The Texans lost running back Arian Foster to a back injury for the second half of last season and sat him out for the entire preseason as he dealt with a hamstring issue, but they won’t be easing him back into the lineup against Washington this weekend.
Foster said this week that he feels wonderful and the Texans are going to approach the game as if there were no injury concerns at all. Head coach Bill O’Brien said that the team will be using Foster as their bell cow in Week One.
“Arian’s going to play a lot. After that, we’ll see how it goes,” O’Brien said, via the Houston Chronicle. “I believe at some point you’ll see all three of those other backs: Jonathan Grimes, Alfred Blue and Ronnie Brown in different situations. But Arian will get the bulk of the playing time.”
There are obviously injury risks involved in returning Foster to the workhorse role he’s filled in recent years, but his work before last year’s injury is a reminder that there are also much greater rewards for riding him than there are when you go with less talented backs. That’s all the more true when your quarterback is Ryan Fitzpatrick and your goal is to limit how much of the game you want to put on his shoulders, so the Texans are going to try to get their money’s worth from Foster until something forces them to change their plans.