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Update on key defenders returning, QB competition


*The Texans wrapped up two-a-days on Thursday and look towards their preseason home opener against Miami on Saturday.

Starters Return
A number of starters including J.J. Watt, Andre Johnson, Johnathan Joseph, among others did not play in Friday's win at Minnesota but will be a go for Saturday at Reliant Stadium.

"Our starters will play probably close to a quarter of football and then we'll go from there," head coach Gary Kubiak said Thursday. "Obviously, we've got a lot of guys to look at. We've got some players coming back that did not play last week. It's exciting to get back in our stadium."

Quarterback Competition
Kubiak has moved Case Keenum, the former University of Houston quarterback, to the second spot behind quarterback Matt Schaub. Keenum, who played in the second half at Minnesota, will be matched up with a combination of first and second-team receivers. Keenum is excited about the possibility of having first-round draft pick DeAndre Hopkins as a target.

"Obviously looking out there, having number ten out there split out is something that makes you excited at quarterback, knowing a guy like that is going to go up and work to get open and get the ball no matter where the ball is at," Keenum said. "I think all those young receivers have done extremely well, a good job this past week and really entire camp of competing."


Return of Cushing, Watt*
Both Brian Cushing and J.J. Watt will make their 2013 debut in Saturday's game. Before suffering  season-ending ACL injury, the last time Cushing started at Reliant Stadium was September 30, 2012 against the Tennessee Titans. Cushing's return will give the Texans linebackers an edge on the inside, according to Kubiak.

"Well, it gets us back active inside," Kubiak said of Cushing's presence in the game. "As I've told y'all before, when Cush is in there and we're doing a lot of our inside stunts, it frees people up. We lost some of that last year when we lost Cush. It's been back to business as usual."

In the 2013 season, J.J. Watt wants to create a 20-20-20 club. Watt wants to reach 20 sacks, 20 pass deflections and 20 tackles for a loss, he told Pete Prisco of

"That's why he's a great player," Kubiak said. "He has tremendous expectations, but he's a tremendous worker too. I was asked before if I thought he could have a better year this year than he did last year, I think he can. You never know where the numbers are going to come from, but, as a player, I think he's growing because he understands (defensive coordinator) Wade (Phillips') scheme to the T now. He studies the players he plays against every week, even more so now. He's been dominant in training camp."

The Texans will kick-off their preseason home opener against Miami on Saturday at 7 p.m.

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