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Practice report: Jones to return kicks


The Texans wrapped up their week of preparation for the Cincinnati Bengals on Friday. After the final practice, coach Gary Kubiak made an important announcement regarding the team's starting kickoff returner.

Jacoby gets double duty: After three practices and much deliberation, Kubiak decided that wide receiver Jacoby Jones will start at kick returner in place of Andre Davis this week. Wide receiver David Anderson also will be available to return kicks.

Both Jones, the starting punt returner, and Anderson figure to play prominent roles in the passing game as well as on special teams against the Bengals.

"They're all going to play," Kubiak said. "They're going to rotate, but David's our zebra (receiver) and Jacoby can play all three spots. But they'll all be out there."

Anderson missed practice Wednesday with the flu, which has been going around the office this week. But that won't slow him down on Sunday.

"Yeah, he's alright," Kubiak said. "Even some coaches have been sick. (Offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan) got sick on us Monday. It just seems like it's going around, but David's OK."

A potential milestone weekend: The Texans never have lost to the Miami Dolphins or the Oakland Raiders.

On the other hand, the team never has beaten the Bengals. A win this weekend would erase that from the Texans' record as well as give the Texans their first-ever three-game win streak and put the franchise back in the playoff hunt.

In other words, a lot is on the line this Sunday, and Kubiak is well-aware of the high stakes.

"It's an important game for our team," Kubiak said. "We've done some good things. We have a lot of things we have to clean up. We're playing a team that's very explosive (and) that this place has never beaten. It's just another challenge, but that's the National Football League."

A familiar face: Many fans may remember running back Cedric Benson, the former University of Texans standout and first-round draft pick currently starting for the Cincinnati Bengals.

But Benson also is well-known inside Reliant Stadium. Tackle Eric Winston played with Benson at Midland Lee High School in the late '90s, and Benson's name certainly showed up on the Texans' radar after the Chicago Bears released him earlier this year.

"Well, those names come up all the time with (general manager) Rick (Smith) and the scouts," Kubiak said when asked whether the Texans considered signing Benson. "That's always a question, but we liked our young guys and we knew we were going to go with Steve (Slaton). And fortunately, Ahman (Green) is back now."

Benson was the Bears' fourth overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, but off-the-field issues eventually led to his release in June. He remained unsigned as a free agent until Cincinnati signed him on Sept. 30.

"I think one of the toughest roads in the National Football League is being a very, very high draft choice because there's a lot of weight on your shoulders and a lot of pressure," Kubiak said of Benson. "Usually, if you're a really, really high draft choice, you're probably going to a team that, at the time, is struggling or something, so you're really asking even more. So those guys that make it through that are special guys, but there are guys that struggle early and then come on and play well.

"I know he's been working out good for everybody and I know he's doing a good job for them. I know what he's very capable of."

Injury Notes: Defensive end Mario Williams is probable with a shoulder, while the Bengals' injury list is extensive with 14 players listed.

For the official injury report, click here.

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