Texans could replace Foster with Thomas, Jackson
With Arian Foster suffering a groin injury that will require surgery and keep him off the field to start the 2015 season (and potentially quite a bit longer than that), the Texans are left in a difficult spot at the running back position.
In 2014 their backup was Alfred Blue, but he disappointed as a rookie. He averaged just 2.0 yards after contact per carry, which was tied for the seventh-worst among 57 qualifying halfbacks. Houston added former Eagles RB Chris Polk in free agency, but Polk only looked impressive last year when he was facing the Texans. He averaged 6.3 yards per carry against them and 3.2 yards per carry against all other teams.
The Texans could benefit greatly by bringing in a free agent back to complement what they already have. The two available free agents that stand out the most are Steven Jackson and Pierre Thomas.
Last year Jackson played for one of the worst run-blocking teams in the NFL in the Falcons, which hurt his yards per carry total — but his 29 forced missed tackles tied for 17th-best in the league. Jackson only allowed one pressure last year, so he would also be an upgrade in pass protection.
Thomas is an even more intriguing option. He had the third-highest receiving rating for a halfback in 2014, and averaged 5.0 yards per carry on his limited touches. He worked out for Houston on Wednesday but reportedly left without having reached terms on a contract. The Texans would be wise to sign one or both of these backs to try to fill the void left by Foster’s injury.