Sean Pendergast

Texans Bring Back RB Alfred Blue on One Year Contract

It's impossible for an NFL team to address every need in the draft, especially when the needs abound like they do for the Houston Texans. None of the eight selections that Brian Gaine made in his first draft as general manager was at the running back position, a mild surprise considering the existing depth chart going into the draft was basically Lamar Miller, D'Onta Foreman (coming off a torn Achilles), and Tyler Ervin (coming off a ruptured patellar tendon).

So, when you need bodies at a position, why not go with someone tried and true, I suppose.... someone who (O'Brien catchphrase barrage alert) KNOWS THE SYSTEM, and who WORKS HARD, GOOD GUY, GOOD TEAMMATE. Why not bring back Alfred Blue?!

(Awaits applause.... no applause.... continues....)

Like several of the Texans' free agents that hit the market, the interest in Blue seemed to be almost non-existent, so now, as first reported by Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, Blue returns on a one-year deal:

Blue has had his moments when it's been his time to pinch hit for Arian Foster, Miller, or Foreman, rushing for 1,636 yards in his first three seasons. However, he was used more sparingly in 2017, with just 71 carries for 262 yards. Blue was a sixth round pick in the 2014 draft out of LSU, so he's performed about how you'd expect a sixth round pick to perform, maybe even a little bit better. That said, I'm mildly surprised that he is the solution to the RB depth chart issues right now.

Here are a few observations on this signing:

4. D'Onta Foreman MUST be healing well.
Foreman, as we all know, joined the Texans' injury parade in the Arizona game in late November while scoring on a long run, tearing his Achilles in the process. All of the reports on Foreman's rehab have been glowing, and he has been rumored to be ready to return for the start of the 2018 season. The fact that the urgency level for the Texans at running back was at "re-sign Alfred Blue" levels would seem to indicate those reports are accurate.

3. Lamar Miller MUST be looking and feeling healthy during the early part of the offseason.
While Miller has remained largely healthy, he hasn't been the explosive back that Texan fans envisioned when he was signed in 2016. Much of that may be because of usage — both the way Miller has been used, and the amount that he has been used. Miller has had 583 touches in his two Texan seasons, far more than he was ever used in Miami. Many of those touches have been between-the-tackles runs that have, no doubt, taken their toll on Miller. Again, apparently, the Texans are not worried about this.

2. Texan free agents have not been coveted at all on the open market.
The Texans had 16 unrestricted free agents that hit the market. So far, the only one to get anything more than a one year deal at minimum (or near minimum) level has been cornerback Johnathan Joseph (re-signed by the Texans for 2 years, $10 million). Everyone else is either on one year, moderate money deals or still waiting for a phone call. Nice roster building, Rick Smith.

1. Alfred Blue is on his way to becoming Tim Jamison.
It's crazy to think that someone as limited as Blue is going to be entering a fifth year with the Texans. If you're asking me to handicap his odds of making the team, I would say that there HAVE to be better, more dynamic solutions out there than Alfred Blue, but he is starting to feel like one of those guys who will hang around and have, like an eight year career and nobody can figure out why. We call that the Tim Jamison Concept, named after the former Texans defensive end who was on the team forever and seemingly never got on the field.

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast