Steve Slaton (Getty Images)
The Texans have been one of the biggest disappointments in the NFL as there were playoff expectations for the team, both internally and externally, and they’ve delivered thus far with just three victories in their first 10 contests. If there has been one thing that’s gone right this year for the Texans it’s been the play of rookie running back Steve Slaton.
The Texans entered the season with question marks at running back as Ahman Green was nicked up as usual, and Chris Taylor was largely unproven. By necessity, third-round pick Steve Slaton was thrust into carries and he’s responded by getting better each and every week.
“We could have really had some serious, serious issues with (RB) Ahman (Green) missing some time,” said Texans head coach Gary Kubiak. “We would have kind of been back in the same boat we were last year. So, his progress is very encouraging for the football team.”
Slaton is the third leading rusher in the AFC and has 701 yards rushing on just 138 carries with six touchdowns. His 5.1 ypc. average is tied for second in the NFL behind the New York Giants’ Brandon Jacobs. He has added a dimension to the Texans offense that they’ve never really had since the franchise’s inception—enough running game to catapult a good passing game to the league’s top five.
“It’s been huge,” Kubiak explained. “I don’t know what we would have done from Week 2 on had he (RB Steve Slaton) not stepped to the plate and held up the way he’s held up.”
Steve Slaton has a combination of speed and power that most draft experts weren’t aware of when the Texans made him their third-round pick. Scout.com NFL Draft Expert Tom Marino had this to say about Slaton prior to the draft—
A patient runner with subtle moves, who showed the ability to read blocks and react (very good feel). Quicker then fast, although has the speed to get the corner. Liked his ability to see the backside cutback. Confident catcher who can adjust catch the ball down the field. Not as elusive as expected (more of a one cut and go guy, but judges distances well). Production has declined over the last three seasons which is a concern, but is a steady dependable back. Rd # 3.
Slaton has proven himself to be more than just a dependable back as he has shown speed and explosiveness as well as toughness in his rookie season.
“I just think what he’s (RB Steve Slaton) right now is pretty special,” said Texans head coach Gary Kubiak. “You get lulled to sleep sometime with these young guys and this kid what he’s done over the course of the last nine weeks, and I’ll be honest with you, you look up and he’s third in the AFC rushing and he’s in the top ten in the NFL. That’s hard to do. He’s just a hard worker and just a very classy kid. (He’s) got a very bright future.”