Notes: Ryans returns, Phillips fired up about Williams


Inside linebacker DeMeco Ryans practiced with the first-team defense on Monday after missing two weeks with an elbow injury.

The two-time Pro Bowler won't play Thursday in the preseason finale at Minnesota, but he expects to play in Week 1 against the Colts.

"I'm confident that I'll be out there," Ryans said. "I'm ready to go."

Ryans said his elbow injury was a "deep bruise." He's also recovering from a torn Achilles, which ended his 2010 season in Week 6.

"My Achilles is doing fine, much better," he said. "It's kind of been a blessing in disguise for me to have this time to do double rehab on my Achilles and also on the elbow."

No cuts yet
Texans coach Gary Kubiak did not announce any cuts after practice on Monday. The Texans have until Tuesday afternoon to get their roster down to 80 players.

"I know we have to let a few guys (go)," Kubiak said. "We've had to put a few guys on I.R., but I've got to go back and get with the situation right now, so I apologize. I don't want to speak out of turn."

Guard Kasey Studdard is among the players expected to be placed on injured reserve.

Phillips fired up about Mario
After the Texans' hour-long practice, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was asked how far Mario Williams is from feeling completely comfortable at outside linebacker.

"He's real close," Phillips said. "He had five rushes where he beat his guy clean last game. You're not going to have many more than that with 20 passes that they threw. I like the way he's playing.

"I don't know if you saw it during the game, but he jumped over a back. I mean, (Hall of Fame linebacker) Rickey Jackson could do that, but I haven't had many, especially at 280 pounds, that have that kind of athletic ability. That fired me up as much as anything. He can do those things, and if you can do those things, you can play."

Health check
Running back Steve Slaton and wide receiver/kick returner Trindon Holliday, both fighting for roster spots, have missed the entire preseason with hamstring injuries. Holliday was able to get back on the field on Monday.

"I was hoping Steve would be out here today," Kubiak said. "He was not, made a decision, he was not out here. Trindon practiced today. I'm expecting him to play (against the Vikings). Steve, I'll let you know more tomorrow."

"I start with a premise that there's assignment and there's responsibility. You may have an assignment to be in a gap or you may have an assignment to cover a guy, but your responsibility is get that football. Because guys say, 'Hey, I did my assignment. I got my gap.' You've heard that all the time, 'I got my gap' and a guy runs for a touchdown. Well, your responsibility is still get to the football, so that's our motto."
- Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, on how he has been able to foster trust among players so quickly

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