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.
What: Texans vs. Buccaneers
When: 11/5 12pm CST kickoff
Where: Houston, TX NRG Stadium
TV/Radio: KHOU-TV, KILT-Radio
Betting Lines: Texans -3 (Even), O/U 40 (-110) *As of this writing
When the Texans play the Bucs Sunday at NRG, both teams will be fighting to stay in playoff contention. At 3-4 with 2-1 records in their divisions, a non-conference loss won't hurt much, but it certainly won't help. The Texans weren't seen as a playoff contender coming into the season by the overwhelming majority. The Bucs were picked by some to possibly win the NFC South, or make the playoffs as a wildcard. The Bucs enter this game on a three game losing streak after going 3-1 in their first four games. The Texans enter the game winning three of their last five after an 0-2 start.
When the Bucs have the ball: Baker Mayfield has been called a modern-day version of Brett Favre, in the sense of his play on the field. He's known as a gunslinger who believes in his arm talent a little too much at times. With Mike Evans and Chris Godwin at receiver, I'd be a gunslinger too! Evans has never NOT had a 1,000-yard season in the NFL. Godwin has been very productive in his career so far as well. While Baker is sporting a 2.5:1 TD to interception ratio this season, his career mark of 1.65:1 can't escape him. The pass rush will be the key again this game. Tampa does the bulk of their damage through the air. Pressuring Baker into incompletions and/or interceptions is one way to do it. It looks as if their tackle Tristan Wirfs will play this weekend. They can't ignore the run game though. Tampa doesn't have a double-digit ball carrier that averages more than four yards per carry. At 3.8 yards per carry, Baker is their leading guy in that category.
Friday’s Injury Report for #TBvsHOU ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/qm2tFVguyn
— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) November 3, 2023
When the Texans have the ball: DOUBLE TEAM VITA VEA! At 6'4 and listed at 347lbs, Vea is a serious load. Primarily known as a run stuffer, Vea can push the pocket on passing downs. His 3.5 sacks leads their team. Going against him with Dameon Pierce being out isn't ideal. However, Devon Singletary has been seen as the better back for this run system. Factor in Robert Woods still being out and tight end Brevin Jordan missing the game as well, it doesn't bode well for the offense. This is when Tank Dell, Nico Collins, John Metchie III, and others have an opportunity to step it up. Missing one of his safety blankets after being frustrated will be tough on C.J. Stroud.
Outcome: When it comes down to it, this game will be decided by which defense is able to establish themselves. Both offenses are geared towards the pass game and use the run game to keep opponents honest. I can see Tampa's defensive line being the deciding factor. How the Texans' offensive line handles them will give us the winner. Stroud vs. Baker will be fun to watch. Stroud is more of a cerebral/accurate quarterback, while Baker is a gun slinging risk-taker. That being said: Texans 20, Bucs 19 with John Christian Kaʻiminoeauloamekaʻikeokekumupaʻa "Kaʻimi" Fairbairn kicking the game winner as time expires.