If you watched the Texans play the Cardinals in last Saturday’s preseason game, then I probably know what you were thinking after seeing rookie running back Ben Tate go down with an injury. The Texans lose what would have been a significant part of their offense this season. Considering that he was a 2nd round pick in this year’s draft, Tate likely would have seen a good amount of time spelling current starter Arian Foster. With Slaton’s being reeled back to his typical 3rd down back role, Tate was being looked at as the true number two to Arian Foster. There was a good chance that Tate would have also been the eventual starter if he were to pan out as expected.
Now Foster is pretty much guaranteed the starting job with very little competition at this point. Also at last Saturday’s game, Foster displayed why he was named the starter from the beginning of camp. He was quick, strong, and knew where to make his cuts. His performance was definitely reassuring in the wake of Tate’s injury. After having a poor rushing attack in 2009, the Texans will look to continue their late 2009 success in the running game by sticking with Foster through the 2010 season.
Foster was once considered to be a future 1st or 2nd round pick while he was playing at Tennessee. But after injuries slowed him down, Foster ended up going undrafted in the NFL’s 2009 draft. After spending significant time on the Texans practice squad, Foster was eventually signed to the active roster on November 17th. Foster didn’t see any significant action until week 14 against the Seattle Seahawks. In the final four weeks of the season, Foster totaled 257 yards on 54 carries (4.8 yards per carry) for 3 touchdowns and 8 receptions for 93 yards.
While on his bus tour to visit all NFL training camps on the Eastern portion of the country, ESPN’s Adam Schefter had an interesting interview with Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew. In the interview, Jones-Drew was asked to name his top five running backs currently in the NFL. Obviously he named himself, Chris Johnson, Michael Turner, and a couple others. But what was most interesting is that he also mentioned Arian Foster as his prime candidate to be the dark horse at running back. This is very interesting considering it’s coming from one of the best ball carriers in the league along with the fact that he’s in the same division. If Jones-Drew is right about the potential he sees in Foster, then the Texans could have something really good here.
Standing at 6’1″ and weighing 230 pounds, Foster is definitely one of the bigger backs the Texans will have in their current system. His size has been translated into power and he has a good amount of speed and quickness to go with it. Tate may have have more talent, but Foster also has the potential to be the featured back in Houston. Probably the biggest concern is how well Foster can perform over the stretch of a long NFL season. We’re about to see.