At season's end in 2009, undrafted rookie free agent Arian Foster closed out the campaign with 246 yards on 39 carries in the final two contests. Steve Slaton, who was good for more than 1,200 yards as a rookie in 2008, missed the final five games of 2009 with a neck injury. Those two were atop the depth chart during OTAs, and they garnered the lion's share of carries.
Rookie second-round draft pick Ben Tate was injured for much of the work in May and June and didn't see the practice field until the end of OTAs.
Foster was consistent throughout the spring and is looking to continue the success he enjoyed at the end of last season, while Slaton aims to prove that 2009's fumbling problems were an aberration. Tate will need to make strides during training camp to prove he's worthy of shouldering the big load.
Slaton entered last season as the starter, and head coach Gary Kubiak was impressed by his work this offseason.
"He and Foster have had probably been as good in the OTAs as any player we've had," Kubiak said. "With Steve, he goes and gets checked out in two weeks. Everything from our standpoint we're told should be okay, and just get him back and used to contact again will be the key for Steve."
Kubiak said that if the medical reports on Slaton are good, the third-year back will be able to participate fully in training camp.
"If they cut him loose, we'll go to work," Kubiak said. "We need to get his confidence back about getting hit and stuff.".
The Houston RB situation has Running Back By Committee written all over it. One of Arian Foster, Steve Slaton, or Ben Tate could end up performing nicely as a late round sleeper pick, but at this point it's anyone's guess who that will be.