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Camp report: Day 10


Things got intense Monday morning when a skirmish broke out between the offensive and defensive lines. Tempers calmed and the D-line used its aggression to put together a solid outing. Running back Chris Brown practiced for the first time in a week, and wideout Andre Johnson nursed the groin he injured on Saturday.

'Dre watch: Andre Johnson draped a towel over his head to keep cool while watching practice from the sidelines. All eyes were on the wide receiver, who injured his groin Saturday when he stretched out for a Matt Schaub pass.

Johnson has maintained that nothing popped and that the injury is minor, but his limp over the weekend had everyone in Reliant Park holding their breath.

Well, people were taking a sigh of relief when they saw Johnson walking around Monday's practice without a hitch.

"Andre is doing well," coach Gary Kubiak said. "I think we're very fortunate with Andre, but I think we're going to take the cautious approach. We're going to make sure we get him 120 percent back before he comes back out here. We'll try to keep his condition level up, but I think we're very fortunate that it wasn't worse."

{QUOTE}The Texans could hold Johnson out of practice for the rest of the week, and there's a good chance that he won't play in the first preseason game against the Broncos. But Kubiak will wait until later this week to make that decision.

"It's easy for me to tell you no right now," Kubiak said about dressing Johnson on Saturday. "We've got a long way to go. We'll see how he's doing. He was very upbeat and felt very good, so we'll see."

Brown back, Bell hobbling: Running back Chris Brown returned to practice after missing a week of training camp with a back injury. He got limited reps because the coaches didn't want to wear him down, but Brown looked healthy while carrying the ball and probably will see action against Denver.

"He looks like he came out fine, actually," Kubiak said. "It was about six plays in practice and I sent somebody over to check and I said, 'He's done. I don't want to see the last six plays,'

"I think he got through clean. We'll see how he reacts. We'll probably put him on the turf since he took a step forward. So I'm hoping everything is OK this week and he gets some time this weekend."

Running back Mike Bell, however, was walking gingerly after tweaking his hamstring over the weekend. Bell hadn't seen extended time on the field since he was released by the Broncos in July. Missing a week of conditioning can take its toll on a running back, especially one that's not accustomed to the heat.

"I think he's behind our team physically, conditioning-wise," Kubiak said. "You can't go out here and all of a sudden go miss 8-10 days as a back. We're going to give him a couple days here and see if we can get him back on the field. He tells us this has happened before and he was back within a couple days. We're going to trust him on that and see if we can get him back out here, hopefully tomorrow."

After the team' second practice, which was held outside so that Brown wouldn't have to play on the turf, the running back said he wasn't feeling any back pain.

"I knew everything, no mental mistakes," Brown said. "My body held up pretty good, so hopefully we can just build on that."

Bell could sit out a practice or two this week, but the team would like him to get reps and prevent running backs Ahman Green, Darius Walker, Steve Slaton and Chris Taylor from getting worn down.

Green has been taking off the afternoon sessions to keep his legs fresh, and Taylor has been working out with the fullbacks. That means Walker and Slaton have been getting a lot of carries. The coaches would like to see those two stay fresh, especially because they will test Slaton's skills as a punt returner during practice this week.

"The thing I want to do in fairness to him is get him out here fresh and see him do it," Kubiak said about Slaton returning punts. "Some of our special teams' periods come midway through practice, so he's pretty gassed. I do want to look at him. I think it's something he should be good at, if catching the ball is comfortable."

Tempers flared: Tempers flared at the beginning of practice when the defensive line brought the heat and the offensive line wasn't too happy. Shoving ensued, but Kubiak got the team settled down and refocused.

"Let me be the first one to say that I put them in a tough position really as a coach because I'm saying, 'You be aggressive, you knock the heck out of people, but stay off the ground,'" Kubiak said. "That's hard to do. It's hard to play this game when you're being very aggressive and keeping people up, but that's what we have to do as a team.

"We have to keep the interest of the team intact as we practice, and I understand that's tough in what I'm asking them to do. But I thought we found another gear today, and that's a big point of emphasis for our football team right now. And I thought we took a step forward today."

The D-line released some of its aggression during individual drills, where defensive line coach Jethro Franklin had the unit working on creating creases for the pass rush. During meetings on Sunday, Franklin talked to the unit, especially tackle Frank Okam, about playing tougher and doing a better job of finishing plays at the line of scrimmage. For the most part, Kubiak thought the defensive line accomplished that on Monday.

"This game's about intensity and I felt that we needed to find another level of intensity," Kubiak said. "That was something we addressed as a team last night and we found it this morning, but we're not going to lose our composure.

"That's what football is all about. You've got to be able to play physical, play nasty but you've got to understand the team is number one. You can't hurt your team, so it's a good lesson for everybody. I like the enthusiasm and effort, but we're not going to lose players because of lost composure."

Weather concerns could change schedule: Kubiak wants to make sure the team is prepared for the severe weather ahead, so he is considering changing Tuesday's practice schedule.

"We'll try to get an update on exactly when they think this thing will be here and do what's best for all the players and their families so that they feel safe," Kubiak said. "What we'll do is chart it."

The Texans are considering moving the morning session to a later time.
Wynn signed: The Texans signed cornerback Dexter Wynn, a fifth-year pro who recorded five tackles and four passes defensed in eight games for Houston last season. He also can return punts and kickoffs, if necessary.

Wynn was signed because the team placed cornerback Jimmy Williams on injured reserve Monday. Williams tore his knee this offseason and will undergo surgery on Tuesday.

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