While fans are torn on the signing of Arian Foster, all of us figure Arian Foster will carry the ball until he breaks down. We are so used to seeing him be counted on as the lone feature back it is foreign to think of him as anything else.
Arian Foster certainly didn’t come to Miami with the idea of being in a support role in the unproven stable of running backs. After all he has stated that he saw Miami as the best place to rebound for his career and probably made that assumption by looking at Miami’s depth chart. He wouldn’t be the great player that he is if he didn’t think he could win the starting job outright.
But now that he has signed in Miami nothing is keeping Adam Gase from putting Arian Foster on a pitch count. Yes the Dolphins are essentially renting Fosters services and who doesn’t lean a little heavier on the gas pedal and turn the speakers up a little louder in a rental car?
But 16 games is a long distance and the Dolphins will benefit greatly from having him in all 16 games, even in a role that doesn’t have him carrying the ball 20 times a game. Foster has jumped out of the gate to a great start in training camp and has told the media he physically feels great.
Coach Gase is liking how “smooth” Foster has been running which is a good sign for Foster. He has always appeared to be gliding on the field as if he has feathers under his feet and makes sudden sharp cuts and changes of direction to go along with his great field vision.
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While pictures of him making a one handed touchdown grab in the end zone in practice today have circulated the internet I remembered how phenomenal he is when he is healthy. So instead of seeing if he can be the feature back this season a strategy moving forward could be to limit his snaps and touches while allowing to Coach Gase to see if Ajayi can be the go to guy of the future.
Foster is a proven veteran who can be trusted to pass block and has demonstrated good hands throughout his career. He has also had an extensive injury history but unlike his time in Houston where they benefited from his feature back ability and paid him accordingly, he is paid a lot less here in Miami and therefore can be reasonably expected to have a reduced role.
Of course if Foster could play more it would be great, but the thing about injuries in the NFL is they are most often sudden, and the best way to reduce the risk for Foster is to limit his touches and consider a reduced role or a snap count. Having Foster get 16 games with 10 touches a game is better than 8 games with 20 touches per game. Of course those numbers are hypothetical but it’s the principal that matters.