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Bill O'Brien to fantasy footballers: If Arian Foster is healthy, Texans will run him

HOUSTON -- The highlight of practice Monday caused the offensive linemen to gallop toward the running back who usually takes the ball behind them.

Arian Foster reached up to grab the football with one hand, converting a third down during an 11-on-11 drill.

Foster has been available throughout organized team activities and he's attended all of the Texans' voluntary offseason programs. That wasn't the case last year, in part because he was recovering from back surgery in the fall. He still takes time to be stretched during practices, skipping some drills, but his availability on the field has been a boon for the Texans.

"He's been out there every day and it shows," O'Brien said. "We’ve been able to do some decent things on offense this spring. A lot of it has to do with him being out there."

Last season, Foster played 10 full games. He missed three due to injuries and missed parts of three others with injuries and still ranked seventh in rushing attempts with 260. Foster averaged 95.8 yards per game, second only to DeMarco Murray last season. As a whole, the Texans led the league in rushing attempts with 551.

"We ran the ball; we felt like that was our best way of winning last year," O'Brien said. "Playing good defense, run the football, don’t make a lot of mistakes on offense, try to be good on special teams.

"I think every year is different. I think when you look at our team this year, I think we have more depth on offense, especially at the receiver position, the tight end position and the running back position. I think you have two quarterbacks that are very familiar with our system as far as both pass and run, how to get us out of a bad play and into the right play. They really have a good understanding of it.

"I’m not sure what our team is right now in regards to what type of offense we will be. We are a game-plan offense, so what that means is when we play a certain team, let’s say we’re playing Jacksonville as opposed to playing Baltimore. Our game plan is going to be totally different based on what Jacksonville does versus what Baltimore does."

It was noted to O'Brien that those fantasy football players who have Foster on their teams would appreciate assurances that he'll be used as he has been in the past.

"Well, we have a very good running back," O'Brien said. "So you can rest assured that as long as he’s healthy and he’s out there, we will run the ball. I can tell you that. That’s one thing we will do."