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Scouting report: Texans' running offense

Oct. 14, 2012
 

Here is Pete Dougherty's scouting report on the Houston Texans running offense based on interviews with NFL coaches and scouts:

Houston is maybe the most balanced team in the NFL in terms of talent on offense and defense, and coach Gary Kubiak has one of the league’s most balanced offenses as well.

He runs a West Coast offense built around the stretch-zone running scheme he learned from Mike Shanahan and offensive line coaching guru Alex Gibbs in Denver. The Texans are tied for No. 3 in the NFL in scoring and are sixth in rushing yards.

They run primarily stretch zone plays, with Gibbs’ emphasis on cut blocks on the back side. Kubiak has an ideal zone runner in Arian Foster, who since 2010 is the NFL’s leading rusher with 3,372 yards.

Foster, who entered the NFL undrafted out of Tennessee in 2009, has a great combination of size (6-foot-1, 228 pounds), strength, balance and instincts for the one-cut zone scheme. He’s not a home-run hitter and isn’t in the class of Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson, but he is one of the NFL’s premier backs.

After five games he ranks No. 2 in the NFL in rushing (532 yards) and is averaging 4.0 yards a carry, down from his 4.6-yard career average. He makes the Texans like a half-court college basketball team, because once they get ahead he can grind the clock and wear out a defense.

His backup, Ben Tate (5-11, 215) is a third-year pro out of Auburn who would start for plenty of teams in the league. Tate has been battling a toe injury of late.

Center Chris Myers (6-4, 290) is a prototypical zone scheme offensive lineman — small and quick so he can execute reach blocks and get out to the linebacker level. Right tackle Derek Newton (6-6, 318) is their best power blocker.

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