Despite being one of their biggest acquisitions this offseason, running back Andre Brown didn’t play a single snap in the Houston Texans preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday night.
Practice squad signee Jonathan Grimes took 17 snaps with the first team in place of the injured Arian Foster, as he has all camp. Alfred Blue took 25, including some with the starters. Dennis Johnson played the other 6, per Pro Football Focus.
Part of that was due to the team’s struggles all-around. The offense couldn’t sustain drives, forcing head coach Bill O’Brien to play the starters the whole first half. The defense couldn’t get off the field, which sapped the everybody on offense of opportunities.
But for Brown, a six-year veteran who signed this offseason with hopes of being Foster’s backup, how playing time was divvied up had to be less than encouraging.
Brown kept an even keel on Monday.
“It is what it is,” he said. “I guess we’ll figure it out and let coach answer it.”
In the meantime, Brown said he’s not worrying about what he can’t control.
“Whatever happens, happens, man” he said. “I’m not even gonna sit here and stress or anything. You put me out there, I’ll show what I’m capable of doing, and that’s it.”
Brown made it clear he believes he has shown what he can do this camp.
“I feel as though [I have],” he said. “But, it is what it is.”
The Texans depth chart at running back is in a state of flux. Though Grimes has taken the majority of first-team reps so far, it’s possible that’s only because his skill set resembles Foster’s, allowing O’Brien to install the offense as he would if Foster were there — which makes it also possible that Grimes may be released when Foster returns. Especially since, so far, Grimes hasn’t played much special teams.
Still, Grimes has impressed in camp, and given Foster’s injury history, it wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world to keep him around just in case. If Grimes is practice squad ineligible, doing so would require keeping him on the active roster.
Blue has also shined in camp, not only for his dominating physical presence as a runner, but also for his ability as a pass blocker. Though he dropped a pass on Saturday night against the Cardinals, Blue’s work in blitz pickup could be enough to command reps in certain third-down situations.
None of that bodes well for Brown, who despite being the New York Giants leading rusher in 2013 has limited upside, a checkered injury history and a relatively expendable contract — the one-year, $645,000 deal he signed this spring.
First roster cuts are due on August 26, after the NFL’s third preseason weekend.
The Texans host the Atlanta Falcons in Week 2 on Saturday night.
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