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Houston Texans

Practice report: 'Dre poised to set records


The Texans, winners of three straight, have seen their offense take off recently thanks to explosive performances from quarterback Matt Schaub and wide receiver Andre Johnson. Now, Johnson is poised to set NFL records.

'Dre dishes on big hits: Andre Johnson took four huge hits against the Bengals last Sunday. After each hit, the wide receiver popped up and pounded his chest to show that nobody could keep him down for long.

"I took a few shots during the Cincinnati game," Johnson said. "I think that's just something that defenses do to try to intimidate you. I can remember after catching one pass one of the guys on their team just saying, 'Hey, just keep hitting him.'

"Normally when that happens, guys tend to shy away from catching the ball or get the alligator arms or things like that. But I just try to take the hits and roll with it."

{QUOTE}The quiet receiver also responded by making play after play and by dishing out some talk of his own.

"That's not of my character," Johnson said. "But I was just like, 'Hey, that's not going to stop anything. I'm going to be here all day and I'm going to keep playing.'

"I guess I felt like they were trying to intimidate me, but I was just letting them know that, 'Hey I'm going to be here for 60 minutes, just like you're going to be here. I'm going to keep playing, and hopefully you'll keep playing - see how many hits you can get me and see how many I can take.'"

Johnson ended up the winner on that challenge, finishing the game with 143 receiving yards.

Linebackers get ready for AD: Second-year linebacker Zac Diles leads the team in tackles with 57 and fellow linebacker DeMeco Ryans, a three-year veteran, is second with 47. Diles, Ryans and Morlon Greenwood will be charged with helping stop running back Adrian "All Day" Peterson, who ranks second in the league in rushing with 684 yards.

"He's a big back but he's fast and he has the ability to make those cuts that a lot of big backs can't do," Ryans said. "He has the speed to take it to the house. So if you're wrong, he will take advantage of you."

The Texans will try to prevent just that by playing big upfront.

"You hardly ever see one person tackling him," Diles said of Peterson. "He likes to run the ball up inside. A lot of running backs try to get to the edge, but he's a guy that will cut it back inside quick and get a seam and hit it. So we have to be in our gaps and sound."

Diles has developed into one of the Texans' most versatile defenders. Defensive coordinator Richard Smith has used him in blitz packages, and Diles recorded his first career sack against the Lions. The linebacker also can drop back and defend the pass. He picked off Peyton Manning this season for his first career interception.

"Zac has become a fine, fine player," Kubiak said. "He's taking a lot of pressure and made a lot of plays from that standpoint."

Johnson poised to set NFL records: Johnson is poised to set two NFL records in Sunday's game at Minnesota. The Pro Bowler can become the first player to have five consecutive games with more than 130 receiving yards and the first to record 10-plus receptions for four consecutive games.

"I think if it was to happen, after the season was over, it would be a great accomplishment for a person to do something like that," Johnson said. "But that's something that you can't worry about. You just have to go out and play. You can't worry about records and things like that, because when you worry about those things, it kind of takes away from the game."

In the month of October, Johnson set himself apart as one of the best receivers to play the game. His four-week totals are mind-boggling: 41 receptions, 593 yards and two touchdowns. For the season, he has 56 catches for an NFL-high 772 yards, resulting in him ranking as the top player at his position and the Texans winning three consecutive games.

"I expected it," Kubiak said. "That was a heck of a month. I haven't seen many guys do what he's done over the course of the past four weeks."

Kubiak also said that Johnson is playing as well as any receiver he has seen, which means a lot because Kubiak coached Jerry Rice.

"It's a great compliment," Johnson said. "Like I said, all I do is worry about winning. I'm going to do whatever I have to do and just make the best of my opportunities. I've been fortunate to have a lot of opportunities this season. The ball has been thrown my way a lot, and I just try to make the best of it."

Injury notes: Running back Ahman Green got limited reps at the beginning of practice and sat out for most of the day. In case he does not play on Sunday, the Texans worked out Cecil Sapp and Ryan Moats.

"I'd like to see him practice tomorrow, too," Kubiak said. "We do have one more day and we'll get him out here. Hopefully, he does well tomorrow and we can count on him on Sunday.

For the official injury report, click here.

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