Determining the third back behind Arian Foster and Ben Tate is a top priority heading into roster cuts this week. With the Texans final preseason game just days away, time is running out for the backups to secure a roster spot. Fourth-year veteran Deji Karim was first off the bench after Tate in Sunday's 31-23 loss to the Saints.
"I would say Deji, we got a pretty good look at last night," head coach Gary Kubiak said. "D.J. (RB Dennis Johnson) got a little bit. (RB) Cierre (Wood) did not get much at all. That's something I really want to work through and try to sort out."
The Texans passing game has eclipsed the run game so far this preseason. Through the first three preseason games, the Texans rushed for 386 yards for 2 touchdowns and passed for 1,001 yards and six scores. Not having success on the ground makes the backup running back situation murky.
"Yeah, I think they have not gotten the carries that you'd like them to get," Kubiak said. "We've been trying to figure out our wide receiver situation.
Karim leads the team in preseason rushing with 21 carries for 112 yards. Undrafted free agents Cierre Wood and Dennis Johnson each have 16 carries. Wood has rushed for 84 yards while Johnson has averaged just 3.1 yards per carry with 50 yards.
According to Kubiak, the key will be who can contribute on special teams. Johnson has returned 7 punts, averaging 9.9 yards per return and 3 kickoffs for 75 yards. Karim, who is a regular on special teams returns in practice, has just one kickoff return for 27 yards this preseason.
"Now, watching it transfer from the practice field to the game, if we don't get to see it like we'd like to in the preseason, we've got to sort through as coaches," Kubiak said of the final roster decisions. "But it's always going to go back to special teams. It always does."