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Texans Offseason Wish List: Find No. 1 RB

With the release of Phillip Lindsay, the Texans priority of adding a running back moves up

HOUSTON - Houston Texans coach David Culley said at his initial press conference that he wanted to expand the run game at NRG Stadium. Maybe that will happen in 2022. 

The Texans (2-8) released former Pro Bowl running back Phillip Lindsay Tuesday morning following his unsuccessful stint with the team. A former back-to-back 1,000-yard runner in Denver, the 26-year-old averaged a Houston-low 2.6 yards per carry and only managed 130 yards this season. 

Maybe Lindsay will rebound on a new roster. The Texans issues of instability on the ground, however, won't change. Lindsay's departure only furthers the narrative that Texans' general manager Nick Caserio needs to find a true top running back for 2022.

With Mark Ingram traded and Lindsay released, the bulk of the carries for the rest of this season will go to veteran journeyman Rex Burkhead. The long-term answer, however, likely won't come via free agency. 

Running backs have value in Houston based off Caserio's and Culley's track record. During his time in Baltimore, Culley watched the Ravens be one of the league's more run-heavy offenses, finishing top five in yards, yards per game and yards per play in two seasons. 

Look at Caserio's tenure with the New England Patriots: Bill Belichick and Tom Brady were the catalysts, but the duo was at itsr best with a strong rushing presence. 

New England (7-4) also looks to be a contender in 2021 with rookie QB Mac Jones at the helm. The reason? The Patriots are top 10 in total rushing yards and touchdowns entering December. 

Regression in veterans has been a narrative surrounding free agent running backs for years. Houston needs to make sure the look to the draft for a cost-affordable option in the backfield to pair with likely another veteran looking to rebound on a one-year deal. 

There isn't a first-round option for Houston at the No. 4 selection. Rounds 2 and 3? Take your pick, Nick. 

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Texas A&M's Isaiah Spiller seems to be the top option entering bowl season due to his vision and speed. A native of Klein, the Aggies running back very well could be a two-time 1,000-yard runner with strength between the trenches and home run speed. 

The same could be said of Michigan State's Kenneth Walker III. Since his arrival in East Lansing, the former Wake Forest starter has taken the Big 10 by storm, averaging 6.4 yards per carry and scoring 17 touchdowns on the ground. 

Other names could provide the spark needed on the ground as well. Iowa State's Breece Hall is known for power. BYU's Tyler Allgeier has the production with 31 touchdowns in two seasons. Notre Dame's Kyren Williams has straight line speed while both UTSA's Sincere McCormick and Oklahoma's Kennedy Brooks are considered a blend of both that could be found on Day 3. 

No of this will matter if Houston can't fix its offensive line. The Texans rank 32nd in yards per game (76.5) and yards per play (3.2). Only Atlanta (4), Minnesota (5) and the New York Jets (6) have the same or fewer touchdowns on the ground as well. 

Texans offensive line coach James Campen spoke of how the plan this season was to established a consistent offensive line. Maybe that comes with the addition of a new offensive guard or tackle. Don't worry, there's plenty of names early on that Houston could target to strengthen its trenches. 

The Texans need help at every position. Tyrod Taylor is not the answer at quarterback and for now, neither is rookie Davis Mills. Despite last week's shocking upset of the Titans, Houston isn't just "a QB away" from contending in the AFC. 

Priority needs to come fixing the defense and the offensive line until further notice. The only way for Caserio and Culley's vision to come to life is by win from the inside out.  

That starts with the offensive line. It follows with a stable option in the backfield. The good news? Houston has options to find one in April. 

And maybe one isn't enough.