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A look at the running backs

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Green will be looking for another 1,000-yard season in 2007.

Perhaps no other posisiton has changed as much on the Texans over the past calendar year than running back. A year ago the team was still hopeful for a healthy return to the lineup from Domanick Williams (formerly Davis).

That didn't happen and by opening day 2006, rookie Wali Lundy was starting in the backfield against the Philadelphia Eagles. A year later the Texans are prepared to enter training camp with the best stable of backs in team history featuring a Heisman Trophy winner and a four-time Pro Bowl selection.

When Ahman Green signed with the Texans in March, the move didn't garner much attention nationally. It should have. Despite being wooed by many suitors, Green chose Houston to continue what has already been a stellar NFL career.

Reunited with Texans offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, who coached him previously in Green Bay, Green looks to be back to the form that earned him four trips to Hawaii prior to a knee injury sidelining him for most of the 2005 season.

Green returned to the Packers lineup in 2006 and rushed for over 1,000 yards while playing in 14 contests, but he admits he wasn't himself during his last year in Title Town.

"I was completely heeled physically, but mentally it was difficult to get back and convince myself that I was the same player I was before I got injured," Green said.

Green has been a fixture around Reliant Stadium and the Methodist Training Center over the past few months and believes he is finally back to form after pushing through last season.

"Oh yeah, hands down, I feel 120 percent better," Green said. "Working out in this type of weather, that's the biggest change for me. Because I work hard, regardless of whether I'm at Green Bay or at Nebraska, I will be in shape for that climate so now that I'm down here where it's humid every day. I'm ready for it.

"I haven't been in this good of shape since college."

Green is joined in the backfield by Ron Dayne. Dayne had a terrific December in 2006 and played a huge role in the franchise's first ever win over Indianapolis.

"We have a good group," Green said. "We have myself and Ron who are kind of the captains of the group or the head of the group and we've kind of shown the younger guys what we've picked up during our careers.

"We kind of show them how to make everything work as one and on the top of that we have a lot of fun. If you're not having fun, you're not going to be great at what you're doing."

Both Green and Dayne have been featured backs during their respective careers, but Green believes the duo won't have trouble sharing time in the backfield this season.

"To be honest, we're looking at it as we're here to help each other out," Green said. "I was happy when we signed him and he was happy when I was signed. We've watched each other through our careers, both in college and in the NFL and we respect each other. I like it. I can't wait to get started."

{QUOTE}Green and Dayne are backed by a plethora of young backs including Lundy, second-year player Chris Taylor and veteran Samkon Gado.

With rookie free agent Darius Walker also searching for a roster spot, competition will be fierce throughout training camp.

Perhaps the most interesting practice will be the ones in which Green and Dayne are given off, a nod to their experience.

"I've earned that privilege over the last four or five years," Green said of getting time off during training camp. "When they first said it to me in Green Bay, I was not ready for it. I'm that gym rat that loves to work, it was kind of hard for me to take but then I realized I could use a day off here and there."

Green will be on the field come Sundays and he thinks Houston's offense may surprise some teams this season with the talent that's been assembled across the board.

"With coach Sherman and coach Kubiak, they're both offensive minds so it's going to be run smoothly," Green said.

"But we have a big-time receiver in Andre Johnson and some other weapons. I think we're going to get this thing going on the ground and really do some things as an offensive unit that maybe people aren't expecting."

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