Houston Texans running back Arian Foster is one of the best running backs in the NFL, there is no question about that. And don’t get me wrong, Foster can carry the load for a few more seasons but as much as the Texans love to run the ball, he needs help in order to stay productive.
In the 2012 season, Foster carried the ball 351 times, a new career high in carries for the star runner, but only averaged 4.1 yards per carry, a career low. In fact, Foster only averaged at least four yards per carry in seven games this season so it appears as though the Texans should spell Foster more often. That was the likely the plan before backup running back Ben Tate got injured and only managed to play in 11 games this season so I fully expect Tate to get more carries next season.
The full effects of how good Foster is when he gets fewer carries has already been established in the 2010 and 2011 seasons where Foster never carried the ball more than 327 times. In both of those seasons, he averaged at least 4.4 yards per carry and he managed to score 30 total touchdowns so it’s clear that he’s a better player with fewer carries.
I’m not saying that Foster isn’t durable enough to carry the ball over the 325 times that any lead running back usually totes it, but I am saying that he’s more effective on fewer carries. The Texans have the runners behind him and the offensive line to be successful with their running game no matter who carries it. Foster is the best of their running backs so why not keep him fresh for the entirety of the year. The NFL season is a long grind and getting a little more rest throughout the season would do him good.
Arian Foster’s proven to be one of the most reliable running backs in the NFL, and giving him help in backfield will only make him better.
you can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi