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Practice report: Texans game plan for Sanders


Wide receiver Andre Johnson is averaging 120.2 receiving yards over his past six games and totaled nine receptions for 131 yards in Week 5 against Indianapolis. This time around, he'll have to face All-Pro safety Bob Sanders.

Slaton looking fresh: Coach Gary Kubiak limited Steve Slaton's touches last Sunday against the Ravens because he said the running back looked "worn down."

Kubiak will continue to monitor Slaton's touched in practice, but he said the rookie already looked fresher.

"I think he's fresher and I'm going to find ways this week to freshen him even more," Kubiak said. "So, I'll make sure he's getting his legs back. It's understandable after the amount of reps he's played, especially in Minnesota. But he's upbeat and he's practiced well today."

Having Slaton in top form will be crucial for the Texans' offense because the Colts have struggled against the run this season. The Colts rank 24th against run, allowing 133.8 yards per game. When the two teams met on Oct. 5, Slaton rushed for 93 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.

Sanders makes a difference: The last time the Texans played the Colts, All-Pro safety Bob Sanders was on the sidelines with knee and ankle injuries. Sanders returned to action two weeks ago, helping Indy snag victories over New England and Pittsburgh. And there's no question that he'll make a difference in the game against Houston.

"He's so physical," quarterback Sage Rosenfels said of Sanders. "He can play in the box as an extra, sort of almost a linebacker, but he's also fast enough to cover in the secondary and wreak havoc with the receivers."

{QUOTE}With Sanders back in the lineup, the Colts have allowed a combined 195 yards rushing in their last two games. Against the Steelers last Sunday, Indy intercepted Ben Roethlisberger three times and stopped the Steelers on a goal-line stand in the fourth quarter.

"With their defense, what they do is they don't allow almost any big plays," Rosenfels said. "The really make you earn it. You really have to execute 100 percent on every play and stay on track for first downs because you do not want to be in third-and-10s or third-and-9s. You want to be in third-and-2s or threes or get first downs on first or second down."

To do that, the Texans will have to use their passing game to create space for their running backs.

"It's important for me because I've got to go out there and dig him (Sanders) out and create lanes for Ahman (Green) and Steve and those guys running the ball," wide receiver Kevin Walter said. "He's a big part of their defense. They're a different defense when he's in. He's physical. He's in the right spot. He's a tackling machine, and we've got to account for him."

Rosenfels in need of redemption: Rosenfels was looking for redemption after his three turnovers in the final three minutes against the Colts cost the Texans the game in Week 5. He didn't get it against the Ravens last Sunday when threw four interceptions.

Rosenfels now is looking forward to his next shot at righting the ship at Indy.

"I can't be out there in Indianapolis this week in front of 65 or 70 thousand people and you can't hear anything going, 'Man, I wish I would have played better last week,'" Rosenfels said. "I'm just saying that you have to move on. There's 16 of them (games). You have to take each one and no matter how well or how bad you played the last game, you have to be as prepared as possible for the next one. That's what I've learned from the good quarterbacks that I've been around in this league."

To read more about Rosenfels, click **here**.

Colts game plan for "explosive" Texans' offense: They Texans' offense ranks fifth in the NFL, averaging 371.7 yards per game. Their passing game ranks fourth, putting up 264.4 ypg.

There' no question that the Texans have the fire power to beat teams through the air, which has Colts head coach Tony Dungy rethinking his game plan for Sunday.

"We've been able to get off to fast starts against them and get ourselves ahead," Dungy said. "That certainly helps you.

"We'd like to do that again, but they're much more explosive than they've ever been when we've played them. They're averaging up in the 370s and putting a ton of points on the board. So I think they feel good about their ability to score, and that's probably what makes this team a little different than previous Houston teams we've played."

Injury notes: Defensive tackle Amobi Okoye sat out of practice with a high ankle sprain and will be day-to-day this week.

Linebacker Morlon Greenwood also did not participate because of an ankle sprain and will be day-to-day.

"If Morlon is out, it just picks up (Xavier) Adibi's reps and what he's doing," Kubiak said. "And of course, this football team can make you play a lot of nickel too. So, if he's down, Xavier is going to play a bunch."

The Texans will have a much better idea about the return of quarterback Matt Schaub after he undergoes tests on his knee next week.

"He (Schaub) has definitely moved forward," Kubiak said. "The question right now is whether or not we're going to take him on the trip this week or not, whether they feel good about him flying, where they don't think there will be any problems - swelling or anything. So, I'm hoping he goes with us, but he's obviously made some strides. But I don't think we're really going to know a lot for another week or two."

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

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