The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – The Texans running back position group is entering a new era. For the first time in years Arian Foster and his health are not the primary focus of preseason prognosticators. Usually uncertainty accompanies change, but in this case running backs performance is the most predictable of all the offensive position groups.
A healthy Lamar Miller is the starter, a three down back with good size and excellent speed and hands. He is expected to run inside and outside, execute passing hot reads and downfield patterns. It makes one wonder why he was used so sparingly by the Miami Dolphins.
Tyler Ervin, and Akeem Hunt if he makes the final roster, are smaller versions of Lamar Miller. They have similar running and receiving skills, but their size limits them as three down backs and pass protectors.
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Alfred Blue is a bigger back, a known quantity, not particularly fast, but reliable. He pairs well with Ervin, Hunt or even Jonathan Grimes to form the “running back by committee” version of Lamar Miller. Kenny Hilliard is a slightly more powerful runner than Blue, but if all the backs stay healthy the Texans will try to make Hilliard and/or Hunt practice squad insurance.
My expectation that contributed to the 10-6 regular season forecast is that running backs will make a solid contribution to the 2016 Texans offense. The speed and receiving skills of this group will take pressure off Brock Osweiler and provide explosive short and intermediate passing targets that make it more difficult for defenses to blitz or focus on DeAndre Hopkins.
The depth of this position group makes it more predictable than the other offensive position groups, but there are Good, Bad and Ugly scenarios. Let’s take a look.
Next: The Good