- Tania Ganguli, ESPN Staff Writer
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Arian Foster didn't especially enjoy another reporter's question related to his workload last week.
"The thing about that is, when you’re a scatback, the knock on you is, ‘Oh, you can’t carry the load,’" Foster said. "But when you’re a workhorse it’s, ‘You’re getting too many carries.’ It’s like people just find things to talk about. I stopped listening. So sure, the workload’s big. I don’t really care, man. Whatever. I’m over it."
Historically, Foster's nonchalant tone about his workload is just about right. Geographically, you don't have to look far to see it. With the Oilers, Earl Campbell had 1,043 carries combined in 1978, 1979 and 1980. That wasn't even Campbell's highest three-year total, because he had 361 carries in 1981 following that hefty three-year span. From 1979 to 1981, Campbell had 1,102 rushing attempts in the regular season.
According to Elias, Foster's three-year total of 956, while high in the modern era, isn't even in the top 20 all-time for running back three-year carry totals.
Compared to active running backs, Foster's workload leads the way. Yesterday, I linked to a story by Sports Illustrated's Peter King, which included a chart illustrating just how many more carries Foster has than other running backs.
Michael Turner is second on the list with 857 carries, followed by Ray Rice, Chris Johnson and Steven Jackson, who are all within 10 carries of each other. Foster's 4.46 yards per carry are more than any of them as are his 41 touchdowns.
More than anything, those facts put together are a comment on how the league's offenses are changing.
And while the Texans need their running game to work, one of their major focuses in the offseason involved improving the passing game.