HOUSTON (AP) — D’Onta Foreman’s performance through Houston’s first two preseason games has many raving about the rookie.
Texans coach Bill O’Brien is not among them.
“That’s the second preseason game … he’s got a lot of talent, but I think he’s got a long way to go,” O’Brien said.
While O’Brien was careful not to heap too much praise upon the running back so early, it’s hard to deny that he’s been one of the most impressive performers for the Texans so far.
The third-round pick from Texas ran for 76 yards in the first preseason game before grabbing two receptions for 66 yards and rushing for a 4-yard touchdown on Saturday against the Patriots.
A highlight against New England came when he caught a short pass from fellow rookie Deshaun Watson and broke several tackles before rumbling for a 63-yard gain that set up a touchdown by Watson.
With that 63-yard reception and a 41-yard run in the first preseason game, Foreman has the longest run and the longest reception by a Texan in the preseason.
Despite his early success, Foreman knows that he needs to do much more if he hopes to contribute this season. He was asked what area he needs to improve on most.
“I would say everything,” he said. “I can never be complacent. I can always get better in every aspect of the game. I did some things well, but I feel like I can pick some of my holes better (and) I feel like I can protect the ball better. Sometimes I was kind of loose with that … I feel like there’s always things I can fix.”
Foreman joined the Texans after rushing for 2,028 yards with 15 touchdowns as a junior for the Longhorns last season to win the Doak Walker Award given to the country’s best running back.
He joined a backfield which features Lamar Miller, who ran for 1,073 yards last season. While Miller is entrenched as the starter, Foreman could be a nice change of pace back to take some of the load off Miller after he was sixth in the NFL with a career-high 268 carries last year.
Miller likes what he’s seen from Foreman so far.
“He’s been doing a great job getting adjusted to the NFL (and) … learning his assignments and just going out there and playing fast,” Miller said. “I think he’s been doing a great job in practice and … he just has to keep getting better.”
Foreman has already learned a lot not only from Miller, but also from fourth-year pro Alfred Blue and said the bond among the running backs has been growing since he arrived.
“Funny guys. Lot of funny guys. But it’s great,” Foreman said. “I learn from those guys every day and they teach me a lot. Great chemistry. I talk to those guys about everything. We’re always laughing and joking. They’re great guys.”
Foreman is sure to get a lot of work in Houston’s last two preseason games, and while O’Brien isn’t overly complimentary of the rookie, he certainly sees the potential in the 21-year-old.
“If he continues to work hard and learn and pay attention in the meetings and do all the things that we’re asking him to do … I think that he’ll be a good player. But I think this is just one step along the way and hopefully it continues.”