On Saturday’s preseason affair against the Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller suffered a torn ACL that forced him to be carted off the field. As a result, he will miss the 2019 season.
While the argument for abolishing preseason games doesn’t seem to be a practical solution at the moment, the Texans may be looking to bring in reinforcements for their backfield in the meantime. Here are three plans of attack:
Let Duke Johnson Jr. play it out
Earlier in the month, the Cleveland Browns departed from Duke Johnson Jr. in an effort to create order in their depth chart. With Johnson heading to Houston, he adds four years of NFL experience.
Normally, he is labeled as a versatile asset that has potential to catch the ball out of the backfield. However, in 2018, Johnson accounted for career-lows across the board in terms of rushes and receptions.
The Texans have a chance to rely on Johnson as the primary option in the backfield. Whether it has been Isaiah Crowell or Nick Chubb, he has always been forced to wait on reps. This opportunity could be his shot to solidify himself as a starting running back.
Sign a veteran
With Miller in 2018, the Texans offense ranked 5th in rushing yards per game with 130.3. In fact, he rushed for 973 yards on 4.6 yards per carry.
If fans are skeptical about Johnson’s ability to evolve into a three-down back, why not look into signing a premier veteran instead? One name that stands out in the free agency market is Jay Ajayi.
At first glance, the injury concerns are a red flag. However, he has a career average of 4.5 yards per carry and eats nearly 14 attempts per game.
No one is begging for Ajayi to be the solution in the run game, but why not work him into the rotation? The Texans can not rely on Deshaun Watson to drop back in the pocket as many times as possible.
Trade for Melvin Gordon
Earlier in the month, it was reported that Houston would not try and cut a deal for Melvin Gordon. However, one injury can shake up the sports world. Gordon is currently holding out from the Los Angeles Chargers in hopes of receiving a contract extension.
Based on the latest beliefs, the Chargers are satisfied with a committee in their backfield involving Austin Eckler and Justin Jackson, so why not cash in on Gordon’s value? Much like Ajayi, Gordon has injury concerns of his own. With games missed in three of his first four seasons in the NFL, his upside involves his ability to find the end zone. Excluding a rough 2015 rookie year, Gordon has scored 38 times over the last three seasons.
While this scenario may be a long shot, the Texans would emerge as AFC favorites with a player of Gordon’s caliber in their backfield. Would a straight trade of Jadeveon Clowney for Melvin Gordon make almost too much sense?
Photo Credit: Bleacher Report