Texans Positional Outlook: RB Duke Johnson is the Only Sure Bet Heading into 2020
Patrick D. Starr
The Houston Texans running back position was tested before the start of the season after they lost their starter, Lamar Miller, for the season with a torn ACL in a preseason game.
The Texans running back group had their first 1,000-yard rusher in Carlos Hyde since 2014 and were able to put together a solid tandem for the 2019 season.
Here is a closer look at the Texans running back group.
Starter- Carlos Hyde (UFA)
Backups- Duke Johnson, Taiwan Jones (UFA), Lamar Miller (UFA), FB Cullen Gillaspia, RB Karan Higdon, Jr., RB Buddy Howell, Jr.
Starter Lamar Miller went down in the preseason with a torn ACL, and the Texans pulled off a trade for Carlos Hyde when the Chiefs came calling before the season started. Hyde rewarded the Texans with a 1,000-yard season on the ground.
Also, the Texans were able to pry away Duke Johnson from the Browns, and he rushed for a career-high in yards and slowly became one of the best options for the offense late in the season. Johnson is the only back under contract heading into next season outside of Cullen Gillaspia.
Taiwan Jones showed he could be a good option for the offense when given a chance outside of helping on special teams. Buddy Howell remains a special teams 'only' player for the Texans.
Outlook for the Running Backs Heading into 2020
The Texans have decisions to make with their 1st and 2nd down back, who they want to run between the tackles. Carlos Hyde was a better fit than Lamar Miller, who was injured before the start of the season. The back they end up choosing will be paired with Duke Johnson, who was added to help expand the offense.
Johnson is the only for sure bet to be in the backfield next season along with Cullen Gillaspia helping out in spots at fullback. Outside of that, the Texans have to find their best match for the position.
Karan Higdon, Jr. returns for the second season after having a strong ending to camp after injuring his knee during the draft process. He will have a chance to make an impression when OTAs arrives during the Summer.
Will the Texans sink money into Hyde and bring him back for the 2020 season to keep their offensive group intact or will they go back to their original starter in Miller who was a constant in the offense for the past three seasons?
The Texans could go a different direction all together away from Hyde and Miller but it will be a back that will be a fit with Johnson for 2020.
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