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Why'd Texans Cut Pro Bowl RB Phillip Lindsay?

With the lack of production and other names improving, the Texans elected to release two-time 1,000-yard runner Phillip Lindsay.

HOUSTON - The Houston Texans have a plan to expand the run game following the release of Phillip Lindsay. His name? Scottie Phillips

Lindsay was released Tuesday by the Texans (2-8) after a sluggish start through the first 10 games of the season. Despite being a former Pro Bowl back and two-time 1,000-yard runner with the Denver Broncos, Lindsay, 27, was on pace for a career-worst season in Houston. 

Texans coach David Culley said that with Phillips set to return from the injured reserve, the team felt comfortable waiving the veteran running back to allow him to pursue other avenues to close out the 2021 season. 

“We’re top-heavy right there with guys,” Culley said. “We’ve got Scottie coming back at some point. We just felt like it was best for us and for Phillip for us to make the move.”

Lindsay ran for 130 yards and a touchdown in 50 attempts this season. He averaged a career-low 2.6 yards per play and only finished only one game with more than 30 rushing yards. 

Last week in the team's 22-13 win over the Tennessee Titans, Lindsay played two snaps and only carried the ball once of a loss of three yards. The Texans managed to pick up 80 yards on the ground behind the likes of David Johnson, Rex Burkhead and mobile quarterback Tyrod Taylor.  

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"We were better last week, weren’t where we needed to be, but we just need to be better at that," Culley said. "I think now we are doing things more, as I mentioned coming out of the bye week, we are doing things more that suits what we do upfront and what our backs do.”

Phillips was a preseason favorite to make the roster due to his growth, but only has been active for two games this season. He suffered a leg injury in the 17-9 loss to the Miami Dolphins after recording one carry for two yards. He is not eligible to return until Nov. 30, but could be activated for the Dec. 5 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts. 

The Texans for now will likely call on veteran Royce Freeman to take over as the No. 3 option. A former third-round pick from Oregon, Freeman has recorded 1,264 yards and eight touchdowns in three seasons with Denver. 

“He’s got good vision,” offensive coordinator Tim Kelly said. “He’s got good patience. Runs hard. Obviously we haven’t seen him here in a lot of situations. But going against our defense he’s done a good job of giving us looks. He’s been smart and diligent in how he prepares and the amount of time we spend on the offense. Been very impressed with him so far.” 

The Texans return home Sunday to take on the New York Jets (2-8) at noon.