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.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Texans running back Duke Johnson is considered week-to-week with the ankle sprain he suffered last Thursday, and is unlikely to play this week against the Ravens.
There’s some hope Duke could return for Week 3 at the Steelers, so the news could be worse. Duke Johnson had five carries against the Chiefs before leaving with the injury, while David Johnson had 109 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown in his first game with the Texans. David could get a bigger workload. Howell is next up on the depth chart and the Texans could make a move for another back at some point this week.
On Monday, head coach Bill O’Brien said that he thinks the team is in a “good situation” at the RB position despite Lamar Miller’s loss and cited the trade for Duke Johnson as a leading reason for that opinion. The Browns made heavy use of Johnson as a receiver the last four years, but O’Brien said he’s confident that Johnson can take on a bigger role.
O'Brien was quoted as saying he wouldn't call Johnson just a third-down back and with the Texans he'll be used a lot of different ways. O'Brien did add he doesn't think Johnson will be used exclusively, because of the other guys on the roster. It's believed the Texans will be looking to acquire another RB option before the season starts.
In our report from earlier in the day about Foreman getting released, Crockett wasn't listed among the favorites to see the time Foreman was getting, but this tweet is quite the opposite. Crockett is a name to keep an eye on especially for those who end up with Miller in fantasy drafts. Reports are now saying Crockett could slip into the role Foreman had.