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Practice Insider: Wednesday


Ron Dayne has rushed for 289 yards in the Texans' last three games.

The Texans were back to work Wednesday, preparing for a must-win game against the Tennessee Titans. However, the team also took time to reflect on the tragic death of Redskins safety Sean Taylor. To read the reactions, click here.

Sherm's double duty: Offensive coordinator and assistant head coach Mike Sherman is known for being one of the hardest working coaches in the NFL. Texans coaches often joke, "You can't outwork Sherm." Now that Sherman has accepted the head coaching job at Texas A&M, he is proving that statement to be true.

Sherman is working both jobs and he does not plan to reduce his 90-hour work week with the Texans.

"I've got to take care of my work here," Sherman said. "I owe that to this organization that has been very generous to me. And I owe it to the head coach. I just can't leave him hanging, and I wouldn't. I wouldn't feel right."

Sherman and head coach Gary Kubiak, a former A&M quarterback, are close friends. Sherman said Kubiak has supported the assistant coach's decision to go back to the college ranks and has offered to help Sherman if he gets stretched too thin with recruiting responsibilities.

"I have an obligation to the Texans and I feel very strongly about that obligation," Sherman said. "I also have an obligation to Texas A&M, so I'm going to try to balance it as best I can. And Gary's been great about it."

After formally accepting the position in College Station on Monday, Sherman returned to Houston where it is business as usual for the Texans as they prepare to face the Titans on Sunday.

The only player in Reliant Stadium with A&M on his mind is former Aggie Steve McKinney, who is rehabbing his knee after ACL surgery. McKinney would like to see his younger brother, Sean, be a Sherman recruit and suit up in maroon.

Sherman's response: "He's (McKinney) one of the best politicians in the city of Houston."

Dayne steams ahead: Running back Ron Dayne pounds away. That's his style. At 243 pounds with a lower center of gravity, it works.

Dayne has bolstered the running attack since Ahman Green went down with a knee injury. Over the last three games, the 1999 Heisman trophy winner has averaged 96.3 rushing yards per game. And the more carries Dayne gets, the more productive he is on the ground because of his ability to wear down defenses.

"I kind of stay about the same, so when guys are getting tired, I'm still about the same as I was when we started off," Dayne said. "I guess it's the defense getting tired.

"On defense, a lot of guys like to talk and they talk a lot early. Once you get in the fourth quarter, it's kind of hard for them to keep talking and play."

Dayne will get to test that theory against Tennessee, which will likely return defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth who has been sidelined with a hamstring injury. The Titans had not allowed more than 99 yards rushing with Haynesworth. They have given up an average of 160 without him and lost their last three games.

"I think he's the best inside player in football," Kubiak said. "I really do. I think he's having an MVP year. He's missed some time, but he'll be fresh and ready to go."

Haynesworth will certainly make Dayne's job more difficult, but Kubiak is hoping that Green might see some action against the Titans. Green did not practice Wednesday, but he did respond well to extensive, non-contact workouts.

"He didn't practice today, but he did do a lot today, so I'm encouraged," Kubiak said. "Maybe he's out here tomorrow, let's see. Tomorrow has been the target all along, so if he steps out here and practices tomorrow and feels good then we have a shot."

Speaking of Haynesworth: With the defensive tackle back in the game, the work load also increases for Houston offensive guards Fred Weary and Chester Pitts.

"He (Haynesworth) collapses a lot of people," Kubiak said. "He's a big man and he's very athletic. It will take Fred and Chester to be on the top of their game for us to have a chance to be successful."

Weary acknowledged that the offensive line will have to play much better than their previous showing against the Titans when the Texans recorded only 39 yards rushing.

"We're going to have to do some things in protection to give Ephraim (Salaam) and Chester (Pitts) help and sometimes, and they'll probably do the same for us," Weary said. "Also, everybody has to be good and sound in what they're doing up front."

Linebacker signed: Titans quarterback Vince Young can be a scary sight for the secondary with his ability to complete long-distance passes and break free in the open field. Just ask cornerback Von Hutchins.

"He definitely presents match-up problems with then entire defense, which is evident from what he did last year and what he's been doing this year," Hutchins said. "We just have to be ready for him and hopefully that quad injury is still there."

The quad injury is out of the Texans' control, but the team is working being ready. They helped that cause by singing reserve linebacker William Kershaw from the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad.

Kershaw, a Maryland product, was signed by the Chiefs as a college free agent in 2006. He played in Kansas City's AFC Wild Card Game against the Indianapolis Colts where he led the Chiefs with three special teams tackles.

The Texans waived defensive end Shantee Orr to make roster space for the linebacker.

Injury report: For the Texans' official injury report, click here.

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