The Houston Texans scrambled to sign Akeem Hunt to the active roster as they get set to face the Jacksonville Jaguars, opening up their second half of the schedule.
The addition of Hunt leaves some questions on exactly why he was signed so quickly or, in this case, less than 24 hours before kickoff.
The Texans running backs are banged up even though both Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue were full participants in practice by the end of the week. Miller is dealing with a shoulder injury while Blue has a rib issue. Both of these players were injured in the game against the Denver Broncos in week 7.
Jonathan Grimes has been downgraded to OUT and did not make the trip to Jacksonville. The jack-of-all-trades back has been dealing with an illness all week, leaving the running back position short due to a lack of available depth and health.
The only healthy back is rookie Tyler Ervin, who may need to be used in different spots on the roster. Remember, the wide receiver group on the whole is banged up as well .
Jaelen Strong is set to miss close to a month with an ankle injury. Will Fuller is still not 100% and, despite reports that he practiced all week, which he did, it would be surprising if he can take a full load of snaps on Sunday.
The Texans will turn to their top receiver in DeAndre Hopkins and depend on Braxton Miller and Keith Mumphery to fill out the other wide receiver spots. If Fuller can stay on the field, that would be a plus but it is yet to be seen. The Texans season have used Ervin at the slot previously this season in certain spots and he is an above average pass catcher. Ervin can help the wide receiver position in a pinch if necessary.
This leads to where Hunt fits into the game day roster for Sunday.
Hunt’s speed will not be overlooked and it was last season against the Jaguars in week 17 that he had his best game of his career, averaging 13.8 yards per touch in a 30-6 win.
Hunt is much like Ervin and Grimes in terms of being able to help in multiple spots. If the receiver position is in question and Ervin has to help out in the receiving corps, Hunt would be able to take over for Ervin on kick off returns, as he has experience doing that for the Texans. A situational back for the offense, Hunt could fill the void left by Grimes in long situations offensively, in terms of distance (8+ yards). Hunt is a good match up back offensively but ,with Miller and Blue still set to get most of the work on offense, he will be a spot back, if that.
It appears he will have the chance to contribute on special teams and push players like Ervin, Mumphery, and Braxton Miller into more prominent rolls offensively on Sunday.
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