The Texans practiced in pads on Tuesday, their second practice in as many days coming off of the bye week. The entire team is healthy and practicing except for linebacker Xavier Adibi (hamstring) and defensive tackle Earl Mitchell (ankle).
"We really had two good practices with everyone out here except two players right now, two good physical practices," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "I'll give them their day off tomorrow, their normal day (off), and then we'll get back into our routine on Thursday."
Linebackers Brian Cushing and Kevin Bentley continued to settle in at middle and strongside linebacker, respectively. Both players were moved to their new positions in the starting lineup on Monday.
"It's night and day from yesterday to today," Kubiak said. "It's going to be a growing process, but no doubt, we feel that's what's best for our team. We've got to have some patience. We have to help them. The key is that we continue to get better each day, and that's our focus."
The Texans came back from their bye week feeling refreshed after five days off to recharge mentally and physically.
"Whenever you can get a couple extra days in to just rest the bones and get those little nicks healed up, it's always important," tight end Owen Daniels said. "Sometimes it only takes a day or two. That's all you really need sometimes. When we're out there pounding every day and trying to get ready for a game every week, an extra day is awesome."
Wide receiver Andre Johnson was one of many injured Texans who benefitted from the break. Johnson suffered a high-ankle sprain at Washington in Week 2 and aggravated the injury in Week 3 against Dallas. He said Tuesday that he's not sure when his ankle will be at 100 percent, but that "it definitely feels better than it did before the Cowboys game."
"I'm feeling pretty good – got 10 games left to gut out," Johnson said, smiling. "I still wear my (ankle) brace when I practice and whatnot. I'll continue to wear it until I feel comfortable not wearing it… But now I'm used to it. It doesn't limit me in any kind of way."
"Like a computer chip"
The Indianapolis Colts have had a rash of injuries to skill position players, including tight end Dallas Clark, in advance of their Week 8 meeting with the Texans. But the Texans know they'll have their hands full with Indy so long as Peyton Manning is still under center.
Manning threw for 433 yards and three touchdowns against the Texans in Week 1. In his 13th season, he leads the league with a 103.4 passer rating.
"He's amazing," Kubiak said. "I've said this before; it's like a computer chip out there playing on the field. He's absolutely amazing, and you just (have to) understand what you're up against. You understand he's going to make his plays. You understand all that and you just try to keep things in perspective and you try to understand what it's going to take beat him, gaining a possession or two somewhere along the way by creating a turnover or getting a stop in the red zone.
"We all respect what he's all about, but we know what we have to do as a team to have a chance to be successful."