While it’s still not clear precisely who will be throwing the passes in Houston or whether veteran receiver Andre Johnson will be catching many/any of them, new coach Bill O’Brien’s offense could have a potent weapon out of the backfield when it’s time to move the ball through the air.
“He’s got really good hand-eye coordination,” O’Brien told reporters on Tuesday regarding tailback Arian Foster. “He’s got good hands. He’s an instinctive player. He has a good idea about how to get open. He enjoys being involved in the passing game, both in protection bases and obviously on routes. He’s had a good OTA period for us.”
That meshes with the optimism Foster already has expressed regarding an offense that involves the running backs in the passing game. O’Brien made it clear that, when looking for guys on the roster who fit his system, the first-year coach needed to look no farther than Foster.
“The most important thing to do is to make sure that you look at the player’s skill set and figure out how they fit your system or our system,” O’Brien said. “What we do is if we have a back for instance that is a three-down back like Arian is, a guy that can play on first, second and third down, then your finding ways to incorporate him into the passing game and the running game and it really works out well for your offense. In the past we’ve had guys like Kevin Faulk and Danny Woodhead in this offense that have filled those types of roles. Now it looks like definitely Arian will be able to do that and more.”
In 2010, his second season in the league, Foster caught 66 passes, an average of 4.125 per game. He has averaged 2.8 receptions in his other 143 career regular-season games.