The Houston Texans lost starting running back Arian Foster to a goring injury, and amidst the news he could miss half the season the Texans have been linked to several free agents at the position.
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Others are suggesting such names as Chris Johnson and Ray Rice. However, there still are a few running backs on the Texans roster making some noise during training camp that also want a shot at the starting spot.
Jonathan Grimes, normally a special teams ace, is doing all he can to expand his role and get noticed by the coaching staff.
"“Grimes has had a good training camp,” [head coach Bill] O’Brien said Thursday. “He’s strung about three good practices in a row here. He’s done a good job. He’s a smart player. He’s one of our core special teams players. He’s a guy that really knows our offense well. He plays a lot on third down, but now with Arian out, he’s playing more on first and second down in certain packages. Really dependable guy. We enjoy coaching him.”"
Grimes isn’t the only player trying to step up and show he can be counted on. Last season when Foster went down for a few games rookie running back Alfred Blue stepped in and ended the year with more than 500 yards rushing.
Quite possibly the best trait about Blue is his supreme confidence as he is more than ready to take on the role of lead back for the Texans.
"I believe I can help the running game,” a smiling Blue said while adjusting to being surrounded by cameras and reporters. “We look forward to Arian coming back. Until then, I’ll hold it down.“I would say it’s an opportunity. Just make the best of it. Even when Arian was there, it was still an opportunity for the second spot. … I’m planning on making the best of the opportunity and to seize the moment.”"
Also on the roster is Chris Polk, an underrated career back up during his time in Philadelphia and Blue’s former LSU teammate, rookie Kenny Hilliard. Perhaps in a league where the running back is devalued as much as it has been the most prudent approach would be to let these four guys battle it out for the spot until Foster returns.
The Texans could be pleasantly surprised by the results if they do indeed go this route. And let’s be honest, it would cause a lot less backlash than brining in Ray Rice as some are suggesting.