Arian Foster is the heart and soul of the Houston Texans‘ offense. Over the past three years he’s established himself as one of the most dynamic playmakers in the NFL. But if you look closely at his 2012 stats, you’ll notice that he actually had a down year in the receiving game (by his standards).
Most people view Foster as a dual-threat running back. That’s what makes him special, he’s nearly as effective catching the ball, as he is running it. But in 2012 he only racked up 217 yards through the air. He had 40 receptions, to give him an average of 5.4 yards per catch. Comparatively in 2011, Foster caught 53 passes for 617 yards, which was good for an 11.6 average. As you can see, that’s quite a drop in production.
The Texans would be wise to make sure that Foster’s receiving numbers go back up this season. He’s too good to only have 217 yards. The more effective he is in the passing game, the more it opens things up for everybody else. When No. 23 is on top of his game, the Texans are a very tough team to beat.
It would seem that one easy solution would simply be to have him run longer routes. Houston should make it a point to get him in space more often in 2013, and let his natural playmaking ability take over from there. Foster is the kind of player that just needs the ball in his hands. He’s a running back first and foremost, but he becomes a matchup nightmare when he’s got it going in the receiving game. On top of everything else, the wear and tear on his body will be lessened the more he plays as a receiver.
Follow Andrew Fisher on Twitter