With a nicked up running back duo of Lamar Miller (shoulder/ankle) and Alfred Blue (ribs), who both left in different portions of the game this past Sunday, an unlikely midseason addition turned out to be a brilliant move. Given the lingering injuries of the Texans starting backs and that Jonathan Grimes could not make the trip to to Jacksonville due to an illness, the Houston Texans signed Akeem Hunt off the practice squad.
Head coach Bill O’ Brien has watched Hunt all season while he was on the practice squad and liked what he saw leading to the team signing him to the active roster.
“He had a good game for us, good spark,” O’Brien said of Hunt. “Absolutely. He brings a lot of energy to the practice field, a lot of guys do. He’s definitely one of those guys that brings a lot of energy and he has a ton of fun playing football, whether it’s out on the practice field or playing in games.”
Hunt answered the call with 53 yards rushing on 8 carries, providing the Texans a much needed speed element to the offense. He also had a 32-yard gain negated due to a questionable holding call on Chris Clark which O’Brien described as “whatever that call was.”
“I thought he gave us a spark and that’s what we were looking for. I thought he had earned the right to be on the 53-man roster through his play on the look team, the scout team, and on the practice squad,” explained O’Brien. “I thought that he came in there and did a nice job for us.”
Now, the Texans have a log jam of running backs with five on the active roster including Miller, Blue, Hunt, Grimes, and rookie Tyler Ervin.
O’Brien tried to break down the decision-making process covering the running back position.
“How is that guy going to factor into special teams, unless it’s an offensive or defensive lineman?" said O’Brien. “The other thing we have to look at, whether it’s Jonathan Grimes or Lamar (Miller) or Alfred Blue, this is the time of year when those guys are banged up and they need a rest, they need somebody to be able to come in and play for them and help them. That was part of the decision, too.”
Hunt’s emergence at running back and solid contribution on special teams could be enough for the Texans to keep him on the active roster for the rest of the season.