Texans at Cowboys: Preseason Preview

Tony Romo (Getty Images)

The Texans play one of their biggest rivals this week in the Dallas Cowboys. Although the Texans have only played Dallas a few times in the regular season, Houston fans have a healthy disdain for the Cowboys and what "America's Team" stands for.

Texans vs. Cowboys: Preseason Preview
Houston Texans at Dallas Cowboys
Friday, August 22nd, 2008, 7:00 p.m.
Texas Stadium
Kickoff Temperature:
87 degrees, 30% chance of precipitation

Texans head coach Gary Kubiak is well aware of the rivalry.

"I know, being from Texas, I know how big of a deal that is," Kubiak said. "It doesn't seem like it falls all the time. It looks right now it's mostly in the preseason but they've got a football team that's second to none, when you look at it right now. It's a great test for our football team to go down there and play them. They are special, when you look at them on field, and (Cowboys head coach) Wade (Phillips) has a great ball club."

Texans quarterback Matt Schaub was able to get a taste of the rivalry last year in preseason—

"I never really knew it was that bad until last year when I got here. This week last year in the preseason everyone was talking about it. Rivalry games are fun and there's a lot on the line, two cities in state, but we don't think about that too much. We know what's at stake, and we know how much it means to our team."

Despite the Texans unbeaten preseason record there are some things that the head coach would like to see done differently—

"There are a lot of things we could do better. We're consistently looking to run the ball better. We are going against a scheme we have not practiced against throughout practice, so that's a changeup for us. We are looking for pressure on the quarterback. I think we are just trying to continue to improve as a football team and we're trying to find the people that can help us do that."

Houston fans will get to see their offense function with wide receiver Andre Johnson for the first time in this preseason. Still, don't expect Johnson to see as much action as the rest of the Texans starters.

"He's the one guy that definitely won't play a full three quarters," coach Kubiak told reporters. "He looks good. He's fine. He wants to go the whole time. But, we'll work him. He's behind the other guys as far as playing time so if anything, he's going to be the one that plays less."

As for the rest of the team, the third preseason game tends to be the most important and most closely resembles a regular season contest.

"We're going to play our first group a maximum of three quarters," Kubiak said. "Then after that, we still have a lot of players we want to look at. I'm expecting them to play three (quarters). If anything, they will play a little less and not more. (G) Kasey Studdard will start for (G Chester) Pitts. I do not expect Chester to play. I know there is still some time between now and game time, but Studdard will start."

By the third preseason game, the back end of the roster begins to take shape, so this is likely considered the most important game in August.

"I wouldn't say you'd put it all on this game," Kubiak said when asked if this game would determine some difficult cuts. "You have to go back and look at the big picture. I think we are at a point right now, where we reach this game, where naturally you're not going to see those young guys as much as Friday. But then you turn around in four or five days and they are probably going to play that whole game. It's part of the process. We are still in the evaluation process with some of those guys. Some very, very difficult decisions to make. They tend to play themselves out. Hopefully we got some of these tough questions answered here after we get through with Tampa Bay because right now they are very difficult."

The Texans head coach gave a pretty good hint about his quarterback situation, as it is likely that the Texans will only keep two, starter Matt Schaub and backup Sage Rosenfels.

"I'll go with (QB) Matt (Schaub) and then (QB) Sage (Rosenfels) will finish the game or however that ends up. We'll just play two guys this week."

That likely means some bad news for both Shane Boyd and Alex Brink, as it is likely that one of them will be bound for the practice squad, if anywhere. With the likelihood of either player being picked up by another team minimal, it is probably most beneficial for the team to save a roster spot for a player who may be able to help on a weekly basis, and if they need Boyd or Brink, they will likely be available.

Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.

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