Who will be Texans 3rd running back?


Aug 17, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans running back Cierre Wood (41) runs during the game against the Miami Dolphins at Reliant Stadium. The Texans defeated the Dolphins 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The third preseason game is basically the only exhibition game that matters, right?

It really doesn’t matter in if the team wins or loses, but it matters by how well the first team players play in a “dress rehearsal” of sorts, and the Houston Texans on Sunday have a good rehearsal in the third week as they host the New Orleans Saints.

For the Texans, I feel this game will show a lot of a team that hasn’t had one offseason snap from their All-Pro running back Arian Foster. This game will be a nice way for the Texans to really evaluate their running back situation.

Who knows if Foster will be 100-percent in San Diego? It seems the Texans were pleased with Foster’s return to practice on Friday, but until he plays in a game situation it will be tough to tell how ready Foster will be at the start of the season.

Foster has missed the entire preseason thus far with a calf strain and back spasms.

This preseason the leading rusher for Houston has been Deji Karim with 15 carries for 92 yards (6.1 yards per carry). Rookie Cierre Wood has 15 carries for 79 yards (5.3 ypc).

Another rookie, Dennis Johnson, has 11 carries this preseason for 19 yards, while rookie Ray Graham has totaled 32 yards on six rushes.

The longest run this preseason for Houston is a 20 yards by Wood.

Ben Tate is the primary backup for Foster and will start the game vs. New Orleans, as he penciled in to play the first half as the No. 1 back. In my opinion, Tate is one of the better second string running backs in the entire league, and a great insurance policy for the Texans if something were to happen with Foster.

I don’t know how to feel about the Texans’ running back situation, even if Foster returns for Week 1 at full strength. How are you feeling about the rest of the back after Foster and Tate?

Even with Foster’s recent return to the practice field, along with Tate being the primary backup, the Texans still need to figure out a “Plan C” for a third running back, and this could be the game that makes or break all of the aforementioned backs.

Right now it looks as fourth-year back Karim is the favorite to take over the third back spot, as he’s also played for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts.

This battle for the third running back spot might not be the most star-studded part of the Texans’ preseason, but the winner of this spot could be a pivotal part of the Texans’ offense with the recent heath issues of Foster. This battle could eventually prove to be one of the more important positions on the team this season.

This is must-watch TV for a Sunday as it is time for one of the third backs to make their mark on the team.