Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien is still entertaining high hopes for his backfield in the wake of Lamar Miller’s season-ending injury.
“I think if you look at our running back situation right now, we have a good situation,” O’Brien said. “I think adding Duke Johnson was a good move. He’s been good in the meeting room, in practice, very professional attitude.
“We’ll see what happens. Anything can happen.”
His optimistic attitude notwithstanding, O’Brien saw Miller sustain a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee during Saturday’s preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys. Houston officially placed Miller on injured reserve on Monday afternoon.
Recent trade acquisition Duke Johnson is expected to see an increased workload for the Texans, who released fellow running back D’Onta Foreman on Aug. 4.
Johnson was acquired from the Cleveland Browns for a conditional draft pick earlier this month, with the selection becoming a third-rounder if the 25-year-old is active for at least 10 games.
“I wouldn’t call him a third-down back,” O’Brien said of Johnson. “I think that he’s a sub-back in some things that he does because that’s how he’s been used in the past. I think with us he’ll be used in a lot of different ways, and he’s had a lot of snaps. He’s been out there playing a lot.
“… I don’t think it’ll be him exclusively. We’ve got a lot of other guys at that position that we can mix and match with.”
Johnson, Cleveland’s third-round pick in 2015, spent four seasons with the Browns. He totaled 3,456 yards from scrimmage along with eight receiving and five rushing touchdowns.
The Texans also have running backs Taiwan Jones, Karan Higdon, Buddy Howell, Damarea Crockett, Josh Ferguson and Cullen Gillaspia on the roster.