Arian Foster was obviously a revelation last season.
The Texans had more of a belief in him heading into 2010 than I did. I thought pinning the hopes of their running game on him after two strong games at the end of 2009 was a more than a tad hopeful. And let’s face it: The Texans hardly stood pat, drafting Ben Tate in the second round.
But Tate got hurt and Foster exploded for 231 rushing yards in the season-opening win over the Colts, a number no one came close to matching all season. On a 6-10 team, Foster was consistently productive and wound up the league’s rushing leader.
Now the question is, does he suffer some sort of second-year (third-season) dip?
I believe he’s legit and have no concerns that he will endure any sort of major letdown.
Tight end Owen Daniels agrees.
“He won’t be a one-year wonder, we’re not going to let him do that,” Daniels said. “I think we’ve got a really good offensive line. Hopefully we have our fullback [Vonta Leach] coming back. There are a lot of people who work really hard for him up front.
“He made some good things happen at the end of his rookie year, and then we honestly, as silly as it might sound, all the players kind of expected him to have a great year just because we saw him work. We saw the potential from the year before. We knew if we could keep that guy healthy and give him some help ... Arian would be the man back there. We won’t let him have that second-year, quote unquote sophomore slump, even though it’s his third year. We won’t let that happen.”
Ernest Tolden of ESPN Stats & Information put together this chart for us looking at backs who led the league in rushing in their first or second season and how they did the next year.
Three -- George Rogers, Freeman McNeil and Edgerrin James were hurt in a follow-up season. But of the other seven, no one dropped more than six spots among the rushing leaders the following season.
That bodes well for Foster. So does the fact that the Texans should be a more competitive team with a revamped defense and an emphasis on finishing.