Texans Strategy and Personnel

Running back duel, defensive battles, player of the week, rookies, injuries, and other personnel notes.

BATTLE OF THE WEEK: The battle at backup running back intensified after the first preseason game in which Darius Walker and Steve Slaton looked strong. Chris Taylor ran with the first team and struggled. Walker finished with 3.6 yards per carry. He had eight carries for 29 yards. Slaton averaged 3.4 yards per carry as the final back to appear in the game. He had 37 yards on 11 carries. He also had the longest run of the day among running backs with a 13-yard gain.

OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: Zac Diles was the team's leading tackler with six tackles -- five of which were solo. He made it clear he is the clear-cut favorite to have the job at strongside linebacker when the season starts. ... Jamar Fletcher is fighting for a job at backup cornerback and he looked strong, picking off one of the two passes by the defense against Denver. He returned it 34 yards. ... S Nick Ferguson is fighting in one of the most highly competitive positions for a roster spot. He also picked off a key interception against the Broncos and returned it 30 yards.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: QB Sage Rosenfels -- Rosenfels entered the game with the backups on the second drive of the preseason game and showed how he was able to win four of his five starts last season. He was crisp with his passes and as comfortable in the offense as anyone has been. He completed 10 of 15 passes for 137 yards. He was sacked once and threw the lone touchdown pass of the game to finish with a quarterback rating of 117.9.

ROOKIE REPORT: Rookie RB Steve Slaton led the Texans with 37 rushing yards on 11 carries in his first preseason game. He played in the fourth quarter. Slaton also returned four kickoffs for 97 yards. ... S Dominique Barber finished tied for second on the team after the first preseason game with four tackles. He had two solos and one assisted, and he even added a special teams tackle as well. ... LT Duane Brown played solidly in his first NFL action. He played the entire first half and didn't give up a sack. The entire offensive line struggled to open holes in the running game.

INJURY REPORT: WR Andre Johnson did not play Saturday as he continues recovering from a strained groin. He may play a little against the New Orleans Saints next week.

OT Ephraim Salaam will miss three to four weeks with a knee scope. He should be back by the start of the season and will resume his role as the swing tackle.

RB Ahman Green tweaked his groin during the first play of the team's opening preseason game. His status this week is unknown.

CB Antwaun Molden continues nursing a groin injury. He should return for the team's second preseason game.

OTHER NOTES: RB Mike Bell was released. He had been signed to help fill the void left by Chris Brown's (back) injury. But Bell was out of shape and injured his hamstring during just his second workout. When Brown returned to the field, Bell was released.

OT Torrin Tucker was signed to play backup left tackle while OT Ephraim Salaam nurses an injured knee he had scoped Thursday. Salaam should be back in three to four weeks.
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