Texans activate Mario Addison, rule out Jon Greenard

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Texans are activating veteran defensive end Mario Addison to the 53-man roster after designating him for return from injured reserve, according to a league source.

The Texans are playing without starting defensive end Jonathan Greenard, who was ruled out due to an ankle injury and he isn't making the trip for Sunday's road game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Greenard was questionable on the injury report and favored his ankle in limited work at practice Friday. He led the Texans with eight sacks last season and has 1 1/2 sack, five tackles for losses and three quarterback hits this season.

The Texans are elevating tight ends Jordan Akins and Mason Schreck from the practice squad to the active roster, according to league sources.

The Texans cut starting tight end Pharaoh Brown, now with the Cleveland Browns, this week and they have former Tampa Bay Buccaneers first-round draft pick O.J. Howard in place as the starter.

Addison, 35, was signed to a two-year, $7.7 million contract this offseason that included a $2 million signing bonus.

The former Buffalo Bills starter is an accomplished pass rusher who has been sidelined with a groin injury.

He missed the first four games of the season

He had seven sacks last season for the Bills.

Addison played for Texans defensive line coach Jacques Cesaire with the Buffalo Bills.

He has also played for the Chicago Bears, briefly, when Texans coach Lovie Smith was the coach after going undrafted in 2011 out of Troy State. He was claimed off waivers by the Colts and then played for Washington and the Carolina Panthers.

He signed a three-year, $30.45 million deal with the Bills and was due base salaries of $6.625 million over the final two years of the deal before agreeing to a pay cut. 

He played in 15 games last season for the AFC East champion Bills and had 29 tackles and two forced fumbles.

Addison (6-foot-3, 260 pounds) has 67 career sacks and 281 tackles with 112 quarterback hits, 13 forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.

"Mario has played in the league for a long time," Smith said this week. "Of course, he's more advanced with being able to play quicker. We can always use him, a good pass rusher, a good defensive end, to play. He's healthy now. The process has started. Hopefully sooner than later, he'll be out there."

This marks Akins' third and final elevation to the active roster.

A former third-round draft pick, Akins caught a touchdown pass against the Chicago Bears. He has five receptions for 64 yards in two games and six targets since rejoining the Texans after being cut by the New York Giants.

Akins has 119 career receptions for 1,324 yards and four touchdowns, all with the Texans.

Akins caught three passes for 31 yards against the Bears and two passes for 33 yards against the Chargers.

Schreck, 28, caught his first NFL regular-season pass against the Chargers. The former Cincinnati Bengals seventh-round draft pick from Buffalo has played in 24 career games with one start.

Aaron Wilson is a Pro Football Network reporter and a contributor to Sports Talk 790.

Los Angeles Chargers v Houston Texans

Photo: Getty Images

Texans rookie Dameon Pierce: 'Tenacity, I fight for every yard'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Dameon Pierce's downhill, punishing running style is steeped in determination, plowing into linebackers with the power of a sledgehammer.

The Texans' rookie is emerging as one of the most productive and exciting running backs in the league, and someone that linebackers dread tackling.

Heading into Sunday's road game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Pierce leads all NFL rookies in rushing yards and ranks 10th overall in the league with 313 rushing yards, three less than Baltimore Ravens star quarterback Lamar Jackson.

How the Georgia native, a self-described country boy, is becoming an increasingly high-volume and highly productive runner in his first season is a story of toughness and athleticism balanced by improving vision and patience.

"Tenacity, I don't never quit," Pierce said Thursday inside the Texans' locker room. "I fight for every yard and try to get every inch I can. That's always how I was taught to play the game. No matter how big you is or how small you is, you play with a lot of heart and good things are going to come to you."

For the fourth-round draft pick from Florida, intangibles are a huge part of his running style. It's not just about how fast and powerful Pierce is, which he displayed on a 75-yard touchdown run against the Los Angeles Chargers a week ago for the longest run by a rookie since Kalen Ballage with the Miami Dolphins in 2018.

For emphasis, Pierce tapped his heart. 

"It's all about this," he said.

For the 0-3-1 Texans, the only winless team in the league, Pierce provides their most dangerous and consistent offensive threat.

For an offense struggling to generate points, Pierce has become a pivotal figure and the focal point of defenses' efforts to slow down the Texans.

Jaguars coach Doug Pederson, a Super Bowl winner with the Philadelphia Eagles, has taken notice of Pierce.

Pierce ranks 12th in the NFL with a 5.2 average per carry. He's tied for 10th with two touchdown runs.

Pederson called Pierce a "no-nonsense, downhill guy," noting his 5-foot-9, 218-pound body being enough of a load that he requires gang tackling.

“He’s a guy that’s going to take two, three, four guys to bring him down,” Pederson said during a conference call Wednesday. “What a tremendous run he had last week. That’s the type of explosiveness that he has, that he possesses. Good back. I know he’s learning the game, the run schemes, but when he gets the ball in his hands, he’s definitely electric.”

When Pederson's comments were relayed to him, Pierce smiled after being informed of the coach's admiration.

"Man, it's always great to get praise from a great guy," Pierce said. "Appreciate you, coach Doug. I don't see no wrong in that statement."

The Jaguars rank eighth in the NFL in rushing defense, yielding just 93.8 rushing yards per game. That includes holding Indianapolis Colts Pro Bowl running back Jonathan Taylor, the NFL rushing champion last season, to 54 yards on nine carries.

The Texans own an eight-game winning streak over the Jaguars. To extend that to nine games in a row, they'll need another strong performance from Pierce.

Pierce rushed for 131 yards last week and is on pace to finish his first NFL season with 1,330 rushing yards.

Jacksonville struggled against the Philadelphia Eagles, allowing 210 rushing yards and four touchdown runs as Miles Sanders gained 134 yards and scored twice at the Jaguars' expense.

Pierce is looking to build on what the Texans established against the Chargers.

"We showcased how well we were upfront in the run game," Pierce said. "We just have to stay consistent with it and keep stacking on that. We got a good foundation to build off of. The Jaguars have a similar front from last week. We're going to carry over, mix it up. They've got kind of the same front. They've got talent on the defensive side. We've got to make sure we're on our A game."

Used sparingly by coach Dan Mullen with the Gators as he was part of a platoon system, Pierce rushed for 574 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. He averaged 5.7 yards per carry and caught 19 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns. As a junior, he rushed for 503 yards and four touchdowns and caught 17 passes for 156 yards and one score. Now, Pierce is off to a fast start at the NFL level. 

He's back in Florida to play in a game for the first time as a pro.

"Another walk in the park," he said. "I would play football in the parking lot if I had to."

The touchdown run displayed Pierce's breakaway speed. Although he has run the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds, Pierce is clearly faster than his stopwatch time.

“We knew he had that breakaway speed," Texans offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said. "We recognize that he’s a talented young player and the more we find ways to put the ball in his hands, whether it’s handing the ball off or finding a way to get it to him in the passing game, we expect that he’s going to make his own yards. We’re going to continue to do just that, get him the ball.”

 “The combination of power and speed. How often do you see 75-yard touchdown runs in the National Football League? A lot of times our backs, or backs in general, break out into the open field and lo and behold, you have defensive backs that chase down and have a better angle of pursuit. Now, it’s just a long gain and not a long touchdown. I think we saw really good acceleration. We’ve seen the power throughout our games up until this point. He’s an explosive playmaker. He’s business-like. It’s important to him and we all understand the challenge that we have ahead of us in a really good Jaguars team. He’s focused.”

Pierce has watched the touchdown, a sideline scoot with key blocks delivered by fullback Troy Hairston, tight end O.J. Howard and wide receiver Brandin Cooks, multiple times.

"That's me living my dream," Pierce said. "Those are the plays you dream of making."

Pierce's mother, Shameeka Rogers, was at NRG Stadium for his touchdown jaunt last week and took the football back to their hometown of Bainbridge, Ga.

"Just having my family there, I'm from a small town so getting them on the plane was the hard part," Pierce said. "She got to see her baby play ball. That's all she could ask for."

Where's the football now?

"That ball is long gone," Pierce said. "My mama is a hider. She got it tucked away."

Aaron Wilson is a Pro Football Network reporter and a contributor to Sports Talk 790.

Houston Texans v Chicago Bears

Photo: Getty Images

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