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Houston Texans

Kubiak lists Green day-to-day with groin


Coach Gary Kubiak will look to add a running back to the roster.

The Texans are interested in signing another running back with Ahman Green sidelined for the next few weeks with a pulled groin.

Green listed as day-to-day: The Texans lost running back Ahman Green on their first play of Saturday's game against the Denver Broncos. Green pulled his groin after he caught a 5-yard pass from Matt Schaub and will be listed as day-to-day.

"It's very disappointing," coach Gary Kubiak said. "After what we've been through and how important he is to the football team and how good of a camp he's had, to have that happen on a play where you don't even get touched - it's kind of deflating in a way. But I think today we feel better about it."

Kubiak compared Green's injury to the groin strain wide receiver Andre Johnson suffered on Aug. 2. Both players could sit out the next three weeks but should be healthy for regular season play.

"I kind of see him like Andre coming off that thing a week ago," Kubiak said. "I think if we were in the season and playing right now, that we would push it harder and try to get him back quicker. I think right now we'll be smart."

{QUOTE}Green's injury raises questions about his durability going into the season. The Pro Bowler played in only six games last year because of a deep bruise to his knee. He assumed starting duties during training camp and said he felt as good as he did in 2006 when he rushed for 1,059 yards. Green's injury is considered to be relatively minor, though..

"It doesn't feel bad," Green said after the game. "It's just a little sore. I still have a lot of strength, so I am not really concerned about it. I've got a bit of time to get better."

Texans looking at backs: With Green on the sidelines for perhaps a few weeks, the team will need another running back in the fold. Kubiak said the team has hasn't been going after big names (i.e. former Longhorn Cedric Benson). Instead, the team would like to add a player that has a chance to make the team and who can keep Chris Taylor, Darius Walker, Steve Slaton and Chris Brown from getting worn down.

Slaton had the most impressive showing of the group Saturday, leading in the team in rushing with 37 yards. The rookie is downright fast, but he hurts himself by making too many moves in the backfield.

"You could tell by just watching the film that he (Slaton) is faster than anybody out there," Kubiak said. "If we can get him going in the right direction, he's got a chance to make some big plays."

Walker finished second on the team in rushing yards with 29. Taylor showed flashes of his old self on a few carries, but he struggled to find the hole and missed a block in the second quarter that resulted in a sack of quarterback Sage Rosenfels.

"All three of those guys have to become more complete players," Kubiak said. "They have to protect the quarterback better. We almost lost a very valuable piece of our team because of a busted assignment."

Brown was held out of Saturday's game to give his back extra time to heal, but he should play against New Orleans.

The Texans finished with 140 yards rushing on 36 carries, a 3.9-yard average. But 54 of those yards came in the fourth quarter, and quarterback Shane Boyd was the third-leading rusher with 28 yards. Kubiak said the backs still have to work on adjusting to new reads and cuts, but he thought the ground game had made progress.

"The thing I liked about the game as I told you was the mentality at the end of the game," Kubiak said. "We were able to run the ball. Even though that was a lot of our backup players fighting for a spot out there, that's the way you want to be able to do things. I think it was a step in the right direction."

The bright spots: Kubiak found some bright spots in unlikely places. Young backups buoyed an offensive line that was down three players, guards Scott Jackson and Fred Weary and left tackle Ephraim Salaam.

Tackle Rashad Butler and guard Mike Brisiel earned praise from the head coach. Rookie left tackle Duane Brown, however, may have taken home the highest marks when he held his own against right end Elvis Dumervil, who recorded 12.5 sacks last season.

"He (Brown) had a lot of snaps against him, but very much under control," Kubiak said. "No problems assignment-wise, showed the ability to cut down field.

"I'll tell you one of the things that really jumped to me when I watched the tape, this kid's enthusiasm to play the game. We were kicking an extra point and he's over there congratulating Kris (Brown). This kid loves to play, he's been pressed into a very quick role, for obvious reasons, and he's handling it well."

The passing game excelled under Rosenfels, who recorded 137 yards, a touchdown and a passer rating of 117.9. Wide receiver David Anderson caught six passes for 67 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, the team played extremely well in the red zone and found a way to get turnovers. The Texans allowed only one touchdown, a 15-yard run by quarterback Jay Cutler, and they forced Denver to kick three field goals.

The defense got big plays from backups Nick Ferguson (safety) and Jamar Fletcher (cornerback), who each notched an interception.

"Coming out of this game, you have to look at some of these players that were listed as second- and third-team players that have proven they deserve more of an opportunity and get opportunities with the first unit," Kubiak said.

Pass rushers step up: The position battle at defensive end got more interesting Saturday with seasoned vet N.D. Kalu showing he still has a lot of gas left in the tank.

"N.D has got a knee that's bothered him and a body that's beat up through years of service, but I saw a guy who was hungry to help this football team...and that's important to me," Kubiak said. "I don't care if you've been doing it 12 years or two years. He stepped out there and really played with a tremendous amount of effort and put some pressure on the quarterbacks."

Kubiak also said that defensive end Earl Cochran is becoming "a player that's looking more and more like a starter every day."

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