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Camp report: Day 8


The Texans cancelled their morning practice and opted to hold meetings with the team's newest addition, running back Mike Bell. In the afternoon session, the players put together their best practice of camp.

Brown's progress: Chris Brown stood on the sidelines Friday and watched running back Mike Bell jump into the team's running back-by-committee scheme.

Coach Gary Kubiak thinks Brown could return to that committee as early as Monday.

"He's much better," Kubiak said. "Probably the smart thing to do is wait 'til Monday morning and bring him back

"I don't think there is much Chris can do. His back has been a problem, and I think he wants out here as bad as anybody."

{QUOTE}Brown struggled with injury problems during his five years in Tennessee, playing in only 17 games in the last two seasons. Brown looked good during OTAs, and Kubiak still thinks he can be an effective complement to starter Ahman Green.

"I know he can help our team, and this team knows he can help," Kubiak said. "So we're excited to see him get out here and show us what he can do. Let's get him healthy, and hopefully it happens."

Pads on Saturday: Kubiak liked the way his team looked today, but he is more excited to watch them play in pads on Saturday.

"We won't scrimmage, but we're going to put our pads on," Kubiak said."We need to bang around pretty good tomorrow and then give them a good break tomorrow night and all day Sunday.

"We start playing every week now, so we'll get a chance to judge ourselves at the end of every week. It's been a good week, and we need to put the pads on. I want to see some of the backs in some blitz pick-up and stuff like that."

The coach has been most impressed with the way the defense has been playing at the line of scrimmage. Defensive end Mario Williams and defensive tackle Amobi Okoye continue to look exceptionally fast off the ball.

During individual drills, rookie defensive tackle Frank Okam even got the best of guard Chester Pitts on a rep, but Pitts wouldn't let that stand. The seventh-pro came back and shut down Okam in their subsequent matchup.

"I just think we're getting better," Kubiak said. "Our competition is so good, it keeps people on the field. I think we're getting mentally tougher, physically tougher as a football team. I just think you see it on a daily basis, and we've been a little lucky, too, from the standpoint of injuries."

Most of the Texans' injuries thus far have been minor. Wideout Jacoby Jones returned to practice last night after missing some time with a foot problem.

Odds and ends: Defensive end N.D. Kalu was not with the team because his wife was giving birth and having complications during labor.

"His wife is in labor," Kubiak said. "She's in labor right now, and he's at the hospital. He called a few minutes ago and said the baby was turned a certain way, so he may be a little late. I told him it's the most important thing for him to take care of his wife and his baby, so we're waiting to hear."

Chris Taylor saw action at fullback again, but he has been so impressive at running back that the coaches don't want to tinker with his game too much. Taylor's versatility and speed could make him very difficult to cut.

"He's fine, he's fine," Kubiak said. "He's running the ball so well now, we're not going to by any means abandon his opportunity to be one of our backs carrying the ball. We're just trying to be smart and give him a few reps each day at the backs position so that he's learning and ready to do that during the season, if need be."

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