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Arian Foster has not broke out onto the scene as one of the league's best running backs for no reason. He has all the qualities one looks for in an NFL running back: surprising speed, incredible vision, one-cut ability, impressive size and strength and a knack for making defenders miss.
Despite all of these important attributes, many have claimed that Foster is simply a product of the system, and that the Texans' excellent offensive line has made him into what he is today.
Much like the belief that Foster would not be able continue the success he garnered during his breakout year into the 2011 season due to the loss of Vonta Leach, it is believed that the losses of Mike Brisiel and Eric Winston will dramatically hinder the ability of Foster to play at a high level.
Although it is true that the offensive line should be considered and is one of the most concerning issues for the Texans, there are two reasons as to why this myth will not hold true.
One is that the likely replacements of Winston and Brisiel both have successful starting experience in the NFL. Antoine Caldwell and Rashad Butler have each filled in as starters on the Texans' offensive line on several occasions, and both have proven to be more than competent in Houston's zone-blocking offensive scheme.
Furthermore, while the loss of Brisiel certainly hurts, Winston was above and beyond the weakest link on the offensive line last season. Despite a stellar 2010 season, Winston struggled guarding his assignments in 2011; he accounted for the majority of initial contact to both Arian Foster and Ben Tate. Butler should be able to step in and at least match the level of play of the weakest member of the line last season.
Caldwell also is more than equipped for his task of replacing Brisiel. Caldwell has competed with Brisiel for the starting right guard position for the majority of his career, and he could have won it in several occasions if not for devastating and untimely injuries.
Finally, Foster is not the type of back whose season would be sent into shambles due to a turnover on the offensive line. His talent and abundance of skills should not allow for that, and this perennial Pro Bowler has the ability to succeed, even with a slightly worse offensive line.