Midseason Report Card: Running backs
The Texans running backs have been pretty consistent when it comes to the zone running scheme. Arian Foster and Ben Tate make up the best 1-2 punch in the NFL for running backs. Foster despite his injury has comeback to lead the Texans in rushing with 532 yards and four touchdowns. Despite not looking healthy at times he has provided some good running. I still feel we have not seen the best from Foster this season so a B+ is our grade for him.
As for Ben Tate he gets an A, considering this is like a rookie year for him. With Foster out early in the season Tate took the running game over and rushed for back to back 100 yard rushing games to start his career. Tate has rushed for 508 yards but more impressive is his 5.2 yards a carry this season. Tate needs to take care of the ball better (2 fumbles lost) he has been solid when he touches the ball and we can’t ask anything more from our “backup” running back.
I was wary of the James Casey experiment at fullback to start the season, but he has been a great addition to the Texans offense. Despite his pectoral injury and missed time, we still graded out Casey at an A for the midseason mark. Casey needs to improve on his blocking, but he has evolved the Texans offense just by being on the field. His snaps were limited in his return against the Jaguars, but expect Casey to be in the mix soon.
Lawrence Vickers has been an odd position since he came to Houston in free agency. Vickers was thought to supplant the departed Vonta Leach at starting fullback, but that did not happen. He has been mainly a special team’s player and contributed nicely. We forced into action against the Raiders he dropped a huge touchdown pass that would have put the Texans in the lead. Vickers looked lost in the early part of the season as the fullback, but he has improved with his recent snaps in the past three games. Maybe I expected more out of Vickers, but he has been a slight disappointment since coming fomr Cleveland, which led to his C grade.
Derrick Ward is here for insurance purposes and was passed up by Tate when he was out with a high ankle injury to start the season, but it is nice to have a veteran on the team for the emergency purpose.