Kubiak weighs choices
Danny Clark is ahead of Charlie Anderson at strong-side linebacker, but Kubiak wasn't ready Sunday to say it's settled.
And Travis Johnson is pushing Anthony Maddox at defensive tackle next to rookie Amobi Okoye.
"There are three decisions I'll let you guys (reporters) know about Tuesday or Wednesday," Kubiak said. "We're going to have some competitive decisions in practice."
Matt Turk looks to be close to winning the punting job over Chad Stanley, an original Texan. Stanley punted once against the Cowboys for 32 yards, and it was disclosed afterward he had suffered a groin injury in pregame warmups.
"He should be fine this week," Kubiak said of Stanley. "We could have made a decision (on Stanley or Turk) today, but we decided not to do that. We want to watch them in practice, and we expect both of them to punt (against the Buccaneers)."
A player who might have earned a spot on the team at another position is Shantee Orr. Last week, defensive coordinator Richard Smith moved end Mario Williams to the left side in passing situations. Orr, an outside linebacker, was used at right end to rush the passer.
The move worked well for Williams and Orr. Williams had four tackles and was disruptive. Orr recorded a sack and was disruptive, too. Their improved play helped the tackles, including Johnson and Okoye, play their best games so far.
Orr led the team with seven sacks two years ago when the Texans played a 3-4 under Dom Capers. He dropped down to end in passing situations.
Orr earns playing time
In camp, Orr fell behind Anderson, his close friend, for the starting job. Then Clark, a veteran free agent and a former starter at Oakland, slipped past Anderson.
"With the emergence of Danny, we have to get him (Orr) on the field," Kubiak said. "We like what Charlie has done. Charlie didn't do anything to move backward. It's just Danny did a lot of things to move forward. Shantee missed a great deal of training camp and was way behind in that battle. As you watch Shantee, the first thing you notice about him as a player is that he rushes the passer well. If Shantee can rush the passer on third down and play great special teams, then maybe we have a place for seven linebackers."
Orr, Anderson and end Jason Babin had sacks against Dallas. Williams thought he had one, but because Tony Romo fumbled the snap, Williams got credit only for a tackle.
"We moved him to the other side in some nickel situations," Kubiak said. "I think it brought a little fire to him. It just kind of gets him motivated to making more plays. A lot of people like to play Mario with the tight end on his side. Because of us moving him, he got to the open side quite a bit. I think it was definitely effective. His energy level was very good. He chased the ball well; he finished to the quarterback.
"Mario could still get better, but he took a big step forward. I just like the enthusiasm and the energy he played with."
The defense limited the Cowboys to 291 yards, including 57 rushing. Dallas averaged 2.7 yards per carry.
Schaub draws praise
Until Kubiak arrived last year, the Texans never had scored 20 points in a preseason game. They were 3-14 in preseason in Capers' four seasons.
The Texans are 5-2 in preseason under Kubiak. Quarterbacks Matt Schaub and Sage Rosenfels orchestrated 33- and 28-point games the past two weeks.
"Matt's so steady," Kubiak said. "He doesn't get frustrated. If something doesn't go right, he comes right back and continues to make plays. Anything that happens that's not good just doesn't affect him. Matt's very much in control. The players and coaches trust him to do the right things. There's no panic in him. Let's remember, too, that it's his first time to start. I'm excited to watch him continue to grow in this role."