8:00 PM ET, December 13, 2007
NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
HOUSTON (AP) -- Mike Shanahan likes to see the Houston Texans win.
He wants his protege, coach Gary Kubiak, and his son Kyle Shanahan, a Houston assistant, to succeed.
Of course, those good feelings don't extend to Thursday night, when the Denver Broncos meet the Texans for the first time in a regular season game since Kubiak and Shanahan were hired in Houston.
The Texans and Broncos played a preseason game last season.
"I'm always rooting for Houston because of my relationship with Gary, when we're not playing them," he said. "Obviously, you want to see your son do well."
This week, though, his message to his son will be less supportive than usual.
"I'll probably talk to him the night before the game, wish him some bad luck, and go on," he said.
He might not get that chance because Kyle Shanahan said he won't speak with his father this week out of fear of accidentally spilling Texans secrets.
"I'm not going to talk to him because anything could happen," Kyle Shanahan said. "We talk a lot and when we do we can't help but to talk about football. We both enjoy it and if we just sat and had a conversation where we say we're not going to talk about football, we know it eventually will come up."
Kubiak spent 11 seasons as Mike Shanahan's offensive coordinator before he was hired in by the Texans in 2006. He hired the younger Shanahan as receivers coach and Kyle became the quarterbacks coach this season.
"It's special," Kubiak said. "Across the field from me is going to be my NFL life. That's all I've ever been with and we're trying to do the same thing here. My respect for Mike Shanahan, their organization, (owner) Pat Bowlen, those coaches, those players that I was with for so many years, that will always be there."
Kubiak, who also played for the Broncos, said Mike Shanahan's work ethic is the thing he most admires about the coach, and that he continues to influence him.
"I learned a great deal from him," Kubiak said. "Our program is very much like we ran it in Denver and it will probably be that way as long as I'm able to stick around."
Mike Shanahan has been impressed with Kubiak's work in Houston, and was particularly wowed with the injury-riddled team's 28-14 win over Tampa Bay on Sunday. The Buccaneers lead the NFC South.
"(It) just kind of shows you what type of staff and what type of leadership they have right now because a lot of guys would pack it in after losing as many guys as they have lost," Shanahan said. "You know there's a lot of character on the team. You know Gary is a great leader and has gotten the guys to buy in to what he's doing."
The Texans lead the league with 17 players on injured reserve. Quarterback Matt Schaub, who will miss his second straight game Thursday, hopes to recover from a dislocated shoulder in time to play in one of Houston's final two games.
Backup Sage Rosenfels will fill in for Schaub and work behind a makeshift offensive line that includes Mike Brisiel, who was on the practice squad less than two weeks ago. The Texans could also be without running back Ron Dayne (sore ankle).
If Dayne isn't able to play, the Texans will have to go with undrafted rookie Darius Walker, who made his NFL debut on Sunday. Kubiak isn't sold on Walker's ability to carry the running game and is hopeful Dayne will play.
"I feel better that he got some plays under his belt this week," Kubiak said of Walker. "We'll see. He'll have to make a big improvement this week for us to have a chance to beat this football team."
The Broncos have to be looking forward to facing such an inexperienced offense after forcing 13 turnovers in their last five games.
"That's the No. 1 thing they've done is they started getting a bunch of turnovers," Kubiak said. "They really kind of simplified what they had been doing throughout the year. They've got to be feeling good about what they're doing."
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|Avg Points Allowed||26.2||22.7|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||DEN|
|Rush Yds Allowed||DEN|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Series tied 1-1|
|Nov 7, 2004||DEN 31, HOU 13|