Ron Dayne, who has been averaging 2.9 yards per rush, wants to prove himself against Jacksonville.
The Houston Texans signed running back Adimchinobe Echemandu to the practice squad Wednesday. The four-year veteran left the Oakland Raiders to become the fifth Texans player born in Nigeria. Running back Samkon Gado, defensive end N.D. Kalu, defensive tackle Amobi Okoye and wide receiver Devin Aromashodu are all natives of Nigeria.
Green light: Running back Ahman Green got the green light Wednesday to practice at full speed. The 10-year veteran, who had been sitting out the last two weeks with a knee injury, said the knee was still sore, but he would work through that stiffness in practice.
"I'm going to get ready in practice," Green said. "That's always been my approach to every practice through my career, especially if I had an injury or I've sat a couple of games. When I come back, that week of practice is my preparation for the game."
The week of practice will also determine if the running back is ready to play Sunday against Jacksonville.
"It's day-to-day," Green said. "It feels good and from the way I feel right now, I think I'll be ready. Still, I have to do my tests during practice; I need to run hard and get in situations I know that I'm going to face - pick up the blitz, make hard cuts."
Green will have to pass those tests with flying colors before he faces a Jaguar run defense that surrendered a combined 139 yards on the ground in wins over Atlanta, Denver and Kansas City. But Green knows just being on the field Sunday will help his team get the run game going.
"Whatever I'm doing, running the ball, catching the ball, picking up the blitz, just being out there on the field because, it will give our offense a little bit more respect and keep that defense very honest," Green said. "I've played against them before and they know what type of runner I am and I know what type of defense they are. They are hard hitting."
Running on empty: The Texans rushing game has been running on empty with Green out of the lineup. The team is averaging 85.8 rushing yards a game and 3.2 yards per carry. Back-up rushers Ron Dayne and Samkon Gago have been getting 2.9 and 2.2 yards per carry respectively.
The Texans are about to face a Jag's run defense that last week held Kansas City premier back Larry Johnson to a mere 12 yards on nine carries and in Week 2 limited Atlants's Warrick Dunn to 50 yards rushing.
So what will the Texans running game look like going against such a notorious run defense?
"It doesn't sound like a good mix," Gado said. "And we're not going to get away with it this week, not running the ball and coming away with a 'W,' but this is a good opportunity for us to change it, turn it around, excellent challenge for our team to step up and to run the ball against a very good run defense."
Dayne said stepping up means working harder to improve every aspect of Houston's offense on the ground.
"We've just got to just get better" Dayne said. "Some backs, some line, some play call. It's a little bit of everything, so we've just got to get it all clicking and get better together."
Turnovers key: Head coach Gary Kubiak said the key to beating Jacksonville this year would be the same as beating them both times last year: winning the turnover margin.
"We got turnovers against them last year," Kubiak said. "You look at both games and I think we won the turnover battle in both games, but when you play them, you know what you're up against. It's going to be a very physical football game."
The Texans have only forced one turnover in the last three games, but the defense is preparing for a physical battle against their division rival.
"Man, they seem aggressive," linebacker Danny Clark said. "This team seems like they're playing physical football. They're running the ball effectively, and it's something that we have to deal with here in practice this week."
Clark, who spent four years in a Jaguar jersey, said he was also helping the Texans prepare by giving them inside information on his former team.
"I've got some insight on some of the personnel, the way the coach thinks and the attitude that they're going to bring," Clark said.
One tough division: The AFC South could be the toughest division in the NFL. The undefeated Colts rank ahead of the Jaguars who have won their last three in a row and are tied with the Tennessee Titans (4-1).
That doesn't leave much breathing room for the Texans, but the team isn't panicking.
"You look at our division, every team has a winning record and they're tough places to play," quarterback Matt Schaub said. "But if you can hold serve at home in this league, and then go and win some of the games on the road; if you can win in those tough environments, you'll put yourself in a good position then later on in the season."
Kubiak echoed his quarterback's thoughts, saying the division will only make his team better.
"Jacksonville has been steady and Tennessee, of course, coming on with Vince (Young) playing the way he's been playing and a lot of good, young players in that organization and a lot of good, young players in this organization coming on, I think it's just turned into a real strong division," Kubiak said. "And that's a good thing because it makes you better. It gets so competitive week in and week out."
Injury Report: For the Texans official injury report, please click here.