As the competition for playing time rages on and is largely coming to an end between quarterbacks Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer, the Houston Texans sit on what has been a very formidable threat for their opponents over the past several years. Their run game.
It’s ultimately what coughed life into the franchise that was wheezing it’s way through it’s first decade of recorded gameplay. Tailback Arian Foster gave football fans in Houston, a reason to dream again in 2010 when he broke out for 231 yards and drew up three touchdowns for himself against Indianapolis, winning only the Texans’ 2nd victory over Indy in history and ever since then, he’s had a few capable backups that’s made for some entertaining one-two punches in the backfield. Ben Tate became a fun combination player that shared touches with Foster from 2011 to 2013, until the Texans let him go in free agency to the Steelers.
Houston now has the speedy LSU alumni, Alfred Blue, who proved his worth in 2014, working behind Foster. Although that year was the worst record in recent memory for the Texans, Blue was a very small light at the end of the tunnel. He appeared to work well with Foster last year as they ran in tandem with one another, not allowing defenses to ignore them.
Finishing 5th overall last year rushing yards, the Texans should credit their 9-7 year largely to pounding the ball on the ground. This allowed former signal caller, Ryan Fitzpatrick (as well as a few others) a chance to throw a couple daring bombs over the middle each week.
With veteran receiver Andre Johnson out of the picture this year, safeties may be eager to inch closer against Houston when they sense the pass and it may come down to Foster and Co. to provide some hurt on the Chiefs’ defense in week 1, in order to earn some respect back.
The ideal approach would be this, head coach Bill O’Brien continues to find ways to reinvent the running game for Foster and his accomplices so that whomever wins leadership under center, might have a little breathing room once they earn the job.
All eyes may be on who takes the quarterback position right now but keep watch for how Houston’s running scheme looks as it will play a critical role in creating space for the new captain to do some work in the 2015 campaign.