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Kubiak: Slaton "worn down"


With a day to digest the Texans' 41-13 loss to the Ravens, coach Gary Kubiak said his focus is on getting the team in better position to win football games. He also discussed the recent injuries to his starters.

Slaton worn down: Rookie running back Steve Slaton had just four carries for 7 yards. He did break away for a 58-yard touchdown reception that was called back for a holding penalty on tight end Owen Daniels. Regardless, Slaton didn't see much time on the field, and that's because carrying the load has started to take its toll on him.

"He was really worn down, to be honest with you," coach Gary Kubiak said. "He struggled last week in practice - just sharpness, speed, those types of things. He didn't miss any time or anything, but we just felt like we were going to do everything we could to split those reps up even more so - if anything, a little less for Steve than Ahman (Green) or the other young man in (Ryan) Moats."

Green finished the game with four carries for 19 yards, and Moats led all backs with seven runs for 34 yards.

{QUOTE}Slaton entered the game ranked third in the league among rookies in rushing with 538 yards. With Green fighting injuries this season, Slaton has gotten almost 55 percent of the Texans' carries. He has faced three of the top five defenses in the league. Plus, he is coming off a long college season at West Virginia that was followed by months of preparation for the 2008 NFL Draft.

Kubiak hopes that resting Slaton against Baltimore will make him more productive going into Sunday's game at Indy.

"I would hope that him not playing as many reps this week gets him back to full speed, but the kid needed a break," Kubiak said. "He's played a lot of football in a short period of time. I expect him to bounce right back."

Injuries to defensive starters: The Texans lost one starting linebacker when Zac Diles broke his leg last week and was placed on injured reserve. Now, they might be down another. Weakside linebacker Morlon Greenwood injured his ankle on Sunday and will be day-to-day this week.

"Our biggest injury coming out of the game was Morlon," Kubiak said. "Morlon's got a pretty good ankle (injury), but the x-rays were negative."

If Greenwood is not able to play, rookie Xavier Adibi would likely start in his place. Adibi saw action at the weakside position and on special teams against the Ravens, recording a tackle for a loss.

"Adibi showed up on special teams, did some good things," Kubiak said. "He played a little bit on the defensive side of the ball, especially when Morlon went down. But I think he's a player that could be a big factor here as we move forward. I think he has a chance to be a good player."

Defensive tackle Amobi Okoye was on the sidelines on Sunday with a high-ankle sprain and could miss time this week. Rookie Frank Okam got a lot of playing time in place of Okoye but struggled against the run late in the game

"Frank's got a long way to go," Kubiak said. "It was the first time he has played in a while. He did a few good things early in the game but was not consistent enough for us to win. He's got to get a lot better."

Team shares the blame: After Sunday's loss, Kubiak shouldered the blame for the team's poor performance. On Monday, he reiterated that message.

"I'm concerned about how we play," Kubiak said. "My job is to get them in better positions to play better and do a better job on the football field and, as I said, we didn't do that yesterday. That starts with me, but our concern will strictly be on our football."

The players, in turn, defended their coach.

"He's a coach that players all love playing for," quarterback Sage Rosenfels said. "He's hard on us quarterbacks, but I think he's fair. When we don't play well, he'll tell us. When we play well, he'll tell us. So he's a guy that's always been a stand-up type of guy, and I think players will always respect that and always play hard for a coach that's like that."

The consensus in the locker room is that entire team has to be better to win.

"I think we're all to blame," right tackle Eric Winston said. "I think we're all to criticize. None of us are doing our jobs well. We've got to figure out how we can execute better, how we can all do better. We're all in it together. It's not just the coaches. It's not just the players. We're all in it together."

Cornerback Dunta Robinson echoed that sentiment.

"Everybody has to be accountable, from the 53 men in this locker room to the coaches upstairs," he said. "Every guy has to be held accountable. Until that happens, we're going to be in this same situation. Like I said, players can't throw coaches under the bus and coaches can't throw players under the bus. Until every man looks himself in the face and looks at himself in the mirror, we're going to be in this same situation. It's all about accountability in this game, and until we become more accountable, it's going to be a long, uphill battle."

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