Running Back Chris Brown missed his sixth training camp practice because of back spasms. But Ahman Green looked as strong as ever in the Texans open workout.
Brown down, but not out: Chris Brown now has missed six training camp practices, the last four because of back spasms.
For a player with a history of injuries who is competing in a fierce training camp battle, Brown knows that he's missing precious time.
"It always worries you," the former Tennessee Titans running back said. "You have to go out there and you have to perform every day, day in and day out. That's what they expect you to do."
Coach Gary Kubiak is keeping a close eye on Brown.
"I'm concerned about the time missed," Kubiak said. "You've got four backs going, guys really working hard. He needs to get on the field and catch up with the football team, but, you know, we've got to deal with the issues. That's part of it; just have to keep working."
Brown, who was signed this offseason to provide a one-two punch with Ahman Green, is optimistic about his return.
"My back is just tight," he said. "(I'm) dealing with some back spasms. Hopefully, we can get it settled down and I can get back out here."
Brown has had stiffness in his back previously, but never to this extent. Team doctors and trainers will take a closer look at his injury later Tuesday.
"It shouldn't be too bad at all," Brown said. "Once it settles down, everything should be good."
Green healthy, happy: To see Ahman Green healthy and hitting holes that an 18-wheeler could fit through is akin to seeing a kid with his first bike.
And once the preseason begins, Green can't wait to remove the tricycle wheels.
"The crazy thing about it is (the offensive linemen) don't even get to cut block in practice and we're getting holes," Green said. "So once preseason games start and the regular season (begins), when they actually can cut (block) a guy, hopefully the holes will be even bigger than what they are now. So I'm really excited about it."
Time and again in practice, Green runs against the grain, so to speak, to find gaping holes in the defense. Within moments he reaches the second level where he is one-on-one with a defensive back.
That's a recipe for success that Green directly attributes to the improvement of the offensive line.
"Yeah, like I said, these guys up front – Chris Myers, Ephraim (Salaam), Chester (Pitts), the young rookie Duane (Brown), Eric Winston, Mike Brisiel – all of those guys, they're busting their butts and trying to make themselves better, which they are, and that's making us better because we can see what they're doing and then just work off of them. They don't have to worry about where we're at. Just go get your guy and we're going to run off of you."
The way assistant head coach Alex Gibbs has simplified the run game also has benefited the run game, says Green.
"I'm enjoying it a lot because he's a hard coach," Green said of Gibbs. "He's hard on you during practice, but in the meeting rooms he makes things very simple. He points things out to us that we need to see. Sometimes it's the only thing we need to see when we run a play. So we're not out there thinking too much as runners, because as a runner, you don't need to think too much. Just react to what's in front of you."
With his health intact for now, Green is turning the page on last year and looking forward to a productive season.
"I know what I can do when I'm healthy," he said. "I think everybody, once in a while in their career, they get an injury year where they really can't do much about it but just concede to the injury and get better. That's basically what I did. I went on I.R., got better during the offseason and I feel a lot better. Now it's just about going out there and doing what I know I can do."
Gibbs' daily dish: Guard Chester Pitts has called Gibbs the "Angry Cherokee," referring to the wise coach's cantankerous manner on the field.
Well, Gibbs has a few choice expressions of his own.
"I've always said Alex will make you good or he'll make you gone," left tackle Salaam said. "That's his favorite thing to say is getting good or get gone."
In the Tuesday morning session, Gibbs warned a left tackle who was going into a one-on-one drill: "Watch (Tim) Bulman. He's coming with mustard. He's got mustard in his eye."
Nothing makes Gibbs happier than firing up an offensive lineman and getting a good rep out of him. He also loves it when a tackle gives the defensive lineman a final push in the back at the end of a play.
"I don't know how he does it, but it's crazy, his energy is innate," Pitts said. "He doesn't drink a whole bunch of coffee and he's not Red Bulling it, drinking all kinds of things to get him going. He just wakes up and he is like a firecracker, but it's fun to me. I enjoy his energy. He's out there always having fun, and all he wants is for us to get better."
Injury notes: Fred Weary did not practice Tuesday because of a hamstring issue. The guard missed OTAs because he was rehabbing from the leg injury he suffered in December and now is battling to win back starting duties from Brisiel.
"Fred's kind of going through, basically, his offseason in a lot of ways because he's behind the team from a physical standpoint," Kubiak. "So we just took him out of there this morning. We'll continue to be smart with him when he practices."
Jacoby Jones still is day-to-day with a foot injury. His time on the sidelines gives Kubiak a chance to evaluate other wideouts trying to make the team.
"We have got a bunch of young receivers that I want to look at, anyway," Kubiak said. "We are just going to make sure that it is feeling OK before he (Jones) comes back out here."
Tackle Scott Jackson was forced to sit out of practice with plantar fasciitis, the painful foot problem that Mario Williams dealt with his rookie season.
Cornerback Demarcus Faggins should be close to returning from a tweaked hamstring. Kubiak said none of these injuries should effect the long-term health of the team.
"The good thing with all the guys we're talking about is that all the guys should be back on the field at some point," Kubiak said. "So we're not talking about losing guys for a period of time.
"I keep charts from year to year for where we're at and even though we came to practice with 80, we are actually practicing more guys this day today than we were the last two years. So we're holding up pretty good."