In an effort to bolster depth in their backfield, the Houston Texans have agreed to terms with free-agent running backs Ronnie Brown and William Powell as of Monday, Aug. 11.
Fox 26's Mark Berman reported the news, and also highlighted the transactions from earlier in the day that led to the moves:
Texans agreed to terms with running backs Ronnie Brown and William Powell.— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) August 12, 2014
Texans have released running backs Andre Brown, Dennis Johnson and Tim Cornett— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) August 12, 2014
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle offered an overview of the personnel who will try to give the Texans offense a spark:
Ronnie Brown and William Powell join RBs Arian Foster, Jonathan Grimes and Alfred Blue on roster.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) August 12, 2014
Rotoworld's Josh Norris weighed in on Brown's signing:
Dennis Johnson being cut in favor of Ronnie Brown is… discouraging.— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) August 12, 2014
Back during a time when it was cool to draft running backs with a high pick, before their shelf lives became shorter by the year, Brown was the No. 2 overall selection in the 2005 draft. That seems blasphemous nowadays, and Brown, 32, has produced just one season of 1,000 yards or better in nine years as a pro.
How will the Texans finish in the AFC South in 2014?
In his most recent stint with the San Diego Chargers, Brown had 157 yards on 45 carries in 2013, scoring one touchdown, and he caught eight passes for 60 yards. What's more, he played in all 16 regular-season games for the fourth time in his career.
To say Brown has little left in the tank might be an understatement.
With regard to Powell, he is a former undrafted free agent who entered the league in 2011. The only year Powell stuck in the NFL was with the Cardinals during the 2012 campaign, when he averaged 3.6 yards a pop on 60 carries and had 19 receptions for 132 yards. Powell has never scored an NFL touchdown.
Brown and Powell don't exactly seem like "big splash" signings. In light of how poorly Houston performed in Saturday's 32-0 preseason opening loss to the Arizona Cardinals, though, Houston general manager Rick Smith must believe his team needs any help on offense it can get.
"We're all in this together," said first-year head coach Bill O'Brien said after the game, per CBSSports.com's Ryan Wilson. "As a team, nobody played well. Nobody coached well. It was bad football."
Not exactly the most encouraging of starts for the franchise that held the No. 1 overall pick in the most recent NFL draft.
Journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is operating a O'Brien's complex offense. All-Pro running back Arian Foster is coming off back surgery, and the depth behind him is shabby at best since Ben Tate left for Cleveland in free agency.
If Foster can return to form and be the all-purpose back the Texans have come to know expect, perhaps that in combination with a stout defense can help Houston manufacture more wins than expected. More likely, though, the acquisitions of both Brown and Powell become inconsequential, with Houston resigning itself to another disappointing season.