If David Johnson’s concussion keeps him out of the Texans’ upcoming road game against the Browns, it’ll be worth watching who Houston’s No. 2 running back is. Buddy Howell, a primarily special teams player, appeared on offense for five snaps Sunday, and there was a fumble on the exchange of the lone running play called for him.
Running backs coach Danny Barrett previously said if one of the Johnsons went down, practice squad back Scottie Phillips, an undrafted rookie out of Mississippi, would receive carries. This could be a good chance for the Texans to evaluate him before heading into an offseason in which they’re likely to make a change or two at running back because both Johnsons have hefty cap hits with minimal or no guaranteed money attached to their contracts.
The story said on Sunday, Duke Johnson recorded 73 yards and a rushing touchdown on a career-high 20 touches. He wasn’t efficient on the ground, averaging just 2.6 YPC on 16 rushing attempts, but that might be more of an indictment of the Texans’ scheme and blocking than him. The author added there were at least five plays when Duke Johnson, who finished near the top of Pro Football Focus’ elusiveness rating last year, bounced off a tackle or made a guy miss in the backfield to gain at least a few yards. Those are the sort of plays that David Johnson doesn’t make and instead loses yards. Our John Paulsen has said all along he feels Duke Johnson has the ability to be a primary ball carrier, if David is out this week, Duke may get a chance in Week 10, but it looks like Phillips could be a factor as well.