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Kubiak Looks To Shore Up Texans Run Defense

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Texans defense (credit: Anna-Megan Raley/CBS Houston)

Texans defense (credit: Anna-Megan Raley/CBS Houston)

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HOUSTON (AP) – Houston coach Gary Kubiak said Saturday’s win over San Francisco had a regular-season feel and offered a helpful gauge of where the Texans stand three weeks before the games count.

Kubiak liked most of what he saw in the Texans’ 20-9 victory – the continuing improvement of receiver Lestar Jean, developing depth on the right side of the offensive line and sharpness from quarterback Matt Schaub and star receiver Andre Johnson.

But the second-team offense sputtered and the 49ers broke off a handful of first-down runs, new areas of concern for Kubiak.

“It is the preseason,” Kubiak said Sunday, “but that was a very real picture for us, as a team, of where we’re headed and where we have to be here in a couple of weeks.”

Linebacker Brian Cushing bruised his ribs in the game, but Kubiak said the rest of the Texans came out of the game without injury. Kubiak is hoping nose tackle Shaun Cody (back) and defensive end J.J. Watt (dislocated elbow) can return to practice this week.

Houston (No. 6 in the AP Pro32) plays at New Orleans (No. 9) on Saturday, and Kubiak plans to play his starters about three quarters.

Watt, a first-round draft pick, had 5 1/2 sacks and two fumble recoveries during his rookie regular season, then provided the signature moment of the Texans’ season when he returned an interception for a touchdown in Houston’s 31-10 rout of Cincinnati in the playoffs. Watt hurt his elbow early in training camp, and Kubiak said Watt is “very close” to returning to work.

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