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Why is David Culley Stubborn to Stick with Ineffective Running Backs?

Houston Texans head coach David Culley remains content with his running backs, despite their clear lack of production. So when will Scottie Phillips get his chance?

The Houston Texans' coaching staff hasn't been afraid to rotate players this season ... except at running back.

Veteran Mark Ingram has started all six games, scoring one touchdown and leading the team with 285 yards despite averaging only 3.3 yards per attempt. Not mind-blowing statistics by any means, but compared to his teammates Ingram is practically a Pro Bowl candidate.

Only two other backs have 10+ rushing attempts this year, with David Johnson managing only 79 yards and one fumble on 20 attempts, while Phillip Lindsay has 89 yards and one touchdown on 36 carries.

In other words, coach David Culley's preferred running-back-by-committee is an abysmal failure. The Texans rank 25th in rushing yards and only two teams have fewer touchdowns on the ground than Houston's three.

This is where Scottie Phillips comes in. Or at least he should.

The second-year undrafted free agent out of Ole Miss was a standout this preseason, leading Houston's backs with 155 rushing yards and a touchdown to go along with 23 receiving yards. His powerful style fits like a glove in offensive coordinator Tim Kelly's A-gap heavy inside run scheme. In the preseason, Phillips showed that if you give him the slimmest of gaps, he'll bulldoze his way through it with relative ease in a similar vein to Ingram - a self-proclaimed "Scottie Phillips fan." 

That being said, if you show him an outside lane, he has a solid burst of pace and the vision to exploit the space well - again, as he showed in the preseason.

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At 1-5 and with the season spiraling out of control, the Texans are already making roster moves with an eye to the future. So, what's holding Culley back from giving Phillips a chance?

Somehow, it appears the coach is content with the backs as they are.

"I do feel like the guys that have been playing for us at running back have been consistent," Culley said. "Up until this game here, we hadn't laid the ball on the ground at all at the running back position. And we had a couple this past game."

Given that the Texans rank dead last in yards per carry (3.3), perhaps Culley should reevaluate what he is demanding of his backs.

More importantly, this team is clearly looking to give its younger players a chance to shine - Look no further than the release of edge rusher Whitney Mercilus to allow the likes of Jonathan Greenard and Jacob Martin more time. 

Why is this clearly rebuilding team continuing to rely on veteran backs that have all seen better days, thus blocking the likes of Phillips to get some meaningful reps to see what he could be?

Said Culley, "To change things, you gotta change."

Well, it's time for a change at running back. Phillips deserves his chance.