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Camp report: Day 7


Texans fans began lining up outside the Methodist Training Center at 10:30 am Thursday to claim seats to the team's only open training camp night practice. A record 4,776 fans attended the practice under the lights.

Texans sign Bell: The Texans worked out free agent running back Mike Bell Thursday morning and liked what they saw, prompting them to sign the third-year pro. Bell spent the last two years in Denver, including his rookie season in 2006 when he rushed for 677 yards and eight touchdowns.

The Texans were in the market for another ball carrier because Chris Brown has missed four consecutive days of training camp with a back injury that could sideline him the rest of the week. Brown received an injection on Wednesday and was evaluated by trainers during the morning session.

"He jogged a little bit today," coach Gary Kubiak said of Brown. "I watched him when we were in our individual period. I'll have to get back in there and talk to (head athletic trainer) Kevin (Bastin). What I saw watching him jog, I would still think he's a few days away at least."

{QUOTE}Adding Bell to the roster will help keep the team's other four backs from getting worn down in camp, but it doesn't mean the team is giving up on Brown.

"Injuries have held him back in his career, but he did have a good offsesason," Kubiak said of the former Tennessee Titans runnning back. "He worked with our team and didn't miss anything; he was fine. He had a good OTAs and made every practice. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed right here.

"I'm hoping he's back here in a couple days. I know he can help this football team, but we know we've got to get him out here. We're just going to do everything we can to get him healthy and stay positive on the issue and try to get him back out here."

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Bell plays in evening practice: Bell didn't waste any time getting familiar with his new team. The running back got reps in the evening practice and could find his way on the roster during the season. He already is familiar with the Texans' scheme, which is similar to what the Broncos run.

"He looked a lot faster than everybody else to begin with, but he got tired very quick," Kubiak said. "We just got to get him going. It's an easy call for us because he understands what we're doing and he knows the system ,so he can walk out here and go today. He's got some talent. There is an opportunity for him as we get Chris healthy."

Because Bell had worked out earlier in the day, the coaches rested him during the two-minute drill and scrimmages. Bell admitted that he was nervous during the tryouts and was pretty worn out by the end of practice.

"I was super nervous," Bell said. "It was like going back to the combine. You have to try to impress some people. You have guys watching and you just have to do your best. I just know the average NFL player's career is not that long, so I have to do the best that I can when I get my opportunities."

He said knowing Denver's system will allow him to contribute immediately to Houston's offense.

"It helps out a lot," Bell said. "It's not like going to a team where everything is different. This is pretty much identical, so I can jump in there. I can jump in the play and I'm ready to go for the most part. So I'm going to get in the playbook and just refresh, because I haven't played running back in almost a year. So, I'll refresh my skills. I'm excited. This is a great team and a great organization."
Anderson comes up big: The coaches will have a hard time cutting third-year pro David Anderson this year. The 5-10 wideout keeps coming up with big catches during camp and he has started to come on as a punt returner.

During the Texans' evening session, Anderson made a leaping grab up the sidelines that had the crowd cheering. He also dazzled with a shake move on a return that led to a breakaway. The fact that he is excelling on offense and special teams makes him a valuable commodity.

As for the other Texans receivers, they didn't look to shabby. Kevin Walter has been catching everything in sight and appears to be quarterback Matt Schaub's favorite target in camp.

But Schaub isn't forgetting about 'Dre. During the two-minute drill, Schaub hit Andre Johnson with a 25-yard touchdown pass with about nine seconds left on the clock. Kubiak couldn't help but smile after the play.
Linebackers look to Holland: The Texans are lucky to have linebackers coach Johnny Holland on the field this year. When Mike Sherman left Houston to become the head coach at Texas A&M, Kubiak feared that Holland would follow him.

"I thought I was going to lose him this offseason," Kubiak said. "I know how bad the Aggies wanted him and Sherman wanted him. But I know that Johnny likes the city of Houston and is excited about what we're doing and the guys that he's working with."

Holland, who was a three-year starter at Texas A&M, led the Aggies' vaunted "Wrecking Crew" defense in tackles in each of his final three seasons in College Station before moving on to the NFL as a second-round draft choice by the Packers in 1987.

The linebackers respect Holland because of his playing experience, and the coach isn't afraid to go to bat for his guys.

"I think those players respect the fact that he's been there before," Kubiak said. "And what he's asking them to do, he's done before and he battles for them. And, like I always tell you all, good coaches battle for their players, and that's what Johnny does."

Holland enters his third season with the Texans. Last year, middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans led the team in tackles with 127 and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl. Ryans brought Holland and the rest of the linebackers with him to Hawaii to show his gratitude to the unit.

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