weekend's preseason game against Denver, the Texans offense was able to muster 116 yards on the ground. The improvement was due to an upgrade at all offensive positions.
"We feel like we're coming together as a unit, the offensive line, the running backs, the receivers," running back Stacey Mack said. "You need all of those components to make the offense go, you need all 11 guys."
The team will see action from running back Tony Hollings and tight end Jabari Holloway for the first time but will be without the help of about 10 players, including cornerback Aaron Glenn.
It will be Hollings first time in NFL action after being drafted in July during the league's supplemental draft. After undergoing knee surgery just four games into Georgia Tech's 2002 season, Hollings hasn't taken a snap other than in practice since last September.
Since his arrival, Hollings has been forced to digest the Texans playbook in a small fraction of time. Though he has been medically cleared to return to action, the Texans have limited his practice time to one session per day. He hasn't missed a beat getting ready both physically and mentally.
"I didn't expect him to be ready to go out and play in a game this quick but he's gone out and done a good job and it will be interesting to watch him," head coach Dom Capers said. "He gives us speed and a burst at the position."
The pairing of Hollings and Mack against Dallas will give the Texans both the speed and size to eat up some yardage against a tough Cowboys defense.
"We saw what Stacey Mack could do, he's a big, powerful guy," Capers said. " I think Tony Hollings is a guy that has excellent speed so if you've got a big powerful back and one that has speed that can get outside on the corner, I think they compliment each other."
OLD STOMPING GROUND: Texans CB Jason Bell will return to Texas Stadium for the first time since the 2001 season, when he played for the Cowboys.
Last September, his Dallas departure was fresh in his mind during the season opener and may have played a part in overflowing game time emotion. This season, Bell only has one thing on his mind, winning.
"Now that I'm a Texan, I just want to go over there and win," he said. "Coach Capers got me straight, he changed a couple of my ways. I was over there talking a little trash last year. It won't be that way, I'll just be out there focusing."
Bell looks forward to seeing old friends like Cowboys S Darren Woodsen one of his closest pals. He also looks forward to visiting a refurbished Texas Stadium, where new field turf has been installed.
"I had a lot of fun in Texas Stadium," Bell said. "They have new turf so I want to see what that's like, it's different from when I was there. I had a lot of fun times, a lot of good games, it's going to be exciting."
Other Texans returning back to their roots this weekend are WR Derick Armstrong, K Kris Brown, C Carey Clayton and CB Marcus Coleman.