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Winds of change

From Aug. 2, 2006 - Look no further for differences in Texans camp than Richard Smith's voice. The defensive coordinator has all but blown out his vocal chords guiding his 4-3 defense. Everything's more vocal at Reliant Park this year. Players barking, coaches chirping. There is a sprit and energy that is as welcome as our next 70-degree day will be.

Gary Kubiak wanted competition at virtually all positions, and he's got it. Sage Rosenfels was brought in to be a game-ready backup who can push David Carr. Carr is the unquestionable number one, but Rosenfels takes his snaps like a starting job is at stake. The coaches want Carr to get back to doing more of what put him on pace for 4,000 yards halfway through the 2004 campaign. He's throwing downfield to Andre Johnson and Eric Moulds.

Johnson is magnificent at going up (even in double coverage) and making tough catches look routine. He presents such a big, comfortable target. You may recall sensational catches in '04 when Carr would often throw the ball in the general vicinity of number 80 resulting in a big play. The team got away from that in '05. Every pass seemed to hit Andre at or near the line of scrimmage. Look for him to gobble up a lot more real estate this season.

Left tackle is a question mark. Charles Spencer looks like a vending machine with good speed. He's 'only' 6-4, but his large, fast-moving frame swallows up defenders. He could end up starting. Seth Wand appears to be re-energized, but Spencer has been getting some time with the first unit. Ephraim Salaam is also available in a pinch, but he's been working on the right side because the coaches know his ability. They'd rather spend the reps on Spencer and Wand. If everything goes wrong, there's always Chester Pitts.

You get the feeling that life with Domanick Davis might always be like this. None of the drama with his knee matters if he's ready opening day. His rookie season he missed most of camp and still ran well in an upset opening-day win at Miami. But it's a big IF as far as Domanick's availability is concerned. Here's hoping the Denver magic of producing no-name thousand-yard rushers made it's way here with Gary Kubiak.

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