Sunday morning the Texans cut former 2017 third rounder D'Onta Foreman. Here are the options currently on the team behind Lamar Miller, some thoughts on free agents, and how Foreman ended up in this spot.
It's hard to not get exited about the selection of D'Onta Foreman back in 2017. He was the Doak Walker award winner which is awarded to the nation's top running back, he was a consensus All-American and he was from the Greater Houston area.
Foreman's torn Achilles robbed him of the last parts of 2017 and pretty much all of the 2018 season. The injury took away at least six games he could have shown his stuff and he was far from right in 2018. You could see the injury took a toll on him.
Coming into this season Foreman had changed his body. He looked more fit than he had been and claimed he felt as good as he did in high school. The new body didn't translate into results. I have speculated he was in workout shape but not football shape.
His work during camp had been lackluster to say the least. He was regularly average to below-average with the ball in his hands and his pass blocking was overall bad. Bill O'Brien made it very clear early in camp there was one running back who wasn't competing for a spot and that was Lamar Miller. D'Onta Foreman, it seems, didn't get the message.
I wouldn't be shocked to see him get another chance somewhere else. He just wasn't a fit for this Texans team it seems.
Never should have been in this position
Maybe this is something that can be shoved off on Brian Gaine, but the Texans never should be in the situation they currently reside. Lamar Miller is the lone back with real NFL rushing experience. The rest of the roster is either a special teams expert, fringe roster player who has been around a few years, or an undrafted rookie.
There have been so many worthwhile running backs, both expensive and a bargain, that could have helped the Texans. Tevin Coleman signed for peanuts. C.J. Anderson showcased there was plenty left in the tank last year. T.J. Yeldon would have been a decent compliment. And just recently Theo Riddick was a free agent but signed up with a crowded Denver room.
There could have been some addressing of the position via the draft too but instead added another young tight end to the roster in the third round over the likes of Alabama's Damien Harris and Oklahoma State's Justice Hill.
Current free agents
Jay Ajayi is coming back off an ACL injury but that was in week five, a few weeks before Will Fuller who is good to go now. I like the idea of Ajayi. He has played in multiple systems and is still young. If there was a free agent addition he would be my choice.
Jacquizz Rodgers with his connection to the area (Lamar Consolidated) would have been nice but he was signed by the Saints around the same moment Foreman was released. LeGarrette Blount is a free agent and in theory is a nice power option until you realize he rushed for 2.7 yards per carry last year. Stevan Ridley was a rookie when Bill O'Brien was the offensive coordinator in New England, but he was bad last year for the Steelers.
Free agency, currently, is thin. The Texans might be looking to add a player to the roster if they get cut in the coming weeks or even during roster cut down.
A special teams ace who has had 44 carries in his eight-year NFL career to this point. Going into his ninth year he could very-well make the roster but if he does as the backup consider it a clear failure by the front office. I can understand his usefulness as a depth player but he shouldn't end up the backup.
The former Wolverines ball carrier was slow to start his offseason after a surgery earlier this year. He has made up for it in the short amount of time in camp though. He has some juice to him and is a willing special teams player. There have been a few moments where he's showcased athleticism and sideways movement.
He had the 18th most yards per game in college football last year and had the 29th most rushing yards. I have to wonder how much being behind will affect his ability. He's catching up to where other undrafted players are though.
Crockett was fantastic in 2016 for the Missouri Tiger but never replicated that season's success. He has had an up and down camp to this point with success on the goal line, he tattooed a couple of defenders carrying them into the end zone, and some failures, he's been stuffed after a bad cut. If I had to have a depth chart tomorrow and put someone behind Miller I likely would put Crockett there but I wouldn't feel great about it.
He has played sparingly in the NFL since making his debut for the Colts in 2016. He garnered high praise from O'Brien in the spring work but hasn't stood out in camp. I'm not sure how much of a factor he can be in this situation.
The second-year back was a special teams only player last year for the Texans. He was one of the running backs not mentioned by name, along with Foreman, from the other day when Bill O'Brien was mentioning player's ability to be used on special teams. I do not see any way he can make this team.
A rookie has only won the MVP once. Jim Brown in 1957.
Only two MVPs have won the award and missed the playoffs. Johnny Unitas in 1957, and O.J. Simpson in 1973.
Of the 57 MVP winners, 54 have been offensive players. 38 of that 54 have been quarterbacks.
C.J. Stroud can win NFL MVP as a rookie quarterback. It's possible.
I know what you're thinking. “Oh boy! Jermaine is about to go off on another one of his tangents again!” You'd be half right. I do have a bone to pick and something to say, but it's a legit thing that could happen. What helped me arrive at this conclusion was looking at the factors that go into something like this actually coming to fruition.
First off, let's look at the odds. As of this writing, Stroud is at +2000 betting odds for MVP. He's the sixth best betting favorite. He's coming off a game in which he beat (and outplayed) the fifth betting favorite in Joe Burrow who's at +1200. He's currently the runaway favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year at -2000. Jahmyr Gibbs and Puka Nacua are next up at +1400 each. What I found EXTREMELY odd is Stroud isn't listed as a betting option for Offensive Player of the Year. As a frame of reference for how odd this is, Christian McCaffrey is tied with Stroud at +2000 for MVP, but is the betting favorite for Offensive Player of the Year at +125 along with Tyreek Hill. Hill is at +5000 for MVP. As they say: the math ain't mathin!
Next, I looked at the supporting cast around him. From coaches to teammates to staff/front office, the organization is completely behind this guy. His teammates love and respect him. He's constantly praised for his leadership skills. The coaching staff appreciates his work ethic and dedication to the craft. The staff/front office has spoken highly of him every chance they're asked. He and offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik are totally in sync. They can currently do no wrong. There's a reason why he's second in the league in passing yards overall, and leads the league in passing yards per game.
Finally, I looked at team success. Currently, the Texans are in second place in the AFC South. The Jags are in first by a game, but the Texans won their first matchup this season. In fact, the Texans have won 11 of the last 12 games in this series. They own the Jags over the last few years. The Colts lost their prized rookie quarterback for the season and are relying on their defense and offensive line to carry them. The Titans are run by Will Levis and Derrick Henry. Remaining opponents have a combined .446 winning percentage this season. That's fourth easiest in the league.
It's that final factor that I believe will help propel him to unforeseen heights. Nothing and nobody in the AFC South should scare this team after what they've been able to accomplish this season so far. The Carolina and Atlanta losses were inexplicable. They really should've beaten the Colts in that first matchup after Richardson got hurt. A few plays here and there, this team is 7-2. A little more fire and fewer injuries earlier on, and maybe they're 8-1. It really isn't as farfetched as it may seem.
We can't ignore the fact that he's having as good or arguably a better rookie season than any quarterback before him. His drive, focus, and work ethic will propel him to great heights. If he's going to continue to do the impossible, he'll need his organization to fully back him. Everyone has a job to do. If they all continue to do it as well as they all have, particularly over the last few weeks, Stroud should win MVP while the team makes the playoffs. Coming from the depths at which this team was to make the playoffs in one season mainly due to the play of Stroud should not only earn him MVP, but DeMeco Ryans should be Coach of the Year as well. He's the second betting favorite at +250 behind Dan Campbell at +175. Excuse me while I go place some bets.
(*All betting odds are courtesy of BETUS.com)