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Quartet battling for RB roster spot

Posted Aug 19, 2013

With Arian Foster still out, which RB is positioned to take a roster spot behind Ben Tate?

With Arian Foster still out, the question looms. Who will backup Foster and Ben Tate on the Texans roster? 

Deji Karim, the most experienced back behind the Foster/Tate tandem, seems to have the edge.

“I think I said last night, there’s something about (RB) Deji (Karim) that’s very trusting,” head coach Gary Kubiak said Sunday. “He’s played a little bit of football in the NFL. He does everything right. He’s helping (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano) on special teams. I think, if anything, he’s probably a little ahead of the other guys, probably just from experience.” 

Karim, entering his fourth-year in the NFL, led the Texans in rushing with 15 carries for 92 yards in Saturday’s 24-17 preseason win over Miami. Karim’s experience also extends to two of the Texans AFC South rivals. He played two seasons in Jacksonville before appearing in three games as an Indianapolis Colt in 2012.

Undrafted rookie free agents Dennis Johnson and Cierre Wood are also battling for the third-spot behind Tate. Johnson (5-7,193), the rookie from Arkansas, has dazzled in training camp with his speed and agility. He also contributes on special teams as a kickoff and punt returner. Those qualities have just not translated to his performance in the preseason, according to Kubiak. Against Miami, Johnson was fourth in rushing with just 19 yards on 11 carries.

“Johnson has shown some signs, has practiced extremely well,” Kubiak said. “It hasn’t transferred to the field the way I’d like it to, but there has been some good things. He’s excellent in his pass protection. Last night, not much happened in the run game and then he turns the ball over, which obviously you can’t do. We’re going to continue to give him opportunities because it’s been an excellent camp.”

Cierre Wood (5-11, 205) had earned himself more reps following his preseason performance at Minnesota where he had 10 carries for 59 yards. When Tate returned for the Texans second preseason game against the Dolphins, Wood still managed to rush for 79 yards, with one carry of 20 yards, but has fallen short on special teams.

“Wood’s got a lot of talent,” Kubiak said. “He’s inconsistent in what he’s doing. He’s got to play better for Joe on special teams. Those guys have got to sort it out for us and they’re going to get a great deal of time here over the next two weeks.”

The Texans will next face the New Orleans Saint in preseason action on Sunday, August 25 at 3 p.m. at Reliant Stadium. The team will trim down to 75 players with the first-round of roster cuts just two days later on August 27.

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