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Tag:Ben Tate
Posted on: October 2, 2011 11:25 am
 

With Thomas out, Slaton will get a chance

SlatonPosted by Josh Katzowitz

With Dolphins running back Daniel Thomas out with a bad hamstring for today’s game in San Diego, it seems like some pretty good foresight from Miami to have signed the recently-released Texans running back Steve Slaton. Though Slaton was done in Houston, stuck behind Arian Foster, Ben Tate and Derrick Ward, he still has promise.

In his 2008 rookie season, he rushed for 1,282 yards and nine touchdowns, and though he’s been limited the past few seasons because of injuries (and because of Foster’s production in Houston), the Dolphins obviously saw something they liked in Thomas (perhaps to the detriment of current Dolphins back Reggie Bush?).

What they liked, well, coach Tony Sparano isn’t sure yet. He’s only seen him practice twice, after all.

“I see a young player that has good upside and I think that’s a good quality to have here at that position," Sparano said, via the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

After a slow start to the season -- he missed the season opener because of the same hamstring injury -- Thomas has rushed for 202 yards in the past two games, and he’s shown why Miami thought highly enough of him to take him in the second round of the 2011 draft. Sparano has said Bush is still his No. 1 guy, but Slaton, if he’s feeling healthy, could make a mark as well.

"Since my rookie year," Slaton said. "I feel about the same."

By that, he means he feels good. But with the absence of Thomas and cornerback Vontae Davis, who will miss his second-straight game with a hamstring injury, the Dolphins will have a tough time traveling to San Diego to face the Chargers. Even with a newly-charged Slaton in the lineup.

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Posted on: September 27, 2011 4:36 pm
 

Texans waive Steve Slaton

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The man most lost in the shuffle in the Texans running back room will no longer have to worry about trying to beat out Arian Foster, Ben Tate and Derrick Ward for playing time.

SlatonThat’s because, as the Houston Chronicle’s John McClain reports, Steve Slaton has been waived.

On the season, Slaton had seven carries for 20 yards, and despite injuries to Foster and Ward, the Texans didn’t feel it was necessary to play their fourth-string running back. Although Slaton had a tremendous rookie year in 2008 (268 carries for 1,282 yards and nine touchdowns), he’s fought injury problems and neck surgery.

Then, with the emergence of Foster last season, the need for Slaton to take the majority of the carries was extinguished. According to McClain, Chris Ogbonnaya was signed off the practice squad to take Slaton’s place and Foster should be ready to start this Sunday.

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Posted on: September 25, 2011 11:54 am
 

Arian Foster, Derrick Ward out Sunday for Texans

Posted by Will Brinson

Arian Foster, defending rushing title champion and would-be starter for the Texans, will have his hamstring scrutinized for another seven days after missing Sunday's matchup against the Saints.

Foster is officially out as of 11:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, meaning that Ben Tate will get the carries for the Texans, with Steve Slaton backing him up as Derrick Ward is also inactive for Sunday's contest.

Foster's absence is a good thing, if only because the Texans absolutely need to let him get to 100 percent this season before giving him any more carries. They're 2-0, the AFC South is absolutely anemic and even a game against the Saints suddenly doesn't hold the pressure that it might have if 2011 hadn't gone bananas for their division.

Would Foster help them attack the Saints defense? Absolutely. But more important right now is making sure that Foster's hamstring gets completely healed.

The Texans need him for the long haul and Tate's doing a fine job filling in for the moment, so there's no reason not to ride him.


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Posted on: September 23, 2011 11:09 pm
 

Foster will be a game-day decision vs. Saints

FosterPosted by Josh Katzowitz

If Arian Foster isn’t healthy, he won’t play Sunday vs. the Saints. That’s the line, anyway, from Texans coach Gary Kubiak who said Friday that the team won’t make the decision on Foster until just before the game.

“We need Arian, as I tell you all the time," Kubiak said, via the Houston Chronicle. "We need to have all our best players on the field. But at the same time we're listening to Arian, listening to the doctors, and we'll come up with the best decision for the football team on Sunday.

"He's had good work this week but we've limited him a little bit so as not to over-load him, and we'll see how he responds."

Foster has been a nightmare for fantasy football users -- and you people are sick for even thinking so; and well, NFL.com is kind of sick for using this ad. He was inactive the first week, but after playing in the first half of Week 2, he pulled himself out of the game when his hamstring tightened. Foster said earlier this week that his hamstring felt better, but Ben Tate also likely will get the start this Sunday.

On Friday, Foster greeted reporters by saying, “I feel wonderful today.” Then, he went on to say: “I'm not sure how to gauge progress anymore. It's tough. It's more mental than anything. It's not something you can really push through (and) play with. You've got to be patient. But I'm working hard and it feels like it's coming along. I'll keep fighting the good fight."

And all his fantasy owners fans will be watching with great interest.

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Posted on: September 22, 2011 2:41 pm
 

Ben Tate likely starter for Texans Sunday

Posted by Will Brinson

The saga of Arian Foster's injured hamstring continues this week, as the breakout star from 2010 sat out of practice again on Wednesday. Joining him on the DNP list was Derrick Ward, who's dealing with an ankle injury.

Which means it's looking more and more like Ben Tate, who's been breaking out in his own right this season, will be the starter for Sunday's game in New Orleans. Texans coach Gary Kubiak wouldn't confirm who's a go, but said the team's prepared to roll with just two running backs.

"Yeah, I think it is [too early to name a starter]," Kubiak said Wednesday. "Arian didn’t practice, but he worked real hard. We’re putting him through a program. It may be a routine right now on Wednesdays. We’ll see where he’s at, but obviously we’ve got two guys unless we would do something with [Chris] Ogbonnaya. You can play a game with two guys.

"You don’t like two. You’d like to suit up three, but we’ll see. We’ll see where Arian’s at."

The second back, of course, would be Steve Slaton, the former star back for Houston who logged two carries for 12 yards and a reception for six yards on Sunday in Miami.

This harkens back to what we said earlier in the week when discussing Foster's re-aggravation of his hamstring injury. The Texans and Foster continued to talk about making sure that Foster's fully healed before getting back on the field, and yet somehow failed to ensure that when he suited up against the Dolphins.

That was a game in which the Texans won handily, and it wasn't even necessary for Foster to take snaps if he wasn't 100 percent. In fact, having him get an extra week of rest for the Saints matchup seems like, with the benefit of my super-human 20/20 vision, like the prudent move.

It's too late for that, but getting Foster back to full health should still be the goal, which is why you can expect to see a healthy dose of Tate come Sunday.

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Posted on: September 22, 2011 11:04 am
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Biggest surprises

Wade Phillips has revitalized Houston's defense (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Every year, it’s easy to predict how some teams and players will perform. For instance, this year it was easy to see that the Patriots were going to be awesome, the Colts were going to struggle without Peyton Manning, and some unheralded running back somewhere would surprise everyone with his fantastic performances (Houston’s Ben Tate for example, playing in place of last year’s unheralded/awesome running back Arian Foster).

But, as always, there have been some major surprises through the first two weeks that virtually nobody could see coming. Which is why we follow sports (and the NFL, in particular) in the first place. It’d be boring if we knew everything. But the fact we didn’t know just HOW terrible the Colts would be without Manning is what makes watching pro football a good time.

Therefore, this week, we introduce the Top 10 with a Twist list of the players and teams who have surprised us the most in the first two weeks of the season. No Tom Brady mentions in here. Instead, we give you Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jimmy Clausen's replacement.

10. Redskins: Remember how we all laughed at Rex Grossman when he proclaimed he thought that Washington would win the NFC East? Well, look at which squad is at the top of that division. That would be the Redskins at 2-0, ahead of the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys. It’s because Grossman has played well, running back Tim Hightower has had a resurgence and the Redskins rank No. 6 in points allowed (they were No. 21 last season). Hey, maybe, in addition to being a pretty decent quarterback, Grossman is quite the soothsayer. 

9. Dunta Robinson: I have to admit that I was shocked that the NFL fined the Falcons cornerback only $40,000 after his egregious case of head-hunting against Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin last Sunday night. You’ll recall Robinson was fined $50,000 the first time he was caught head-hunting last season (that figure was reduced to $25,000), and though the NFL will say this case was different and less severe, I don’t buy it. We called on the NFL to suspend Robinson, and I didn’t think we’d see that. But I didn’t think we’d see less of a punishment than the first time he went helmet to helmet. Though we live in a time when Roger Goodell’s disciplinary decisions oftentimes don’t make sense, this was a shocker.

8. Bills: It’s only been a few years since the Bills started a season 2-0, but could you tell me the last time Buffalo started the season 2-0 and then finished with a winning record? You’d have to go all the way back to 1996, so obviously, the Bills aren’t going to start celebrating anything quite yet. But the way quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick continues to play (which, in itself, is a shocker) and the way running back Fred Jackson continues to pile up yards and the way coach Chan Gailey continues to turn around this team, it’s well … a little surprising. And it’s gotten them into first place in the AFC East (well, they’re tied with the Jets and the Patriots, but the Bills alphabetically are at the top of the division, so there’s that).

Johnson7. Kenny Britt: Yes, we knew Kenny Britt had talent, but we didn’t know he’d explode like this after his rather interesting offseason. So far, he’s recorded 14 catches for 271 yards and three touchdowns, and considering, in his best season before this one, he totaled 42 receptions and 775 yards, this is looking like a breakout year for him. Now if he only can stop getting arrested in the offseason …

6. Chris Johnson: You might find this selection strange, considering I placed Johnson in last week’s list -- the top-10 candidates for comeback player of the year. But after a Week 1 in which he was underused (only nine carries), Johnson ran for 53 yards on 24 chances last week. Which means that for a player whose stated goal is to break the 2,000-yard mark again hasn’t even cracked the 100-yard mark for the entire season. Considering he just signed a $54 million contract, his output has been rather disappointing. Maybe we shouldn’t have been so surprised. Johnson did, after all, hold out from training camp. But Johnson has been so good in his career, the fact he’s been so underwhelming is a little off-putting.

5. Chiefs: How do you go from winning the AFC West crown to being absolutely horrible the next year? How do you go from being pretty decent last year to being absolutely atrocious now? Some injuries (Tony Moeaki, Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry), some in-fighting between general manager Scott Pioli and coach Todd Haley (supposedly) and some brutal defense. Whatever the cause, Kansas City has been outscored 89-10 combined by the Bills and the Lions. Considering the Packers, the Steelers, the Chargers (twice), the Patriots, the Bears and the Jets still are on the schedule, the Chiefs might be in for a colonoscopy of a year.

4. Cam Newton: People were split about how Newton would affect the Panthers this season. Some thought he’d be terrible (I’m guilty, as charged). Some thought he would excite the masses in Charlotte with his on-field play and his off-field charisma. But nobody really knew for sure. Remember, about a month ago, we thought Jimmy Clausen might beat out Newton for the starting job (gosh, we were so naïve back then, eh?). But even those who thought he’d be a solid quarterback have to be taken aback by these numbers: a 62.7 completion percentage, 854 passing yards, three scores (we’ll ignore the four interceptions so far) and the record for most passing yards in a pro debut and most passing yards by a rookie. Sure, the Panthers are 0-2, but Newton has been pretty incredible.

3. Bill Belichick: Who would have guessed the Patriots coach would ever allow anybody to film his life for a documentary? The first episode of A Football Life: Bill Belichick on NFL Network was an interesting look at the best coach in the league and what he’s like in the meeting room, the locker room and, interestingly enough, on a boat in Nantucket. Belichick comes off like a cold-blooded SOB around the media, but in this documentary -- the second part of which will air Thursday, and supposedly, he really shows his emotions in that episode -- you can see the guy is actually human. And considering Belichick would be the 32nd NFL coach who I ever believed would agree to something like this, it’s a pleasant surprise.

2. Faking injuries: Did anybody think this stuff wasn’t happening before? Just because Deon Grant might have been faking an injury to slow down the Rams’ no-huddle, hurry-up offense  last Sunday (Grant, by the way, takes GREAT offense that you’d even think so), that’s not to say this tactic hasn’t been used for many, many years. It has; it’s usually just not so obvious. In fact, you can read this brief article from the NY Times in which the Bengals ask the league to look at players faking injuries. That article, by the way, is from 1989.

1. Wade Phillips: He wasn’t the most-respected head coach (I think the second season of Hard Knocks with the Cowboys gave the impression he was kind of a bumbling Texan who let people walk all over him), but as a defensive coordinator, he’s done a wonderful job in Houston. Since changing Gary Kubiak’s defense to a 3-4 and since the team signed Danieal Manning and Johnathan Joseph in the secondary, Phillips has helped Houston become the top defense in the league, allowing 10 points and 271 yards per game (both rank No. 1 in the NFL). Who would have thought that after last season when the Texans secondary was burned in just about every game they played? Phillips, though he might never get another head coaching job, is saving somebody else’s job right now. We knew Phillips would be good. We didn’t think he’d be this good, this soon.

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Posted on: September 19, 2011 10:05 am
Edited on: September 19, 2011 10:06 am
 

Arian Foster on hamstring: 'I pulled myself out'

Posted by Will Brinson

Arian Foster spent much of the second half of Houston's 23-13 win in Miami on the sidelines, as Ben Tate piled up the rushing yardage for the Texans.

That's because Foster re-aggravated the left hamstring injury that's been bothering him since the preseason, which led to some worry that he'd returned too soon, although Foster insists he was just being precautionary.

"I pulled myself out because I felt it getting a little tight," Foster said, calling it a tough decision to do so. "But I have to realize that it's only Game 2," he added. "It's a long season, so I have to get healthy."

The biggest issue for anyone that wants to see Foster going full-force is that the Texans handily defeated the Dolphins -- that the score was even remotely close is more a byproduct of Johnathan Joseph missing a couple series -- he later returned to the game with an ankle injury -- in which Miami was able to stumble upon some offense.

It seems like Houston could have probably rested him another week and not skipped a beat, given that Ben Tate became just the 11th player in NFL history to start his career with back-to-back 100-yard games.

"[Foster] obviously wasn't himself and he got pretty fatigued," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "He wanted to play in the second half but when he told me he felt a little tight in the locker room, I said, 'That's it.'"

And so Kubiak gave Tate the rock, and Tate responded just fine, piling up 103 rushing yards on 23 carries and melting off enough of the clock to preserve a win for Houston.

Don't be surprised, then, if Foster sits this coming week. And maybe the next week after that, depending on how healthy his hamstring is. If it's anything less than 100 percent, he shouldn't be out there for a team that, as we've mentioned, as a free pass to a division title and just needs to avoid doing anything stupid.

Meanwhile, let's not forget that Kubiak is a Mike Shanahan disciple -- it's not like he's scared to have a previously unknown running back step into his system, perform well and turn into a feature back that can carry the team going forward.

Just ask Arian Foster.


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Posted on: September 11, 2011 2:50 pm
 

Texans manhandling the Colts

K. Collins stares at the scoreboard that says Houston is dominating Indianapolis (AP).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

If you thought that Peyton Manning not playing today following neck surgery wouldn’t be THAT big a deal and if you thought the Texans making Arian Foster inactive would hurt their offense, let me point you in the direction of this boxscore.

Yes, that would be Houston 34, Indianapolis 0 after two quarters of play -- the worst halftime deficit in Colts history.

Now, obviously, Manning would have no impact on the Colts atrocious defense (Texans quarterback Matt Schaub is 12 of 16 for 162 yards, a touchdown and an interception; Andre Johnson has six catches for 89 yards and a score; and running backs Ben Tate and Derrick Ward have combined for 100 yards on 21 carries).

But with Kerry Collins in charge of the offense, the Colts have gained 88 yards of total offense. You can almost be assured that Manning would perform better than that, even against Houston defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ new 3-4 defense.

To make matters worse, Collins injured his finger in the first half, but after getting it popped back into place, he stayed on the field. But even if he remained on the sideline for the second half, it’s not like Curtis Painter could do much worse.

As for the Colts defense, wow … that’s a big problem. And if Manning is out for the season with his neck problem, this first half could be a sign of bad, bad things to come for a franchise that has been so good since drafting Manning.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com