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Ahman Green: Rushing past the hype


Texan Ahman Green will show which running back rules Reliant Stadium in Sunday's game against the Chiefs.

Texans running back Ahman Green is a four-time Pro Bowler who rushed for 8,491 yards and 54 touchdowns in nine seasons. From 2000-04, he ran for more yards and had more total yards from scrimmage than any running back in the NFL. But he not's the back people are talking about as the Texans prepare to host Kansas City at Reliant Stadium on Sunday.

The rusher getting the build up is the Chiefs' Larry Johnson. Johnson earned future Hall of Fame buzz last season when he carried the ball an NFL-record 416 times for a team-record 1,789 rushing yards. The two-time Pro Bowler turned around and used those numbers this preseason to secure the most lucrative contract in Chiefs' history.

But all of Johnson's hype and money mean nothing to Green. Green is more concerned with executing his plays and coming away with a win.

"I know I'm playing against a running back who's also well respected in the league," Green said. "I'm just going to make sure I play the best that I can play. And I know if my team, myself and Ron (Dayne) in the backfield can out-rush their offense, then we're doing our jobs."

So far, Green feels good about the job he's been doing. The 10-year veteran stepped into training camp after notching over 1,000 rushing yards in Green Bay last season, proving the knee injury that sidelined him in 2005 was distant memory.

During camp, Green battled the line each day, working overtime to fit into a new offensive system. And his warrior-like attitude immediately won over head coach Gary Kubiak.

"To take a guy like Ahman and ask him to be on the field in camp as much as we did - we needed to for him to develop a relationship with Matt (Schaub) and with our offense," Kubiak said. "He's been a great worker."

Now Green is rolling up his sleeves for the new business at hand. Knocking down regular season opponents, starting with the Chiefs.

"Our mindset's basically one game at a time," Green said. "One practice at a time, one game at a time. Everything else will come from our hard work in practice and hard work in the games.

"We got through the hard stuff, which was training camp, and getting beat up and getting your body acclimated to football season. So now we're ready to get this thing started."

The back began by studying film of the Chiefs' defense, which garnered lukewarm reviews during the preseason. Last year, they weren't much better, finishing 16th overall, 18th against the run and 18th against the pass.

Once again, Green ignores the talk and respects the opposition.

"They're fast," Green said. "They're young. And they're playing a popular defense right now - cover two, with the MIKE backer flying out of there. So it's going to be definitely a hard-hitting game and a fast game because of their linebackers and their d-linemen."

"And with a fast defense, you've go to be on your toes, because that means the blitz gets there a step faster. They roll into coverages quicker. And they adjust faster. So you've just got to be on your toes with your assignments and execute the way you know how."

Green and his offensive unit are preparing for the aggressive play of Chiefs defensive end Tamba Hali and linebacker Derrick Johnson, a top draft pick out of Texas. Hali can consistently hound the quarterback and Johnson can shoot the gaps.

Green's mission will be to get through those holes first.

"I know my assignment is to fire rapidly," Green said.

It's as simple as that. For Green, it's not about hype or stats. Beating Kansas City comes down to executing on the field.

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