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Practice report: Play up front must be big


Jags running back Maurice Jones-Drew missed two practices this week with an ankle injury, but the Texans expect him to play in Sunday's game at Jacksonville.

Playing big up front: Coach Gary Kubiak didn't commit to putting eight players in the box against the Jaguars, but he did say the Texans would have to play big upfront to contain running backs Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor.

"I saw Indy playing an eight-man front," Kubiak said. "So I think the biggest thing with these two guys (Fred Taylor and Jones-Drew), you better tackle. Because even if you're in an eight-man front and you look like you have them stuffed - you go back and watch the Indy game, they had a lot of big plays where you think they are down. They are back there in a pile or something and they come spitting out and make a big run, and one of those was exactly like that against us.

"So you can say you play an eight-man front and you're going to stop the run, that doesn't mean you're going to stop the run. I mean, they are still going to run the ball. They can attack an eight-man front. You're going to have to tackle well."

Houston home opener at Reliant: After weeks of uncertainty as to where they would play their home opener, the Texans now know that they will return home to host the Colts on Oct. 5 at Reliant Stadium.

"This gives the fans really something to come back to, look forward to," guard Chester Pitts said. "It kind of renews the sense of things going back to normalcy, so to speak. It's going to be a great time. It's going to be rocking in here. I'm really excited."

{QUOTE}Reliant Stadium suffered damage to five roof panels during Hurricane Ike, which made landfall in Galveston and passed over Houston in the early morning hours of Saturday, Sept. 13. An independent inspection of the stadium conducted by insurance adjusters and architects determined that it is fully fit to host a crowd in excess of 70,000 for a Texans home game. It is expected that all eight of the Texans' remaining home games will be played with the roof open.

"Our fans, they are the homefield advantage," Pitts said. "They really are. We appreciate them so much. It's so loud, so energizing. We feed off of that. It's very difficult for the offenses to work on the field because the crowd is so loud. All that does is help us. So we definitely appreciate it."

To read more about the Texans' home opener, click here.

Injury roundup: Running back Ahman Green practiced more on Friday than he had all week. He is listed as questionable for Sunday's game.

"We'll make a game-time decision on him, but he looks like he's pretty close," Kubiak said. "He would have to really come out of today and tomorrow just feeling perfect."

Rookie running back Steve Slaton will make his second start a week after he ran for 116 yards and a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans. With Chris Taylor also ready to go, Kubiak will decide whether or not to suit up Green as a third running back.

Kubiak said that defensive tackle Travis Johnson "is fine" and listed him as probable against the Jaguars. Johnson missed last week's game with a knee injury.

"We'll work Travis out before the game to see if we think he's ready to go, but he has practiced all week, so he should be ready," Kubiak said.

Regardless of Johnson's status, veteran Jeff Zgonina will start once again at nose tackle. He recorded one assist in last week's loss to the Titans.

Tight end Mark Bruener (hamstring) and free safety Brandon Harrison (shoulder) will sit out Sunday's contest.

For the official injury report, click here.

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