Kubiak Open to Giving Foster 400 Carries

Will Arian Foster top 400 carries?

10/1/12 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

September 30, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans running back Arian Foster (23) rushes during the fourth quarter against the Tennessee Titans at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIREHouston Texans' head coach Gary Kubiak was asked Monday about the possibility of running back Arian Foster receiving 400 carries this season. "He can handle it," said Kubiak. "I know that."

Kubiak seems open to the idea of one of the league's elite offensive weapons taking an all-time monstrous workload, but he'd be a fool to keep giving Foster the ball at his current rate (on pace for 412 carries). Sure, Foster is an exceptional player and should be the focal point of the Texans' offense, but the outlook of a player who notches 400 carries is grim.

Larry Johnson has the most single season carries of all-time at 416, and never reached 200 carries for the remainder of his career. Jamal Anderson carried the ball 410 times in 1998, then went on to tear his ACL after 19 carries in 1999. Eddie George had a season with 403 carries, after which he never topped 3.4 yards per carry again. Those are three of the five players who have topped 400 carries in a season.

Not only would 400 carries be a career-threatening feat for Foster, but the Texans are fortunate to have an exceptional backup running back in Ben Tate. Tate's career average of 5.2 yards per carry is actually better than Foster's 4.6, and Tate is also averaging .2 more yards per carry than Foster so far in the 2012 season. With more than a thousand yards from scrimmage last season, Tate has proven he's worthy of a heavy workload.

When you have an elite talent that is the focal point of your offense, you have to do all you can to keep him healthy and allow him to be effective for as many years as possible. Carrying the ball 400 times wears running backs down and, historically, destroys their ability to produce in the future.

With a running back like Ben Tate backing up Arian Foster, the Texans should simply give Tate a bigger slice of the pie, rather than run their offensive centerpiece into the ground by giving him 400 carries.

Foster could top 400, or end up far from it. As Kubiak said, "You never know how the season's going to go."
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