Texans’ Ben Tate proves he’s a No. 1 option at RB


Dec 1, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans running back Ben Tate (44) runs with the ball for a fourth quarter touchdown against the New England Patriots at Reliant Stadium. The Patriots beat the Texans 34-31. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Here is a million dollar question for everyone to ponder on this Monday … Should the Houston Texans really think about keeping Ben Tate next season, paying him like the No. 1 option at running back like he’s become?

That would mean there is a big decision to make with injured starting running back Arian Foster. They won’t be able to have both on the roster next season, because Tate is due to get paid.

I’m not saying to pick one or the other, but that’s going to be the case for the Texans this offseason, and more than likely, they will go with Foster and for good reason. What worries me about Foster is all of his carries and injuries are adding up, and how much does he have left in the tank?

Dec 1, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans running back Ben Tate (44) celebrates with injured running back Arian Foster in the second quarter against the New England Patriots at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

I’m not saying Foster can’t still produce, but he was injured a lot this season, whether it be his back, hamstring, etc.

Foster earned every penny he has coming to him next season, as he has proven he’s one of the toughest players in the NFL, playing most of this season with broken ribs at a position where he gets hit hard, a lot.

Offensive tackle Duane Brown spoke highly of Tate Sunday with Tate playing injured. Brown said to the Houston media:

“I have a huge amount of respect for Ben. I mean, I already respected him, but you know it’s gone to another level. When you have that kind of injury, that doesn’t just heal as you’re playing every week. You know he’s been toughing it out week in and week out, and today he just put on a heck of a performance. You know, just gutting it out. That’s all you can ask for.”

Tate finished the 34-31 loss to the New England Patriots with 102 yards on 22 carries and three touchdowns. Two games before that, he rushed for 88 yards on 19 carries in Week 11 against the Oakland Raiders.

For the season, Tate has 646 yards on 151 carries. He’s averaging 4.3 yards per carry. Before the Monday night game, Tate rushed for the sixth-most yards in Week 13.

The question also remains: Is it worth paying a lot of money for an NFL back, when it is evident the league is a pass first league, then run? Look at all the passing numbers in recent years, if you don’t believe me.

Either way, there is no way the Texans can keep Tate next season and make him a No. 2 option because there are too many teams that can use a running back on their roster. He’d be a great fit in Cleveland, and earlier this season, it was reported they were interested in him.

With all that said, Tate deserves to be a No. 1 running back option next season, whether he’s in Houston or elsewhere. He’s earned it.