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Polk confident in Texans running game

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The Sports Xchange

HOUSTON — Although the winless Houston Texans running game has practically reached a halt during the two-game absence of Pro Bowl running back Arian Foster, leading rusher Chris Polk expressed confidence that the team will turn things around Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Texans are averaging 79.5 rushing yards per game and 3.61 yards per carry, ranking 24th in the NFL in both categories and gaining 159 yards on 44 carries with one touchdown run.

“We definitely have to stay the course,” Polk said. “We’ve got to keep grinding. We’ve got to get better on the details and do the little things right. When it comes down to the games, it’s not something the other teams are doing, it’s something we’re doing.

“We’ve got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot. Confidence is still higher. We know going back on film, that we didn’t put our best foot forward. The last two weeks, it came down to the last possession, but the sky is still the limit.”

Polk is the Texans’ leading rusher, albeit with just 60 yards on 19 carries, while Alfred Blue has rushed for 48 yards on 14 carries and Jonathan Grimes has gained 35 yards on eight carries.

“My style is I’m a physical type of runner,” Polk said. “I know not every play is going to be blocked beautifully. If you stay consistent and stay true with it, it’s going to open up. I just treat every carry like it’s my last and put my best foot forward and do everything I can for the team.

“There’s definitely never been a game where I felt like I did everything right. I’m my own toughest critic. I feel like there’s yards left out there. Every week, there are some yards out there. It’s easy to see in the film room.”

Texans star running back Arian Foster is unlikely to play this week as he continues to work his way back from groin surgery, according to head coach Bill O’Brien.

Foster has missed the first two games after undergoing surgery in August when he tore the muscle partially off the bone. Foster has made speedy progress in his rehabilitation schedule and has been practicing for the past two weeks.

“He understands his body really well,” O’Brien said. “He’s looking good at practice. I’m not sure about this week. I would say he will be back sooner rather than later.”

O’Brien indicated that Grimes is day-to-day with a knee injury.

He was complimentary of new practice-squad running back Daryl Richardson.

“He’s quick, has got some speed,” O’Brien said of Richardson, a former St. Louis Rams running back. “He looked like he was knew where to go.”

–The education of new Texans guard Oday Aboushi involves an accelerated crash course in the offensive playbook.

And Aboushi is learning at a fast enough rate, with the help of offensive line coach Mike Devlin and his teammates, that the former New York Jets starter is under consideration for playing time as soon as this week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Aboushi would play left guard, if he plays and likely as a starter, with Derek Newton going back to his natural right tackle spot with Jeff Adams out for the season after Newton started at left guard last Sunday.

“It’s similar terminology and that’s definitely helping a lot,” Aboushi said. “The guys here have been real great with helping me out, all the guys on the line rallying around me and helping me to play fast.”

“With the help I’m getting and the amount of work I’m putting in, I feel confident that this week could be an option. It’s a matter of the guys around me helping me get up to speed. I think it could definitely be an option.”

A 2013 fifth-round draft pick from Virginia, Aboushi started 10 games last season when Jets starter Brian Winter got hurt. He was suspended for the season opener, a punishment stemming from a violation of the NFL substance-abuse policy for a possession of marijuana charge in January in New Jersey where he received a conditional discharge of the misdemeanor.

Aboushi is known for his aggressive style on the field.

“I try to be as physical as possible, that’s my thing,” Aboushi said. “Be physical and impose my will on people. I feed off the energy of the team and the offensive line. That’s how we like to establish my game.”

Texans head coach Bill O’Brien was complimentary of Aboushi’s work so far since joining the team.

“It looks to me like Oday is doing a good job of picking it up,” O’Brien said. “He’s a bright guy, similar terminology was used in New York to what we use. He was coached by Mike Devlin before, so he has an idea that way. All those things come into account, but what we do during the week is we practice all those guys so that at the end of the week we can make a decision as to who will be up on the 46.”


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