Ridiculously Early Contextualization of Arian Foster's Career

One of the more common refrains among idiots commonters idiots who have an opinion on Arian Foster, his tweets, and/or his hamstring has been some version of "he had one good season so who cares what he thinks?"  Ignoring for a moment the logical disconnect between the two parts of the statement, dismissing Foster's performance thus far as "one good season" doesn't provide adequate context for just how good his start has been.

To that end --- and because I'm sick of only seeing/hearing negativity about Foster --- I thought I'd compare Foster's career numbers to the numbers of other running backs at the same point in their careers.  I looked both at raw totals through each RB's first 22 games as well as through the first 19 games after the RB became a starter or regular ball carrier.

Long story short, the results are pretty surprising.  After the jump, tables and numbers and abbreviations and other stuff!

So, I tried to pick a good cross-section of great RBs who played a role on their teams similar to the role played by Arian in Houston (i.e. a three-down back who can run and catch).  For comparison, I went with Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, LaDainian Tomlinson, Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk, and Thurman Thomas.  The categories, left to right, are total number of carries, rushing yards, rushing TDs, yards per carry, rushing yards per game, receptions, receiving yards, receiving TDs, yards per reception, and total yards from scrimmage.

After their first 22 games:

NAME CAR YDS TD Y/C Y/G REC RYDS RTD Y/R SCRM
A.Foster 381 1873 19 4.9 85.1 74 697 2 9.4 2570
E.Smith 370 1566 15 4.2 71.2 50 366 1 7.3 1932
W.Payton 404 1578 18 3.9 71.7 44 208 0 4.7 1786
B.Sanders 390 1932 20 5.0 87.8 40 566 2 14.2 2498
L.Tomlinson 474 1868 16 3.9 84.9 88 590 0 6.7 2458
E.Dickerson 524 2413 20 4.6 109.7 62 493 2 8.0 2906
M.Faulk 424 1739 15 4.1 79.0 73 712 2 9.8 2451
T.Thomas 320 1383 4 4.3 62.9 51 585 4 11.5 1968
P.Holmes 293 1360 8 4.6 61.8 49 320 1 6.5 1680

HTML Tables

Pretty impressive, huh? I mean, sure, he's got miles to go before he earns mention with any of these guys as far as career numbers go, but he's right there with them at this point.  Plus, as you know, it's not like Foster started from Day 1.  If we compare his numbers through the first 19 games as the team's primary back to the same guys at the same point in their careers, Foster looks even better.

NAME CAR YDS TD Y/C Y/G REC RYDS RTD Y/R SCRM
A.Foster 366 1832 19 5.0 96.4 69 630 2 9.1 2462
E.Smith 318 1383 14 4.3 72.8 42 337 1 8.0 1720
W.Payton 345 1414 14 4.1 74.4 42 316 0 7.5 1730
B.Sanders 353 1761 16 5.0 92.7 30 359 1 12.0 2120
L.Tomlinson 410 1525 13 3.7 80.3 68 453 0 6.7 1978
E.Dickerson 461 2097 19 4.5 110.3 58 449 2 7.7 2546
M.Faulk 369 1459 12 4.0 76.8 65 644 3 9.9 2103
T.Thomas 264 1176 3 4.5 61.9 36 439 3 12.2 1615
P.Holmes 286 1334 8 4.7 70.2 46 313 1 6.8 1647

HTML Tables

Again, I'm not suggesting that Foster is a Hall of Famer. I am, however, suggesting that he's been far more impressive to this point than people give him credit for. Maybe, instead of griping about the fact that "OMG HE LIKE, HAS OPINIONS AND A SENSE OF HUMOR AND WHO THE HELL DOES HE THINK HE IS?!?!???!" we could talk about his actual performance. Radical concept, I know, but far more interesting in my book.

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