I see far more upside than downside for this group of running backs. The acquisition of Lamar Miller was a key offseason move, but drafting Tyler Ervin and the emergence of Akeem Hunt is also important as it makes the position group less susceptible to injury. Here is how I pit my high but tempered expectations for the running backs against the Good, Bad and Ugly alternative scenarios.
The Good – If Lamar Miller performs as the explosive three down back the Texans believe him to be that alone would result in performance for the position group exceeding my high, but tempered, expectation. Having a credible running back by committee alternative provides security. Look for 11-5 if the backs overachieve.
Odds of The Good scenario – 25%
The Bad – The Dolphins underuse of Lamar Miller may have been for good reason. If it was it is likely to take some time before the Texans adjust by lightening his load and fully deploying the alternative assets. Too much delay could lead to the underperformance scenario. 10-6 is still reachable, but 9-7 is more likely.
Odds of The Bad scenario – 10%
The Ugly – If the running back performance is evaluated solely on their play there is little chance of a worst case performance by the running back position group. 7-9 if the Texans running game ranks in the bottom quarter of the league.
Odds of The Ugly scenario – 2%
This concludes analysis of the possible performance ranges of the offensive position groups. Defense will be the focus of future posts concluding with a summary of how all the pieces fit together.