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Duke Johnson the Current Texans Starting RB; O’Brien Says He Likes Backfield Situation

In the aftermath of Lamar Miller’s season-ending torn ACL, the Texans are currently slated to go into the regular season with Duke Johnson as their starting running back.

Asked whether the team plans to add to its RB room before the start of the season in two weeks, Texans coach Bill O’Brien told reporters Monday that while any roster move is possible, he currently likes his backfield as is, Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com reports.

“I think if you look at our running back situation right now, we have a good situation,” O’Brien said. “I think adding Duke Johnson was a good move. He’s been good in the meeting room, in practice, very professional attitude.

“We’ll see what happens. Anything can happen.”

Houston’s running back corps has seen major additions and subtractions this summer. The Texans cut their 2017 third-round pick D’Onta Foreman on Aug. 4. Then five days later, Houston swung a trade for Johnson, sending a 2020 conditional fourth-round pick back to Cleveland for the back’s services.

The Texans expected to go into the season with a one-two punch of Miller and Johnson, giving them one of their best RB tandems in years. But that went out the window when Miller went down on the second play of Saturday’s preseason loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Houston officially placed Miller on injured reserve on Monday afternoon.

Behind Johnson on the depth chart are six running backs with 74 career carries and zero career starts on their collective resumes: Damarea Crockett, Josh Ferguson, Cullen Gillaspia, Karan Higdon, Buddy Howell and Taiwan Jones. As the roster currently stands, it’s unclear who will take the bulk of the backup reps; for what it’s worth, Higdon filled in for Miller after the RB left Saturday’s game.


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