With Matt Schaub hospitalized by a knee ailment, quarterbacks Dan Orlovsky and Matt Leinart took all of the Texans' reps at practice on Wednesday.
Orlovsky was in charge of the first-team offense in a full practice for the first time since signing with the Texans in 2009.
"Matt's a guy who's really a worker and likes to take all the reps, so really I don't get any but a handful," Orlovsky said. "So it was nice to go out there and be in our huddle, calling our stuff and running our plays.
"I'm excited about (starting) if it comes to that, but really, it's only Wednesday. The guys in this locker room know that I prepare like I have to take the first snap on Sunday morning, and that's not going to change. If needed, I'll be ready to go."
Schaub is expected to return to practice on Thursday, and Texans coach Gary Kubiak is optimistic that he'll play on Sunday at the Jets. If it turns out Schaub can't play, Pro Bowl receiver Andre Johnson is confident in Orlovsky's ability to lead the offense.
"I've had a chance to get a lot of reps with Dan," Johnson said. "I feel very comfortable with him out on the field. If Matt's not able to play, then we have to go out there and execute our game plan with Dan. That's about it."
Like Orlovsky, Leinart also proclaimed himself ready if needed. Leinart is the third quarterback behind Schaub and Orlovsky. He has been getting more comfortable with the Texans' offense each week since signing with the team in September.
"I've been studying extremely hard in learning the offense as quick as possible," he said. "I feel comfortable with the offense, I think. If I would ever get the chance, I'll go out there and execute. That's what my teammates would expect of me, and that's what I will expect of myself."
Allen involvedCornerback Jason Allen practiced for the first time as a Texan. Claimed off waivers last Thursday, Allen started seven games for the Miami Dolphins earlier this season. He will play at New York after being inactive against the Jaguars.
"He's going to play this week some," Kubiak said. "I'll have to see how he practiced, but I expect him to be a part of what we're doing."
Johnson (ankle), tight end Owen Daniels (hamstring) and defensive end Jesse Nading (knee) joined Schaub in sitting out of practice on Wednesday. Daniels took a step forward after spending the last two weeks in the training room during practice.
"He's doing better," Kubiak said. "He's doing field work today. He wasn't even out here the last two weeks. So we're making progress here, but it'll be day-to-day."
Defensive end Mario Williams (groin) and punter Matt Turk (hip) were limited in practice. Linebacker Xavier Adibi (hamstring) returned to practice from a two-week hiatus.
Creating chaos and "cracking down"Kubiak put the team through what he called a "very tough practice" on Wednesday, and he said there are two more on the way this week.
"We need to create some chaos out here," he said. "We are going into a place (against) a football team that creates a lot of adversity and chaos for you in what they do, so we need to create that environment out here. We need to get rid of last week and that last play of the game, and the only way we can get rid of that is to be honest with yourself and work like hell and get ready."
Safety Bernard Pollard said that Kubiak is "cracking down on so many things this week." Pollard declined to elaborate, opting to keep the specifics in-house.
"It's an inside thing, but it's going to be good for this team," Pollard said. "I'm excited; I really am. I'm excited that we get a chance to go out to New York and to play that team and turn this thing around against that team. I think that's going to be a big thing for this organization.
"I think the urgency is there. We've just got to go out there and play smarter. I think today, we kind of cracked down on each other and said some things. I think on Sunday, it has to be put on the grass."