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Practice report: New rotation at linebacker


With rookie quarterback Joe Flacco leading the way, the Ravens have started the year 5-3. But the Texans' defense plans to get after Flacco, using a new rotation with their front seven.

New rotation at linebacker: With Zac Diles out for the season with a broken leg, Kevin Bentley will get a chance to start at strongside linebacker. Backing up Bentley will be rookie Xavier Adibi, who has been active for only one game this season.

Coach Gary Kubiak plans to play Adibi for 15 to 20 snaps. Adibi has gotten most of his work at weakside linebacker, but could come in at any of the three positions because middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans has been slowed by a sore shoulder.

"He (Adibi) can play anywhere, but right now, we're working those guys all over the place," Kubiak said. "Basically, we have a rotation going because we've got concerns about DeMeco's shoulder right now. He did practice today. He'll be ready to play, but at the same time, he's banged up, too."

If Ryans has to come out of the game, Bentley most likely will move to the middle and wear the helmet with the defensive transmitter. Adibi would play the strongside position.

Bentley has been a staple on special teams for the Texans and doesn't want that to change, but Kubiak has concerns about overworking the seventh-year pro.

"I expect him to do everything he can do," Kubiak said. "But if he's on the field 50, 60 snaps of defense, (special teams coordinator) Joe's (Marciano) has got to find a way to give him a break, too."

To help provide relief, the Texans activated linebacker Kevin Coley from the practice squad.

Kubiak counting on Green: Kubiak said he expects running back Ahman Green to be healthy for Sunday's game. The Texans need all the help they can get in the backfield against the Ravens, who rank number first in the league against the run, allowing just 64.2 yards per game.

"I'm counting on him being ready to go and take his normal load," Kubiak said. "He practiced full time today and probably did a little bit extra."

Green is one of the few offensive players on the team with seasoned experience against a 3-4 team that runs such complicated blitz schemes.

"They blitz the run," Green said. "They blitz the pass. They've got aggressive guys. They've got physical guys. They've got big guys that can do the things they want to do as a defense. Mentally, I'm going to be ready and our offense is all going to be ready to know that they're going to be basically sending the house."

Baltimore's front seven include four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Trevor Pryce, nine-time Pro Bowl linebacker Ray Lewis and two-time Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs.

Suggs has recorded 30 tackles and five sacks. Lewis, a 13-year veteran who hasn't lost a step, leads the team this season with 54 tackles and a sack

"You can see him think a little more and kind of get to the play to where it's going before the player that he's tackling is actually knowing what he's doing himself," Green said. "Ray's already there meeting him in the hole or meeting him in the route."

To read more about the Ravens' pass rush, click **here**.

Injury notes: Defensive tackle Amobi Okoye sat out of practice with a high ankle sprain and could miss Sunday's game. If Okoye does not play, rookie Frank Okam most likely will start in his place.

"We'll probably go with Frank, go that direction and come up with a new rotation from that standpoint," Kubiak said.

Diles underwent surgery Wednesday night and was visited by teammates today.

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

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