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How Many Games Will The Houston Texans Lose Due To Arian Foster's Injury?

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Vote and then join the conversation with fellow Texans fans who are concerned about the production of the Houston offense being limited without All-Pro running back Arian Foster.

Street clothes again...
Street clothes again...
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Arian Foster has been crucial to this team's success over the last five years, and the Houston Texans don't tend to do well without him.  Losing him for an estimated eight games of the 2015 NFL regular season is a major blow to an offensive unit that relies heavily on the running game.  Last year, the Texans led the NFL in rushing attempts with 551, while the Seattle Seahawks were ranked second with 525 attempts, and the Dallas Cowboys were third with 508.

Houston was unsuccessful in its attempt at signing Pierre Thomas, and some observers of the organization have suggested that the Texans are satisfied with their current depth at running back.  That point was further underscored in comments by owner Bob McNair when he was asked about the possibility of adding former Ravens running back Ray Rice to the Texans' roster.

Current RB Depth Chart

Who are those four running backs?  Here they are presented in the order as listed on current draft chart at the Mothership:

Alfred Blue

Height: 6-2 Weight: 223 Age: 24

Sixth round draft pick in 2014 by the Houston Texans.

Career Rushing Stats From NFL.com:

Year Team G Att Att/G Yds Avg Yds/G TD Lng 1st 1st% 20+ 40+ FUM
2014 Houston Texans 16 169 10.6 528 3.1 33.0 2 46 29 17.2 2 1 0
TOTAL 16 169 10.6 528 3.1 33.0 2 46 29 17.2 2 1 0

Jonathan Grimes

Height: 5-10 Weight: 209 Age: 25

Undrafted free agent out of William & Mary

Career transactions (Courtesy of The Mothership):

  • Signed with Houston Texans on May 14, 2012...Released by Texans on Aug. 31, 2012.
  • Signed to Texans practice squad on Sept. 1, 2012.
  • Signed by the New York Jets to active roster on Sept. 25, 2012...Released by Jets on Oct. 30, 2012.
  • Acquired from waivers by Texans on Oct. 31, 2012...Released by Texans on Dec. 20, 2012.
  • Acquired from waivers by Jacksonville Jaguars on Dec. 21,2012...Released by Jaguars on Aug. 30, 2013.
  • Signed by Texans on Dec. 18, 2013...Placed on active/non-football injury list on July 25, 2014.

Career Rushing Stats From NFL.com:

Year Team G Att Att/G Yds Avg Yds/G TD Lng 1st 1st% 20+ 40+ FUM
2014 Houston Texans 16 39 2.4 153 3.9 9.6 0 11 5 12.8 0 0 0
2013 Houston Texans 2 21 10.5 73 3.5 36.5 1 12 6 28.6 0 0 0
2012 Jacksonville Jaguars 0 -- 0.0 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
2012 Houston Texans 6 -- 0.0 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
2012 New York Jets 3 2 0.7 6 3.0 2.0 0 5 0 0.0 0 0 0
TOTAL 27 62 2.3 232 3.7 8.6 1 12 11 17.7 0 0 0

Chris Polk

Height: 5-11 Weight: 222 Age: 25

Undrafted free agent out of the University of Washington; signed by the Eagles in 2012; signed by the Texans 2015.

Career Rushing Stats From NFL.com:

Year Team G Att Att/G Yds Avg Yds/G TD Lng 1st 1st% 20+ 40+ FUM
2014 Philadelphia Eagles 14 46 3.3 172 3.7 12.3 4 22 12 26.1 1 0 0
2013 Philadelphia Eagles 15 11 0.7 98 8.9 6.5 3 38T 5 45.5 2 0 0
2012 Philadelphia Eagles 7 -- 0.0 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
TOTAL 36 57 1.6 270 4.7 7.5 7 38 17 29.8 3 0 0

Kenny Hilliard

Height: 5-11 Weight: 226 Age: 23

Sixth round draft pick in 2015 by the Houston Texans.

How Does Arian Foster Compare?

Arian Foster

Height: 6-1 Weight: 227 Age: 28

Career Rushing Stats From NFL.com:

Year Team G Att Att/G Yds Avg Yds/G TD Lng 1st 1st% 20+ 40+ FUM
2014 Houston Texans 13 260 20.0 1,246 4.8 95.8 8 51 52 20.0 9 3 2
2013 Houston Texans 8 121 15.1 542 4.5 67.8 1 23 31 25.6 2 0 0
2012 Houston Texans 16 351 21.9 1,424 4.1 89.0 15 46 78 22.2 9 1 3
2011 Houston Texans 13 278 21.4 1,224 4.4 94.2 10 43 58 20.9 7 2 4
2010 Houston Texans 16 327 20.4 1,616 4.9 101.0 16 74T 89 27.2 12 3 3
2009 Houston Texans 6 54 9.0 257 4.8 42.8 3 24 15 27.8 1 0 0
TOTAL 72 1,391 19.3 6,309 4.5 87.6 53 74 323 23.2 40 9 12


Results Without Foster?

Like many of you, I have truly become a fan of Bill O'Brien.  I have tremendous optimism about where he will eventually take my favorite NFL team.  However, I look at this list of running backs and have serious doubts about how they will be able to effectively replace the incredible production of Arian Foster.

Can it happen?  Sure, we have seen several NFL teams produce solid results with a "running back by committee" approach over the years.  One thing that makes that easier is if the quarterback is able to provide a reasonable passing threat.  Right now, the Texans are still undecided about who the starter will be at QB, which raises the fair point of how realistic it is to expect whoever is starting at QB to provide a consistent passing threat.

Let's recap the situation for the offense:

  • Starting QB: Still undecided.
  • Starting RB (Arian Foster): Out for an estimated 8 games.
  • Left Guard (Xavier Su'a-Filo): Reportedly injured foot/ankle and in a walking boot.
  • Center (Ben Jones): First year as the starter in this role (although looking good in camp).
  • Wide Receivers: Andre Johnson lost to the Colts; DeAndre Hopkins is the new #1, and the rest are still a work in progress (undecided).

That's a lot of change and uncertainty for an offense that often struggled to sustain drives in 2014!  I was thinking the offense might be better this season with many of the players feeling more comfortable and confident in their second year with this system.  In fact, I was even hoping the team would be at least 5-3 going into the bye week, and perhaps finish the regular season with at least a 10-6 record with improved quarterback performance.

Without Foster at the heart of a run-heavy offense, I think that absence may cost the team a few games.  Even when he returns, will he be operating at his usual level of production?  If not, will that cost the team more games?  How many overall?

Please vote and offer your thoughts on this topic in the comments below.

EDIT: POLL QUESTION CLARIFICATION

Foster may not come back 100% at first. Most players take a few games to get back into "football shape" before they are truly at their top-potential.

So the question is indeed a more complex one to contemplate when considering the impact of missing a 100% capable Arian Foster:

1. How many games do they lose "while" Foster is out, and the other running backs have to make up the production?


2. How many games do they lose after Foster returns but isn’t fully up to speed?

POLL ANSWER = SUM OF 1 and 2.