With a light schedule and only one 1:30 p.m. workout on Monday, the Texans went through a light practice in helmets and shorts with a focus on correcting specific mistakes from Saturday's game in Kansas City. Practice began outdoors before shifting inside when thunderstorms loomed, and the early afternoon finish allwed for the team to hold its annual Bowling Derby for players and coaches in the evening.
Injuries bring roster moves: With the Texans down to just a handful of healthy linebackers with injuries to Brian Cushing (knee) and Xavier Adibi (finger) along with practice restrictions on veterans Zac Diles and Cato June, the team signed linebacker Khary Campbell on Monday.
Campbell, who participated in practice, is a seven-year NFL veteran who most recently played in 14 games for the Washington Redskins in 2008. Head coach Gary Kubiak praised Campbell's ability on special teams and said he expected Campbell help shore up the injury plagued linebacker unit.
"We've worked him out before and brought him in yesterday, worked him out, (and he) looked good," Kubiak said. "Obviously, with Brian being out we need another linebacker."
After Kubiak mentioned in his press conference yesterday that he would take on a third quarterback before Saturday's game against New Orleans, the Texans seemed to be on the verge of re-signing quarterback Alex Brink. The signing was first reported in the media and confirmed by Kubiak after practice.
Brink was drafted by Houston in the seventh round of the 2008 Draft and spent parts of the 2008 season on the team's practice squad, meaning that the former Washington State signal caller should be able to quickly pick up the Texans offense.
"I mean he could walk in here and go practice for us tomorrow," Kubiak said. "I told (general manager) Rick (Smith) that I've seen this happen before where you made a decision and went in another direction with a player, something happens and you bring him back and all of a sudden he's a better player, just from appreciation of playing and working at his trade while he's gone. So let's see where he is at."
Molden makes return: Although it didn't come in the form of a free agent signing, the Texans made another huge roster addition when cornerback Antwaun Molden was removed from the PUP list Monday, clearing the way for him to take part in practices and games.
The Texans had high hopes for Molden after drafting him in the third round of the 2008 Draft out of Eastern Kentucky, and he impressed through much of the 2008 season until a fractured ankle in Week 14 felled him for the remainder of the season. The rehab process from the injury was long, but Molden now feels healthy and is ready to ease back into action and aid a Texans secondary crippled by injuries and player absences during camp.
"I just have to take it slow, and it's going to be a slow process," Molden said. "You know again, I've been out for 9 months and I want to gradually take it one day at a time…(but) I worked hard and I feel good right now."
Since Molden has been off the field, the Texans have switched their secondary coach with the replacement of Jon Hoke by current defensive backs coach David Gibbs, but Molden has had success so far working with Gibbs off the field. Now, he's ready to apply his meeting room lessons on the field.
"I know I have a good coach in David Gibbs." Molden said. "He gave us a lot and he gave it to us in a timely fashion. It's a simple game plan and if you follow his game plan it will be easy. It was good for me taking everything he taught me and transferring it over."
Kubiak said that he will work to gradually work Molden back into the cornerback rotation by limiting his practice reps to individual drills this week before slowly ramping them up as the preseason progresses.
Aggie's praise OK for Okam: With a strong defensive performance and three tackles against the Chiefs, defensive Frank Okam led Kubiak to do something he rarely does as a former Aggie—complement a Longhorn.
"That's what I told him. I don't give out those attaboys very often, especially to a Longhorn, but he and (former UT player) Kasey (Studdard) earned a couple of them. I told him that those last about as long as a butt chewing, not long, so get back out there and keep doing it."
Working hard over the summer to get down to a healthy playing weight, the 335 lb. Okam weighs about the same as he did last summer, but he quipped after practice that his weight is "just put in better places."
"I'm definitely in better shape coming in from the (strength and conditioning coach) Ray Wright program over the summer," Okam said. "I'm a little quicker and a little more solid. I'm stronger and I'm faster so I think that'll pay dividends this year."
Injury Report: Wide receiver Andre Davis left practice early with the assistance of a team trainer…running back Arian Foster returned to practice Monday, participating in drills both outdoors and on the indoors turf…tight end Joel Dreessen did not participate in practice due to a hyperextended knee.
Texans Notes: Quarterback Dan Orlovsky showed off his cannon with a pair of impressive deep passes that easily ranked amongst the furthest thrown in camp. With each covering nearly 50 yards in the air, wide receiver Jacoby Jones was able to corral one for a touchdown, while another just missed Jones' outreached hands…defensive end Tim Jamison had an impressive practice, consistently breaking around the tackle to reach the pocket and hurry the quarterback…wide receiver Kevin Walter had a highlight reel catch in the indoor portion of practice, juggling a low pass before narrowly keeping it off the turf for a reception….tight end Owen Daniels had a textbook over the shoulder catch of a pass from Matt Schaub along the right sideline. Daniels outran safety Dominique Barber and looked the pass into his hands right before stepping out of bounds.