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What’s Going On with the Texans RB Issues?

Head coach Gary Kubiak’s Texans gave their prospective rushing game a new kick when they hired assistant coach and Zone Blocking Guru Alex Gibbs this offseason to completely institute the zone blocking system in Houston. Under Denver Broncos HC Mike Shanahan, Gary Kubiak helped create 1,000 yard rushers with ease, but Kubiak has yet to put out a 1,000 yard rusher since joining the Texans in 2006. This season Kubiak and the Texans will be on the spot to create his first 1,000 yard rusher from an option of RBs on the Texans’ roster, available free agents, the draft and more.

1. Ahman Green: One of the biggest first year disappointments for the Texans since Tony Boselli, Green finished his first season with the Texans with 70 rushes for 260 yards and two TDs and 14 receptions for 123 yards. Green injured his knee in Week 1 and never was the same. The 31-year-old RB has a history of injury problems since Green Bay, and he will be back for at least one more season. But that’s not why he’s made the news recently.
The San Jose Mercury News reported Green recently bought a new 2007 Shelby Cobra Mustang GT 500. This beautiful power machine joins his ’67 version of the same Mustang nicknamed Eleanor, and his collection of other cars including a blacked-out 2006 BMW 7-series riding on 22’s, a 2006 Range Rover Supercharged riding on 24’s, a 2006 Dodge Charger in Cornhusker collegiate style. Texans fans would think with these wheels Green should get his act together and be ready to roll in 2008.

2. Ron Dayne: Although the slow yet quickly powerful bruiser appears to be on his way to make more money in the Free Agency, Dayne gave the Texans all he had for two straight seasons. Last season, while filling in for Ahman Green, Dayne ran for 774 yards and six touchdowns. He’s almost like Kubiak’s understudy, and it would be a sad day if Dayne makes his exit from Houston.

3. Darius Walker: After Green was put on the IR in December and Dayne dealt with a number of injuries from pounding the rock for the Texans, the young and speedy Darius Walker proved he had what it took to move the chains for Kubiak and Sherman’s 2007 Texans. Walker finished with 58 carries for 264 yards, including a 41-yard run against the Jacksonville Jaguars. His abilities make it possible to see the Texans skip drafting a back in the first round or overpaying a free agent to make an impact for the Texans in 2008.

4. Chris Taylor: Taylor had an excellent and promising finish to 2006, but he severely blew out his knee on the first day of the Texans 2007 minicamps. In fact, the Texans must have believed in him as they let Vernand Morency (trade) and the injured Dominick Williams go while keeping Taylor before the 2006 season began. His return in 2008 could provide a boost to the Texans run game. Some Texans fans still believe Chris Taylor could be the Texans back of the future.

5. Free Agency: Before the Texans dive into the FA, they’ll need to address their “financial situation,” as Kubiak put it. It seems unlikely that the Texans would spend as much money as they did on Ahman Green for another RB for 2008, but if they are going to pick up a back in the FA, he should be better than what they have and somewhat comfortable in the zone blocking system. The options are Michael Turner (expected FA), Ryan Grant (expected to be signed back for long term deal), Marion Barber (expected to be signed back for 3-5 year deal), Jamal Lewis (expected to be signed back), Earnest Graham (should be signed back although he deserves the $$$, plus Bennett was just signed to a 3 year deal), Musa Smith, Derrick Ward (RFA), Julius Jones, Jesse Chatman, Chris Brown, TJ Duckett, Tatum Bell, Samkon Gado (RFA), Aaron Stecker, LaBrandon Toefield, Vernand Morency (RFA), and Mewelde Moore.

6. Draft: The Texans are in need of RB help but when will they draft the back to help the team? Kubiak has a history of being a part of teams that pick backs in later rounds so that may leave a few backs off of the Texans drafting board. Arkansas’ Darren McFadden is a top 5 pick, Illinois’ Rashard Mendenhall may impress scouts enough to be taken before the Texans’ 18th pick, Oregon’s Jonathon Stewart may not be better than what the Texans RBs in the mix, and Arkansas’ Felix Jones deserves a look if he impresses scouts enough for the 18th pick. The Texans are without a 2nd round pick so in the third round and up the Texans could look at a variety of other backs. Central Florida’s Kevin Smith could be a feature back for the Texans if he falls to the third round. Michigan’s Mike Hart is undersized but experienced and reliable. Hart deserves a look into the fourth round. Texas’ Jamal Charles should impress scouts with his speed and agility but his experience lacks third round talent. East Carolina’s Chris Johnson’s quickness deserves a look past the third round if the Texans feel Darius Walker isn’t the answer for the Texans. Finally, Rutgers’ Ray Rice is undersized but may eventually prove himself in the NFL. Will the Texans go after a back like Mendenhall, Stewart or Jones in the first round, or will GM Smith draft a RB in the later rounds while taking a chance on improving Hart, Charles, Johnson or Rice in Kubiak and Gibb’s zone blocking system?

7. CFL: Joe Smith, the Canadian Football League’s 2007 leading rusher, drew interest from the New York Jets, the Chicago Bears, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Houston Texans. Smith played for the B.C. Lions in Canada, and because he was so elusive the Texans definitely thought about putting him into the mix of Houston RBs. In fact the Texans offered the Houston homeowner a $370,00 contract per year while the NFL rookie minimum salary is $295,000. But because Smith’s contract offer had no guarantee he would stay on the team past minicamps, he decided to stay in Canada for three more years. His CFL contract may be between $120,000 to $140,000 per season and Smith obviously wants the playing time that the Texans couldn’t promise. B.C. Lions GM Neil McEvoy said on Smith staying in Canada, “If Joe had the opportunity to better himself, we would have been happy for him. Now we have one of the CFL’s premier backs, the league’s rushing leader, back with us again. There were no negatives here.”

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One Response to “What’s Going On with the Texans RB Issues?”

  1. Troy Strand says:

    Texans I am a big fan, but please lets get our heads out of our asses, get rid of ron daynes old ass, ahaman greens broken old saggy overpaid body, and get someone in there with talent PLEASE! Texans can be great if the are smart. If we dont do something we need to get a new head coach!

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