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Practice report: Green practices


The Texans held their first practice of the week to get ready for the Jaguars, a team that is coming off a last-minute win at Indy. For the Texans, Sunday's game offers a chance for redemption over an AFC foe.

Slaton comes on quick: Just when the Texans needed a miracle at running back they got one in the form of a 5-9, 200-pound rookie. Steve Slaton, who had been drafted this year as a third-down back, rushed for 116 yards against Tennessee and proved he could carry the load in just about every situation.

"I think we are all excited about his start in his first game out," coach Gary Kubiak said. "The quicker he becomes a fine, fine player, the better it's going to be for our football team here. I think the thing that was very encouraging for us was, we were concerned with how much of a load he could handle and he ended up handling a lot more than we expected."

Slaton withstood the 6-6, 320-pound Albert Haynesworth, blocking the defensive tackle in pass protection.

"He's obviously shown us that he can do everything," Kubiak said. "He protected well in the game. Had one blitz pick-up where he actually ended up on Haynesworth and went in there and mustered it up and did the best he could and did a good job. So I'm encouraged by the progress he's making and I'm real encouraged of how he's come back from his first NFL start to practice today."

{QUOTE}Kubiak announced on Monday that Slaton, who averaged 6.4 per carry at Tennessee, would be the team's starting ball carrier. The rookie is about to face another stout defensive line which is anchored by two-time Pro Bowl tackle John Henderson. Slaton will be charged with finding the creases against the Jags and keeping the team in manageable first-down situations.

"They'll be probably the biggest group we face throughout the season, biggest group number 20 (Slaton) has been tackled by," Kubiak said. "So they're going to really be physical from that standpoint.

"So we're going to go down there and play clean and find a way to stay consistent. If you start getting third- and-longs against this group, then you're in trouble."

On Tuesday, Slaton was nominated for Diet Pepsi Rookie of the Week honors for Week 3. Click **here** to vote.

Rosenfels stands behind Schaub: Media pundits have been calling for backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels to replace Matt Schaub, who enters Week 4 with a quarterback rating of 51.7. But there is no quarterback controversy in Houston. Kubiak said Schaub will remain the starter. It's a decision the players support, even Rosenfels.

"As a competitor, I'd love to play," Rosenfels said. "But as I also said, changing one player out isn't going to make - I can't imagine it making some huge difference. But, yeah, as a competitor I'd love to play. But everyone knows that Matt is the starting quarterback on this team."

Local radio stations have been flooded this week with callers blaming Schaub for the team stalling in the red zone and struggling to convert on third downs. Rosenfels, however, said he has not been following the recent coverage of the team.

"I haven't had TV for the last week, or the internet," Rosenfels said. "So I couldn't tell you what's going on around town. I don't listen to talk radio when I'm driving to work in the morning or when I go home. So to be honest with you, I really don't know what the feel of Houston is. It doesn't really matter, though I do appreciate people's support."

Schaub is the first to acknowledge his struggles, offering no excuses for his three interceptions or two fumbles in Tennessee.

"There were a couple of throws there late where I was trying to put the ball in the end zone and you know had a couple of turnovers at the end," Schaub said. "But there were definitely plays on film there early in the game that I don't characteristically make, so I just need to clean those things up and understand that I'm going to have to play a lot better for us to win."

Jags took Texans lightly: The Texans own a 7-5 win advantage over the Jags and Jacksonville is the only team in the AFC South the Houston has a winning record against.

So why do the Texans have the Jags' number? Jacksonville quarterback David Garrard said it's because his team used to take the Texans too lightly.

"Like I said, we just took them lightly before, and we definitely don't do that now," Garrard said. "We hopefully won't do that this week because even though they are 0-2, our backs are still against the wall too. At 1-2, there is nothing to celebrate. We do feel better after our win last week, but these are two teams that are scratching and clawing to get a win."

Linebacker DeMeco Ryans' reacted to Garrard's comments by saying:

"If that's how they perceive us, then that's how they perceive us, but us. We don't take any opponents lightly, and every week is a tough week in the NFL."

The Jags are coming off a last-minute win 23-21 over the Colts. Jacksonville hasn't won at home and is looking to even its record at 2-2. The Texans are hungry for their first win of the season and want a shot at redemption after struggling against the Steelers and Titans.

"It's a big game for us," Schaub said. "Go on the road, in Jacksonville, to get a win - we want to erase the taste of the first two weeks out of our mouths and get off the streak that we've been on here. You know, 0-2. To get that first win, it's a big test for us, but one we have to stand up to."

Injury notes: Running back Ahman Green returned to practice for the first time since injuring his ankle against the Steelers. Green worked out with the scout team and is doubtful for Sunday's game. Safety Brandon Harrison sat out of practice with a sprained shoulder and wideout Kevin Walter did not participate in drills because of a toe injury.

For the official injury report, click **here**.

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