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Arian Foster to benefit from sharing Texans' workload

Midway through the fourth quarter of the Texans' Monday night opener, Ben Tate took a Matt Schaub handoff and powered through a small hole on the left side of Houston's line for a 3-yard gain.

Tate, as has been the norm the past three seasons, began his jog off the field, fully expecting to be replaced in the lineup by starter Arian Foster.

But this time, Tate was told to stay on the field. Foster -- who had started to jog toward the huddle -- was called back. You didn't need to be an expert in body language and lipreading to know Foster wasn't happy about it.

Is this the new world order in the Texans' backfield?

"They're competitors, and both want to be on the field," coach Gary Kubiak said Tuesday, according to the Houston Chronicle.

We all figured Tate would have a bigger role in Houston's game plan this season. No running back has had a bigger workload than Foster since 2010, and the veteran is coming off an offseason compromised by calf and back injuries.

The Texans want to protect their best player, and a direct result of that effort is more work for Tate. Foster finished with 18 carries for 57 yards against the San Diego Chargers. Tate had nine rushes for 55 yards. Don't be surprised if that two-thirds breakdown remains more or less intact as long as both players are healthy this season.

Tate ran better than Foster on Monday. Much better. But as Chris Wesseling pointed out after the game, rust is to be expected. Foster needs time and carries to get back to his old self.

Having Tate involved is the best thing that could happen to Foster's career. Short-term frustrations can lead to long-term success.

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