Former Tennessee running back Arian Foster, limited by an Achilles injury, will likely see more action in the Miami Dolphins’ third preseason game Thursday night.
Miami coach Adam Gase told reporters earlier this week that the team was hoping to take a “long look” at Foster in the exhibition game against the Atlanta Falcons. So far this preseason, Foster has played only a handful of snaps.
"I don't want to overdo it with him,” Gase said, according to the Miami Herald. “Obviously, his resume speaks for itself.”
When asked how much more action he needed this preseason to be ready for Week 1 of the regular season, Foster seemed to joke with reporters when he said he needed "37 reps" to "be good to go." He said he came up with that approximate total through an algorithm.
Foster didn't appear at all in the preseason opener against the New York Giants on Aug. 12. He did play in the second game against the Dallas Cowboys, but took the field for only nine snaps with two carries. Jay Ajayi, a second-year tailback from Boise State, has taken the majority of first-team reps for the Dolphins at running back this preseason.
A fifth-round draft pick in 2015, Ajayi rushed for only 187 yards last year. At 23, though, he's seven years younger than Foster and has much lower mileage than the former Volunteers standout.
Foster is entering his eighth season in the NFL and his first with Miami, having spent the previous seven with the Houston Texans. He won the NFL rushing title in 2010, rushing for 1,616 yards, and also crossed the 1,000-yard threshold in 2011, 2012 and 2014.
He ruptured his Achilles tendon last October, ending his 2015 season. Even before the injury, though, Foster had struggled, rushing for only 163 yards on the year with an average of 2.6 yards per carry.
Considering his age and injury history, Foster likely needs to prove within the next couple of weeks that he has the durability to hold up under serious contact. Otherwise, the Dolphins and first-year coach Gase may choose to hand Ajayi the starting job, leaving Foster as a reserve option at best.
© 2016, GridironNow.com Staff. All rights reserved.
© 2016, gridironnow.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.