Taylor complements zone scheme


Head coach Gary Kubiak made a commitment this year to run the ball effectively on a consistent basis.

Last year, the Texans' 99.1 yards rushing per game ranked 22nd in the NFL, and the team averaged 6.2 yards fewer than 2006. Kubiak has said many times that to improve the run game, a few things had to change. Namely, the team needed more talent at running back and a new blocking scheme.

Assistant head coach Alex Gibbs is taking care of blocking, installing the same zone scheme that powered the Denver Broncos' run game during their 1990s Super Bowl years.

{QUOTE}The talent is something Kubiak started evaluating during mini-camp and OTAs with the team carrying five healthy running backs on their roster.

"Ahman (Green) gives you the ability for the big play," Kubiak said. "The young kid (Steve Slaton) that we drafted can do the same thing. Then, I think big kids like Chris (Brown) and then Darius (Walker) is a big, thick kid - they're hard to tackle."

The Texans return Pro Bowler Ahman Green and second-year pro Darius Walker, who finished second on the Texans with 264 rushing yards last year. The team signed free agent Chris Brown, who spent the first five years of his career in Tennessee, and drafted third-down back Steve Slaton in the third round.

The fifth ball carrier is someone Kubiak is excited to see more of in training camp. Chris Taylor missed the 2007 season because of a knee injury he suffered in last year's camp, but made a strong return in OTAs.

"I am looking forward to seeing more of Chris Taylor as he comes back and adapts to what we're doing with the running game," Kubiak said. "He's doing some good things right now."

Taylor would like to agree. The undrafted rookie out of Indiana believes he is a perfect fit for the team's zone blocking scheme because he has the speed to hit holes and break away downfield.

"You have to do one cut and get downhill," Taylor said. "Once you see your hole, you have to pick your hole and you have to hit it. Anytime you are doing a lot of moving around, that hole is going to close up real fast. That's the type of style I have. I don't juke around a lot. I'm a one cut and I'm up the field."

Taylor's play has already improved in the three weeks he has worked with an intense Gibbs.

"He's tough," Taylor said og Gibbs. "He wants his stuff done precisely. The reason we look up to him is because he's a great offensive line coach.

"He's pretty quiet until he gets on the field. Then, he is going to get on you. He's going to make sure you do everything the way he wants it done. If you don't get things done the way he wants it done, you're not going to play."

In his last game of 2006, Taylor rushed for 99 yards in a victory over Cleveland. Sitting out last season was painful for the third-year pro. Now, he expects to pick up where he left off and earn a regular-season roster spot.

The team won't carry five backs on the active roster, and Taylor knows someone will have to go.

"There's a lot of competition with Ahman (Green), Chris (Brown), Darius (Walker) and Steve (Slaton)," Taylor said. "We all bring something different to the table. We are going to continue to push each other through the offseason workouts and through training camp.

"Wherever they put me in, that's where I want to play. I feel like given the opportunity, I can be successful. That's all I need is the opportunity."

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