- Created on Tuesday, 04 August 2015 21:02
- Last Updated on Sunday, 28 August 2016 23:54
- Written by Travis Pulver
J.J. Watt may be the best football player the Houston Texans have, but he is not the most indispensable. That honor would go to running back Arian Foster.
Since the team is lacking in quality quarterback play, the success of the offense is predicated off of being able to establish a running game. Last season when Foster missed time with an injury Alfred Blue filled in and was less than impressive averaging just 3.1 yards a carry (behind a line Foster averaged 4.8 yards/carry).
So with Foster expected to go under the knife to deal with a groin injury he suffered Monday night during the team’s first practice in pads it looks like the Texans offense is going to lack punch this season. The passing game is a huge question mark with an unproven Ryan Mallett or Brian Hoyer expected to start.
Hoyer struggled without a running game to take pressure off of him last season with the Browns. There is little reason to think he will not do the same in Houston (even though the receivers and offensive line are much, much better than what he had in Cleveland).
So—who is going to run the ball for Houston this season?
The two best bets on the roster are Alfred Blue and Chris Polk, but both are actually down right now with injuries as well (nothing serious), which leaves free agency. Rumor has it that the team has former Saints running back Pierre Thomas coming in for a look.
Thomas could be sufficient to lead a platoon at running back, but alone does not install any fear in the hearts of defenses. For three of his eight years in New Orleans he did lead the team in rushing, but that doesn’t say much since the Saints are a passing team. He never gained more than 800 yards in a given season.
Is there anyone available that could install fear in defenders? Probably not.
One would like to think Chris Johnson--if he still has his speed--could thrive behind Houston’s line, but no one wants a cancerous attitude like his in the locker room. Steven Jackson has been a solid and dependable back during his career, but he’s older now and could very well be past his prime. Ahmad Bradshaw and Knowshon Moreno have potential, but are also injury concerns. They could always bring Ben Tate back. It shouldn’t be hard for him to get up to speed quickly. Ray Rice would be an option if the team is willing to take the publicity hit.
What the team will likely do is bring in a few guys for workouts, possibly sign one or more, but then keep a lookout on the waiver wire. However, one intriguing option the team may want to consider is trading Seattle for Christine Michael.
Michael, having gone to Texas A&M, would be a popular addition to the team. Ever since he was drafted by the Seahawks there has been all kinds of hype about his skill set and talents, but it has not materialized in to many carries. When he has carried the ball he has done well averaging 4.9 yards a carry. However, for all the hype that has been said about him Turbin has received the bulk of the carries in relief of Marshawn Lynch. There has to be a reason for that.
Trading for Michael would not come without risk since he is largely an unproven commodity in the NFL. At the same time, should he live up to the hype the team may have its next great running back. As often as Foster tends to get hurt it would not be a bad idea to have a quality running back in the stable ready to go.