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Practice report: Running game key


The Texans will look to take advantage of a Colts' run defense that ranks 24th in the league, giving up 133.8 yards rushing per game. Running back Steve Slaton has looked fresher in practice, according to coach Gary Kubiak, and Ahman Green will back up Slaton.

Backfield better with Green: Injuries have kept running back Ahman Green out of three games this season (at Tennessee, Jacksonville and Minnesota), all of which were losses for the Texans.

With Green in the lineup, the team is 3-3. One of those losses was against the Colts, which the Texans had beat by 17 points with three minutes left in the game. Regardless, the team is better with Green in the lineup, backing up rookie Steve Slaton.

"When he has been up, when he's been healthy and been up and been a part of the rotation for this football team or when he was a starter for the first few weeks last year, this team played better," coach Gary Kubiak said. "He's got big-play ability. He's a fine player. He's very good in protection so it does make us better. But we've had to deal without him a lot, so that's just part of it."

Green, a four-time Pro Bowler, still can make plays between the tackles. He gives defenses a different look and he gives Slaton a break. That's why Kubiak will try to get as much production as possible out of Green on Sunday.

"I don't want to be cautious with him at all," Kubiak said. "He needs to be a contributor and help this football team, you know. The more the better I guess, but we're going to play them both."

Slaton has looked fresher this week because Kubiak has been monitoring his reps. Both Slaton and Green could be key to moving the chains against a Colts' run defense that ranks 24th in the league, giving up 133.8 yards rushing per game.

Manning up against Manning: Colts quarterback Peyton Manning's hyperactive pre-snap talk and gesturing has become legendary in the NFL.

Coaches, players and spectators have often wanted to know the meaning behind all of Manning's motioning, or if there is any meaning to it at all.

"I don't really think 80 percent of it is bogus, to be honest," linebacker Kevin Bentley said. "It's like baseball. Some of it's obviously false because he doesn't want you to understand what he's saying, but I think most of it's real. When he's on the road, he's using a lot of hand signals because he's telling those guys what to do and they can't hear him. When he's at home, it's a lot of verbiage because they can hear him."

{QUOTE}What the Texans do know is that they want to keep Manning uncomfortable in the pocket so he doesn't have time to pick apart the secondary. And that means not letting all his motioning get in their heads.

"I think people actually let him confuse them," Bentley said. "He's not very confusing. It's not really confusing if you know what he's going to do. You know he's going to do all of the hand movements and all of the chatter. You've just got to be able to sit through all of that and be ready to play when he's ready to play."

The Texans will look to keep the pressure on Manning. When these teams met on Oct. 5, defensive end Mario Williams sacked Manning twice. Bentley, who recorded his first career sack last Sunday, also will look to apply pressure.

"I think we did that last time we played them," Bentley said. "We didn't try to disguise and get all out of whack. We lined up and sat still until he was ready to go and for the most part, we hit him in the mouth. We just didn't get a chance to finish the game."

Injury notes: Defensive tackle Amobi Okoye (ankle) and linebacker Morlon Greenwood (fibula) missed a second consecutive practice. Both will be game-time decisions.

"I would say they are both game-time decisions with Morlon having probably more of an opportunity than Amobi does," Kubiak said.

If Greenwood does not play against the Colts, rookie Xavier Adibi most likely will get the start. Adibi recorded a tackle for a loss against the Ravens and has impressed the coaches in practice.

"He's young and this is a tough spot to put him into, but I really like the way he's practicing," Kubiak said. "I liked the things he did last week. He's got DeMeco (Ryans) out there with him and talking to him. So, if he can keep going and if he can keep this weight on and stay healthy, it will really be interesting to see how he plays the second half of the season. He's a very talented young man."

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

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