HOUSTON — Houston’s Arian Foster is one of the NFL’s top running backs.
However, running is only one part of his game that makes him so good.
The Texans raved this week about his blocking and receiving skills, and perhaps most importantly, his knowledge of the game.
“There’s nothing he can’t do,” offensive coordinator Rick Dennison said. “He catches the ball extremely well. He blocks very well. The little things, as far as seeing somebody, it’s almost like a chess move. He knows a couple moves ahead when a guy is coming so he doesn’t take a solid shot. One of the best things that you notice about runners is they don’t get hit really hard, and Arian does that very well.”
Houston has a pair of solid backup running backs, but they rarely go in because Foster is so valuable when he’s on the field.
“He understands everything we put him in,” Dennison said. “That’s why he’s on the field all the time.”
That fact is not lost on Foster, who aims to be indispensable.
“(I take) a lot of pride,” he said of doing many things well. “I try to be the most complete back I can because your value is higher, not just monetarily, but as a football player, is higher to your coaching staff and team if you can do all things well.”
Foster finished second in the AFC with 1,424 yards rushing in the regular season. He added a season-high 32 carries for 140 yards in Houston’s wild-card win over the Bengals to become the first player in NFL history to run for 100 yards or more in each of his first three career playoff games.
He also added eight receptions for 34 yards on Saturday.
“Whether he’s running or catching it, very rarely does the first person tackle him, and that creates big plays for your offense,” quarterback Matt Schaub said. “When you can dump it down to your running back if something’s not there downfield and he can turn a 3-yard catch into a 12, 15-yard gain, that’s a huge positive for us.”