Texans staying loose heading into Sunday

Texans staying loose heading into Sunday
October 12, 2013, 10:00 am
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Texans try to stay loose during Friday's practice

It was a strange sight on Friday afternoon in the Texans’ locker room as 5-10, 188-pound Kareem Jackson walked past reporters.

Instead of his usual No. 25 jersey, he was wearing No. 94, which normally belongs to Antonio Smith. Jackson was swimming in his defensive teammate’s jersey, which was made for the 6-foot-4, 289-pound defensive end.

One reporter said it looked like Jackson was wearing a nightgown.

“Yeah it did,” Smith said. “But he looked good in that nine-four, though.”

The jersey switch wasn’t contained to just Smith and Jackson. In fact, many of the Texans decided to switch jerseys with their teammates throughout their Friday practice. (Arian Foster and Ben Tate started the trend.) But it wasn’t the act of switching jerseys that was noteworthy; it was the relaxed atmosphere at the Friday practice that allowed it.

The Texans are 2-3 as they head into what many consider to be a must-win game against the Rams on Sunday. Lose this game and the season might not be recoverable. Yet, the Texans were having fun at practice.

And they saw it as a good thing.

“Yeah, positive attitudes, man,” safety Danieal Manning said. “We needed that. You want to get away from the negative buzz and vibe that's going on and something that we made up on our own. Just a positive atmosphere is welcomed here; fun to come to work when you like things like that. I feel like when you have that type of atmosphere, you learn better, you perform better and you can focus better.”

Friday’s light-hearted practice came a day after what Smith called one of the most physical practices since training camp on Thursday.

“Anytime you have good practices, they can carry over,” Smith said. “We didn't have very many mistakes (Friday). And that's the key, while you're still having fun and doing your thing and making plays, we only had a couple things we had to go back over and get a key on. Other than that, we had everything locked in.”