Steelers' Bell appears to be off the table

Gaine's running back plan for Texans is clear: Miller,  Foreman expected to carry the load next year

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Texans general manager Brian Gaine made clear at the NFL Scouting Combine where he stands on his team's running backs and where he wants the team to go in 2019 with the position.

"We like the composition of the current depth chart," Gaine said referring to veteran Lamar Miller and third-year rusher D'Onta Foreman.

"Lamar Miller was our starting back last year, was a borderline 1,000-yard rusher. Unfortunately, he missed a game or two. He probably would've gotten 1,000 yards on the season – three-down back."

Is it safe to say Lamar Miller is the starter for next season?

"Yes," Gaine replied simply.

While Miller missed the 1,000 yard mark he achieved his highest yards per attempt since his rookie year. He's scored six touchdowns in each of his three seasons as a member of the Texans. His receiving numbers dropped off last season to some of the least impressive of his career. He is entering he the final year of the free agent contract he signed with the Texans.

As for Foreman, Gaine sees potential in the young back after finally getting back from his injury.

"We're optimistic about a very positive return in his contributions. We saw glimpses of that the previous season. Also impressed us in the passing game, so we're optimistic that those guys will be back and intact."

With Gaine saying the team would be "selectively aggressive" it doesn't seem a play at big-ticket free agent Le'veon Bell is in the cards.

"I'm always going to try to prioritize this, we're always going to try to keep our own, draft and develop our own, and try to sign our own guys to long-term deals before we look for external solutions."

Gaine could be scouting the next member of the running back room this weekend though.

"Then, we're going to evaluate the draft here coming up," he said. "Ideally, we'd love to have a committee backfield and have contributions from various players, but Lamar was a three-down back last year and we're optimistic that Foreman will return to full health."

Cody's Take

I don't hate this approach by Gaine. Lamar Miller, D'Onta Foreman, and a potential mid-tier free agent or draft pick is a fine running back room. I don't see how or why they'd get in the Le'veon Bell sweepstakes when they have to pay Clowney and a safety this year, key role players like D.J. Reader, and eventually Deshaun Watson. You don't need an albatross of a contract like Bell's on this Texans team.

They need someone else though. They can't lean on just Miller and Foreman like they did in 2018 with Miller and Blue. Getting someone in the building they trust is of paramount importance.

Trust is a reason Lamar Miller is going to be a rare NFL player who will play out his free agent deal as is. He isn't as frequently dynamic as he used to be but he is a fine part of a rotation. For some reason a lot of Texans fans think Lamar Miller's money is a problem for the Texans but he's only set to have a $7.2 million cap hit. Cutting just creates a hole you have to replace.

If D'Onta Foreman is close to the level of talent he possessed before injury he's the potential playmaker for the running backs. I am skeptical he's regained almost all of his ability but if it is true there is potential for him to lead the team in rushing next season.

As for the other spots I would love to see investment in either the second or third round in a running back. I like a lot of players in this class while I am not too fond of some of the veterans. Setting the room up for a Miller-Foreman-rookie depth chart in 2019 and Foreman-rookie-veteran in 2020 wouldn't be the worst move.

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TEXANS HAVE ZERO DEPTH AT CORNER

Here's what Davante Adams' big day against the Texans really proved

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Seven weeks into the season, Bradley Roby has been the sole bright spot playing for a secondary that has been subpar at best. He entered Week 7 against the Green Bay Packers trailing only Eric Murray for the most tackles as a defensive back, while owning the Houston Texans' only interception of the season.

During his media availability on Thursday, Roby spoke about having the Texans' confidence to trust him as the primary defender shadowing the opposing team's best receiver.

And with Davante Adams coming to NRG Stadium with Aaron Rodgers on Sunday, Roby had an opportunity to illustrate why Houston's coaching staff have so much faith in him.

Three plays into the game, Roby sustained a knee injury that sidelined him the rest of the afternoon. In his absence, the Texans felt his importance competing with a depleted secondary.

Adams would go on to have a career day against the Texans. He recorded a career-best 196 receiving yards on 13-of-18 targets and two touchdowns — as the Packers handed the Texans a 35-20 loss on Sunday.

Had the Fort Worth native avoided the injury, would it have resulted in a victory for the Texans? Perhaps not. It is always hard for a team to come away victorious after going scoreless during the first half, but Roby would have limited the destruction caused by Adams. Rogers completed four deep passes where he recorded 28 or more yards, with Adams being the recipient of three.

Not only did Houston have to deal with the effects of not having their best corner shadow one of the league's premier receivers, but the team was not prepared to battle without Roby, according to Michael Thomas following the loss.

"When you lose your starting corner like that, it's going to affect [the team]," Thomas said. "Anytime you have to make adjustments. If you're not prepared, and you don't have the right mindset, then you're probably not going to get the right results you want. Maybe we could have done it a little sooner, but you definitely miss a guy like Roby. You plan on having your number one guy go against their number one guy all the time."

Roby's premature exit left the Texans with a gaping void to slowdown Rodgers and the Packers without two of their projected starting corners. Gareon Conley — who revived his career during the second half of last season — has yet to play a single snap for Houston in 2020 as he continues to recover from offseason ankle surgery.

Their lackluster performance on Sunday showcased the lack of depth and talent the Texans have in the secondary. And with the trade deadline a week away, it may be in the Texans' best interest to invest in a young defensive back they can build around in the future — especially considering the timetable on Conley's return remains unknown.

Interim head coach Romeo Crennel said on Monday that the team is hoping Roby's injury is short-term and hopes to have their top corner make his return following the bye.

At 1-6 on the year, all the Texans have left to play for is pride as they close out the remaining nine games of the season, and the best way is to prevent another receiver from recording nearly 200 yards in a single game.

For this vulnerable secondary, it is a feat easier said than done. And with the talents of Jarvis Landry, T.Y. Hilton, and A.J. Brown remaining on the schedule, it is only best for Roby to make his return to the field sooner rather than later.

"I take pride in it. It's an opportunity that not a lot of guys get throughout the league, and I'm thankful for that. Just to be able to go against the best and try my best for the team and see how I match up. I'm very thankful for that." — Roby.

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