A Star Born Before Our Eyes?
Unless you’re either a Longhorns fan, Rams fan, or a resident of Missouri City, you’ve probably never heard the name Chris Ogbonnaya; or even had to try and pronounce his last name. The old saying is that in sports, you’re always one play away from being the starter, and that it only takes one play to lose your starting position, as Mark Belanger will tell you after a random upstart minor leaguer named Cal Ripken Jr. took his starting position and never gave it back. When the Texans struggled in the 2008 season I was one of the few people advocating giving the starting job to Sage Rosenfels after Matt Schaub returned from his shoulder injury solely on the fact that he left everything on the field and was more ready to win games and, to me, played his heart out and putting forth more of an effort than what I had ever seen from Matt Schaub, at that time. With that said, this is nowhere similar to that case, yet i think it is more similar to the situation of the Patriots having Matt Cassel shine when Tom Brady went down with the injury in week one, normally, most teams aren’t equipped with four players at the running back position and most teams do not have to go down deep into their depth chart unless they’re in the 4th quarter of a blow out. The Texans had Arian Foster, Ben Tate, and Steve Slaton out with a hamstring injury, putting Chris Ogbonnaya on center stage getting after Derrick Ward suffered a concussion that night.
Even though we are running thin at the position due to all these sudden injuries, there is no lack of talent at this position, and if there is one positive thing to take from this slump and rash of injuries: if we ever get in this sort of crisis in the regular season, we might not skip a beat talent wise. Running backs are a short lived commodity whose careers do not last very long, and primes are even shorter, and Dallas will vouch for that in that their supposed star running back Marion Barber was released, only to be signed by Chicago, but in Marion’s defense, his style of running back, a runner who runs to contact and battles for yardage, does not last very long, especially in the National Football League. Ogbonnaya displayed toughness and grit when left as the only available running back, recent signee Javaris Williams was healthy but not fully familiarized with the plays, despite only averaging two yards a carry, Ogbie scored both of the Texans’ touchdowns and made some great catches. Despite being the potential fourth string running back, he has more than certainly earned his roster spot and I would devastated if he were to be cut, I know a smart team will pick him up and utilize him.
Now that Arian is back working out in camp, it’ll be a great opportunity for the coaches to look at the combination of Ogbonnaya and Foster as a one-two punch, or possibly a triple threat with Slaton, but i cannot get too far ahead of myself as we still have Ben Tate and possibly Derrick Wade depending on his recovery from the concussion. Overall, I am content with the offense in the first preseason game, and am looking forward to see improvement next week against the Saints.
– Richard Perez
Written for ToroTimes.com