HOUSTON (SPORTSRADIO 610) – The Houston Texans drafted running back D’Onta Foreman in third round of this year’s NFL draft and appeared to be the perfect compliment to steady, but sometimes fragile star running back Lamar Miller.
In today’s NFL the lone feature back is becoming more and more old school and having a pair of running backs with different skillsets is the new normal.
Miller’s first season in Houston was solid amassing 1,073 yards in 14 games with six combined touchdowns. With the Houston offense leaning heavily on the run, having a second back to take some of the load off Miller was part of the thought process in drafting the former Texas Longhorn.
Foreman, last year’s Doak Walker award winner given to the nation’s best collegiate running back only had one carry in the Texans’ season opening loss to the Jaguars. Texans head coach Bill O’Brien said the following week that Foreman would be involved more in the weeks to come.
It has been a gradual rise in opportunities for Foreman over the first four games of his career. Foreman had a season high 13 carries for 45 yards in Sunday’s win over the Titans.
Foreman said he’s patient as he continues to grow in his first season.
“I figured that’s how it was going to be when I came into the league,” Foreman said on Friday. “I knew I wasn’t going to come in getting 30 carries or anything like that. It’s something you got to fight through. It’s difficult going from getting it 30 times to getting it a couple times a game, but I understand it. Whatever they ask me to do, I’m willing to do it.”
As a rookie Foreman has to show hunger for opportunities but also live in the confines of knowing his role which happens to be behind Miller. O’Brien said he likes when a player has the desire to improve and get more touches.
“Lamar (Miller) starts the game, so Lamar usually gets more opportunities. Lamar’s a veteran back, he’s been around for a while. He’s a guy that’s done it for us. D’Onta’s a young back, he’s improving every day. D’Onta needs to continue to improve every day, improve in the weight room, conditioning, improve in his knowledge of the offense, but you can tell he’s got a good future. There’s no doubt about that.
Foreman, who had a 63 yard catch and run against New England in Week 3, is still looking to break off a long run from the backfield like he was used to doing in college.
“I’m definitely itching for that,” Foreman said Friday. “At times in the game, I’ll be forcing some of the runs and I might bounce outside when I shouldn’t have just to try to get that long run that I’m looking for. I’m definitely itching for it. If I keep doing what they tell me to do, it’ll come.”
O’Brien knows Foreman has the ability to have a good career in the NFL, he just needs to be patient.
“I think that’s the attitude that you want those guys to have,” O’Brien said about most skill position players as they enter the league. “They want the football, they want 20, 30 carries a game and as a coach, you have to make the best decision in the best interest of the player and the team. What’s best for the team? What gives us the best chance to win the game? And that’s basically what we try to do, which is different sometimes than what the player wants.”
Alex Del Barrio covers the Houston Texans for Sportsradio610.com and is the color commentator for the Houston Dynamo. He also hosts “ADB and Murph” with Matt Murphy which can be heard on Saturday afternoons 4-7 pm Follow Alex Del Barrio on Twitter: @alexdelbarrio