NFL AM: Arian Foster Sidelined By Groin Injury


Arian Foster sidelined with groin injury:

Perhaps the worst possible scenario for the Houston Texans offense would be to lose Arian Foster. Outside of the best defensive player in the world, JJ Watt, Foster is as important to success in Houston as any player on the roster.

That nightmare scenario was realized early in Texans camp as Foster went down with a groin injury during Monday’s training camp practice. Worse yet, it looks like the injury will likely require surgery and land Foster on injured reserve with the designation that he can return.

On an offense with Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett as the options at quarterback, Foster would have been key to keeping the ball moving and the Texans offense on the field.

Groin injuries can be tricky in the NFL, but even more so at a position that requires as much quick twitch movement as the running back position. At 28, Foster is inching towards being a 30-year-old, a designation that often spells the end for an NFL back.

More troubling for the aging Foster is the fact that this isn’t his first groin issue for the tailback who’s missed 11 games over the last two seasons.

Given Foster’s age and the fact that he hasn’t been extremely durable over the last handful of years, it was a surprise the Texans weren’t more aggressive in adding depth to the running back position. Until Foster’s return, Houston’s depth chart at the tailback is very thin, and includes names like Alfred Blue, Chris Polk and Johnathan Grimes.

The Texans will work out former New Orleans Saints free agent tailback Pierre Thomas Wednesday. If Thomas can’t impress, other free agent options include former New York Giants and Indianapolis Colts back Ahmad Bradshaw and former Tennessee Titans and New York Jets back Chris Johnson.

Jaguars GM David Caldwell says Justin Blackmon’s career likely over:

Expectations were high when the Jacksonville Jaguars selected ultra-talented, physical, Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon with the fifth-overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, but issues with alcohol led to arrests and suspensions, and now it looks like it could cost Blackmon his entire NFL career.

While it’s difficult to feel sympathy for players who violent crime, it’s hard to call a situation where a player throws away such an opportunity because of substance abuse anything but sad.

Anyone who has seen the story of Blackmon’s relationship with Olivia Hamilton, a young girl who Blackmon wore a wrist band for during much of his college career, who is stricken with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, can see that Blackmon is a young man with a good heart.

While the Jaguars have tried to remain by the troubled receiver, a disconnect has Jaguars general manager David Caldwell unsure if we’ll ever see Blackmon return to the NFL.

According to Caldwell, the Jaguars have had no contact with Blackmon and he believes Blackmon’s almost two years away from the game make it likely that he’ll never be back.

“I have not heard anything and I guess I harbor a little bit of hope, but realistically I think when you’re away from the game for two and a half years, what you were once is not what you probably will be,” Caldwell told “Your skills do erode, and especially if you’re not staying in tip-top shape and you’re not in football shape.

“I don’t know what to expect, but I would say common sense would probably be if you haven’t played football in two and a half years, apparently that’s not a priority for you.”

Blackmon had 64 catches for 865 yards and 5-touchdowns his rookie season. It’s a shame that it will likely be the best year in what could have been a solid NFL career. Blackmon had all the tools on the field, but like so many didn’t have the discipline off the field to have a solid career.

Raiders to get creative with linebacker Khalil Mack:

To say the Oakland Raiders are happy with their 2014 draft class would be an understatement. Quarterback Derek Carr was successful enough during his rookie season that the fact that the team selected one of the most athletic and talented linebackers in the NFL earlier in the draft is often an afterthought. It shouldn’t be.

As excited as Raiders fans should be about Carr’s ability to lead the offense, they should be equally excited about the future of Khalil Mack. While the Raiders may still be a year or two from competing for a playoff spot with their two new cornerstones, Raiders fans won’t have to wait to see Oakland use Mack in many exciting ways.

The Raiders clearly see the immense talent that Mack is, and they’re going to use him to create havoc on opposing quarterbacks. While Mack wasn’t awful in coverage, you should expect to see him getting after the quarterback even more often in 2015, and to see Mack moved all over the defense to make it harder for offenses to key on him.

Raiders’ general manager Reggie McKenzie spoke before practice Monday and alluded to Mack’s ability to get pressure and the Raiders plans to use the second-year linebacker in multiple ways.

“He’s pretty dog-gone good getting after the quarterback,” McKenzie explained. “He’s really good going forward, and it’s an opportunity to do a lot of different things with him. They’re going to use Khalil in all kinds of ways. That’s the way it should be.

“He’s a dominant defensive player, so you want to let him do what he does best. We’ll move him around and play him at different spots. That was the outlook for the defensive staff this offseason, was to put him in position to make plays.”

The Raiders have been a punchline for a long time now, but with Carr running the offense and Mack patrolling the defense, the franchise might finally be ready to turn the corner into respectability.

Just in time for the team to move with all of its new stars, to Los Angeles. Sorry, Oakland.


About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.