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AFC South: Arian Foster leads the pack

The AFC South and the NFL have a number of great running backs, Jamaal Charles in Kansas City, Chris Johnson in Tennessee and Ray Rice in Baltimore, are just a few. However, the one rusher who might be better than any other is Arian Foster at Houston.

In today’s game, offenses are run off the arms of the quarterbacks. Never before has the passing game been so important in the NFL. No wonder, the 5,000 yard mark was finally broken last season by Drew Brees.

However, running backs like Foster in Houston help make the offense on teams better able to face the best of defenses and succeed. If a defense takes away the pass, then many offenses in the NFL would sputter, but if the defense knows they have to worry about the running game, then the passing game becomes even more effective.

Foster is in his fourth year from Tennessee. He is the prototype of an NFL running back he stands at 6’1” and weighs in at 228 pounds. Even though he carries 228 pounds, he still has speed and that is evidenced by the long 70 yards’ plus touchdown runs he has had the last two seasons.

His speed gives Foster the big play ability title after his name and helps separate a great running back from just a very good one. Not only is Foster fast and can get around the corner on a sweep, but he can also run between the tackles the entire game and run over both defensive linebackers and secondary players.

In 2011, Foster averaged more than 2.5 yards per carry after contact. That is a very important statistic amongst the dozens of statistics used to judge a running backs success. The after contact yardage tells opposing coaches the runner is always moving his legs, is balanced, not easily taken off his feet and always looks to move the chains.

Since the passing game is so important to today’s offenses, it is only logical that great running backs in today’s NFL also need to be great receivers out of the backfield. Foster is a great example of that. Not only does he give his quarterback Matt Schaub another target on pass plays, but also he gives the offense another dimension and creates yet another problem for the opposing defense.

This season Foster has 10 receptions out of the backfield for 60 yards and 1 touchdown. Over the past two seasons, Foster has averaged 60 receptions and more than 600 yards out of the backfield.

Durability is important for a running back and Foster for the most part has remained healthy. He sat out three games in 2011, but that is only three games in the last two seasons and the first five games of this season. He has averaged over 350 touches per season over the last two seasons and for him to only miss three games is a testament to his durability and conditioning.

This season the Texans are 5-0 and take on the Green Bay Packers this week. Thus far, in the season Foster is averaging 4.0 yards per carry and has 532 yards on 132 carries. If those numbers hold up throughout the season, Foster will end the season with 1,700 plus yards on 422 carries.

The Texans are one of only two undefeated teams in the NFL not just because their quarterback or defense. Foster one of, or the best runner in the game today, has a lot to say about the team’s success.

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