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Moats getting more involved


A third-round draft pick in 2005, Moats had 34 yards rushing last week against the Baltimore Ravens.

Running back Ryan Moats is making the most of a new opportunity in Houston after signing as a practice squad player in October. A third-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2005, Moats has played in three games at running back and kick returner for the Texans and led the team with seven carries for 34 yards last Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

In a little more than a month with the Texans, Moats has shown flashes of the ability he displayed during a prolific college career at Louisiana Tech, where he also ran in a zone blocking scheme.

"I scouted him when he was in college, and he was a really quick guy," Texans running backs coach Chick Harris said. "He made a lot of things happen. He was very good in space and just 100 miles an hour all the time.

"So when he became available, we picked him up, and he is a 100-percent-effort guy. He can make some people miss in small spaces, and we're really happy to have him."

Moats smiled when he was told how Harris described his all-out, all-the-time effort.

"I guess that's just the way I've been bred as far as when I run the ball, I run it," he said. "I mean, if it's a walkthrough, I can't really 'walk through.' I know they laugh at me sometimes because I'm going 1,000 miles per hour even through a walkthrough, but I don't know – there's just something in my body that tells me, 'Go,' and when it's time to go, I just go."

Moats was named Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year as a junior at Louisiana Tech and compiled 3,112 rushing yards, 441 receiving yards and 30 total touchdowns in his three-year collegiate career.

He made a splash in the NFL with a promising rookie season in Philadelphia. An injury to Brian Westbrook opened the door for more playing time for Moats, and he racked up 55 carries for 278 yards (5.1 average) and three touchdowns over seven games. His best output came against the New York Giants, when Moats ran for 114 yards and two touchdowns on only 11 carries.

{QUOTE}The following season, Moats' role declined. He received only 22 carries, then injured his ankle in the 2007 preseason and was placed on injured reserve. The Eagles released Moats this August, and the Arizona Cardinals, who signed him to their practice squad a couple of weeks later, released Moats on Oct. 1.

The Texans signed him on Oct. 7 and promoted him from the practice squad prior to the Bengals game to provide added depth at running back and kickoff returner. In three games with the Texans, Moats has 10 carries for 51 yards (5.1 average) and seven kickoff returns for 157 yards (22.4 avg.), with a long of 32 yards.

Moats, who prides himself on being able to run inside and to the outside, is relishing the chance to make his mark with the Texans.

"It means the world to me," he said. "When I came in as a rookie when I got drafted to Philly, personally, I thought I did very well as a runner – had my first 100-yard game there as a rookie and all that – but things didn't work out. And I really can't tell you why they didn't because I did everything that was asked of me, but I'm just happy that I got the chance to go somewhere else and show what I could do as a runner.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity that I got in Philly, but I'm even more grateful for the opportunity that I'm getting now."

Harris praised Moats' versatility and willing-to-work attitude, indicating that Moats could take on a bigger role as the season progresses.

"You need legs as you get into the last half of the season, and there are going to be opportunities for him," Harris said. "And any time you have an opportunity, when the opportunity knocks, you'd better be ready to go, and I think he's going to be prepared. He's been able to get a little bit more comfortable with our offense... He's made the best out of what he's been able to do so far, and hopefully, we can get even more out of him."

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