Foster aims to be factor in passing game

Houston Texans running back Arian Foster is looking forward to working with a new coaching staff and a new offense – and being healthy again.

Foster told the Houston Chronicle during a guest appearance at a bowling alley opening that he is appreciative of the former coaching staff because they gave him his start, but he’s eager to get immersed into coach Bill O’Brien’s offense.

"So far, I really like it," Foster told the Chronicle. "It’s very versatile.

"Coach O’Brien has expressed to me how he wants to use me out of the backfield. That’s one of my strengths."

Foster has been an effective receiver out of the backfield, catching 189 passes and averaging 9.1 yards per reception in his five-year career, but his receptions dropped to 40 in 2012 after he caught 66 and 53 passes in the previous two seasons. He caught just 22 passes in eight games last season.

Foster is excited about the possibility of being more involved in the passing game, which should allow him to approach the 1,800-yard mark in total offense in 2014 – provided he stays healthy. He battled through hamstring and calf injuries before a back injury landed him on the disabled list last season. Foster ran for just 542 yards in only eight games.

That is the biggest key for the Texans’ offense, especially since the quarterback situation is still an uncertainty. Whichever quarterback wins the job – and the favorite is probably journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick – will need a strong running game to be successful. The Texans no longer have insurance with Ben Tate, who signed with Cleveland.