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Jimmie Ward's impact in long-awaited Texans debut

After missing the first two games with a hip injury, starting safety Jimmie Ward made his debut as a Houston Texan. Ward, a ten-year veteran, played about 95 percent of snaps in the Texans' 37-17 win at Jacksonville.

"Felt great, felt great to be back out there with the guys, running, hitting," Ward said. "I feel sore. It's a good type of sore, you know? But we got that dub, so that's basically what all matters."

Ward finished with eight tackles (five solo), the second highest on defense in his first start of the season. His return gives a much-needed boost to the Houston secondary, depleted by injuries to S Jalen Pitre and CB Derek Stingley Jr., who was placed on IR last week.

"I just try to help as much as possible, try to be that extra communication, try to echo the calls," Ward said.

Ward, voted as a team captain by his Texans teammates, played nine seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and under DeMeco Ryans during his time as defensive coordinator. According to Ryans, Ward's return improved communication on the defensive side of the ball.

"Having Jimmy Ward back, patrolling at the safety position, that was really big for us," Ryans said. "Jimmy and (LB) Henry (To'oTo'o) in there communicating together, it went really, really well, it was good to see those guys work well together and to see him make the plays that they made."

Ward and the Texans will next host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. Kickoff is set for noon CT on CBS and Sports Radio 610.

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