Houston Texans Cut
Two Three RB's, Sign Two RB's
There are words of wisdom correlating to certain levels of job security in the NFL.
You cut some, you sign some.
8:21 a.m. Overnight, the running back purge continued as the Texans released a third running back within just a few hours. This time, it was Houston native Tim Cornett, who was a Houston Texan for all of two weeks. (At least Cornett got to visit his family for free for the last several days. That's something.)
There are few players, especially in the non-guaranteed world of NFL contracts, that can settle down and buy a home in the city in which they play. "Rent, don't buy" is how the old saying goes. Then there are players who are in for their first training camp, perhaps un-drafted or drafted in the later rounds, and to them I say "Hotel room, don't rent."
But the 2014 Texans are taking job insecurity to new levels, so much so that my advice to any player signed during training would be "Pitch a tent outside NRG Stadium and just camp out."
Also, "Download Uber. Easiest ride to the airport for when they waive you."
And in a preseason in which the Texans have conducted player transactions nearly twenty times already, it happened again on Monday.
This time, it's goodbye to two running backs, Andre Brown and Dennis Johnson (again), both of whom hopefully downloaded Uber.
The writing for these moves began being scribbled on the wall on Saturday night during the 32-0 thrashing at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals, when Brown got literally no action in that game and Johnson had one carry for -2 yards and a missed blitz pickup that almost sent rookie quarterback Tom Savage to the hospital.
Both players had been surpassed on the depth chart by Jonathan Grimes, who got the start on Saturday and ran for 39 yards on 10 carries, and rookie sixth round pick Alfred Blue, who had 30 yards on five carries and has looked very much like he belongs in the NFL throughout camp.
(Point of "calling my shot" -- I've been adamant since the first week of training camp that Alfred Blue should get the "Ben Tate carries," which is my way of saying that he should get the ten or so carries each game that don't go to Arian Foster.)
Brown was brought in as a low risk, low cost free agent, having spent the last couple years with the Giants and rushing for a combined 876 yards in 2012 and 2013, including a couple of 100 yard games. He began the preseason number two on the depth chart, but disappeared Saturday.
Monday, he was gone.
Johnson was on his second go round with the Texans, having shown some flashes in camp last season, flashes that were cancelled out by real difficulty holding onto the football. He wound up on Cleveland's practice squad before returning to the Texans late in the 2013 season, including a start in Week 16 against the Broncos.
Monday, he was gone, too.
If Saturday was the beginning of the writing on the wall for Brown and Johnson, the script was essentially finished Monday afternoon when the Texans brought in three running backs for tryouts....
Texans today work out 3 free agent running backs: Brian Leonard, William Powell and Ronnie Brown.— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) August 11, 2014
They wound up signing two, inking Powell and Brown to deals. Powell is a native Houstonian who played collegiately at Kansas State and signed as an undrafted free agent with Arizona in 2011, and ran for 216 yards in 2012 for the Cardinals. Brown was the second overall pick in the 2005 draft (back when teams drafted running backs in the first round), and was a Pro Bowler in 2008. For his career, Brown has rushed for 5,328 yards and 38 touchdowns in 122 career games.
My advice to Powell and Brown? Don't get too comfortable. The transaction guillotine has a funny way of coming back around with these Texans.