With starting All-Pro running back Arian Foster still on the PUP list during the first week of training camp, backup running back Ben Tate has a great opportunity to prove his worth to the Houston Texans by running plays with the first team offense.
Tate last season in a reserve role rushed for 279 yards and two touchdowns on 65 attempts, and the former ’10 second round draft choice should might more production this season with this being the final year of his rookie contract.
The running back has a lot on the line in not just camp this summer, but also during the regular season.
“It’s big and he’s doing a good job,” Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said of the opportunity Tate has in camp. “He had a good offseason. Ben’s working every day.
“If Ben stays healthy, he’s going to play well for us. He always has, but it’s been good. I think he’s done a good job with the other four young guys too. He’s been a good example to them.”
As for Tate, he also spoke to the Houston media following the fifth day of camp, Tuesday, he answered questions that this is indeed a contract year.
“It just means that I’m going to come out and do what I always do,” Tate said. “(I’m going to) keep working hard and always try to get better.
“I’m thinking if I get a little more yardage I’m going to help this team, and if I help this team and we get to the Super Bowl then I’ll cash in.”
Tate said he considers the Texans a Super Bowl caliber team.
“I think it is,” he said. “It’s time for us to take the next step.
“This is a new year. There is a lot of talk about what happened last year. It is a new year now. A different camp. A different team. It’s time to move on.”
There were also questions asked of Tate if he was a “power back.”
“I wouldn’t consider myself a power back,” Tate said. “When there is nowhere else to go, what are you doing to do? Fall down or run over them?
“So how I look at it is when I have nowhere else to go then I’m going to make you pay for trying to tackle me, but when I’m in the open field I’m not trying to run anyone over, I’m trying to get touchdowns.”
Tate for his career has 240 carries for 1,221 yards and six touchdowns. His best season came in ’11 where he played in 15 games. In that season he rushed for 942 yards and four touchdowns in 175 carries.
The reserve running back has averaged 5.1 yards per carry for his two seasons, with a 4.3 ypc last season, which his longest run was 25 yards. In ’11 he had a career-long 56-yard carry.
Tate was drafted out of Auburn as the 58th overall draft pick in ’10.