Texans' offense in big trouble without Arian Foster

*One story on Tuesday at training camp loomed over all others. Here's what you need to know about Arian Foster's severe groin injury and the rest of Tuesday's big stories: *

The Texans' offense isn't built to last without Arian Foster. It probably wasn't built to last even with him.

Foster's serious groin injury suffered at practice Monday is the worst health news any team has received since training camp started. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports that Foster will likely need surgery, according to a source informed of the situation. He is "almost certainly" headed to short-term injured reserve, which would knock him out for a minimum of eight weeks of playing action.

Houston's offense already was in for an uphill battle under second-year coach Bill O'Brien. His quarterback situation (Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett) is one of the worst in the league, even if he doesn't want to hear about it. Following Andre Johnson's departure, the wideout group is shaky after DeAndre Hopkins. And the drop-off after Foster on the running back depth chart could cause vertigo.

Foster's steady excellence almost has been taken for granted. We thought he was running as hard and as well as any running back in the league last year. "The system" in Houston often got too much credit for Foster's early success under coach Gary Kubiak -- 2014 was all Foster. He averaged 4.8 yards-per-carry; the rest of the team was at 3.1.

Backup running back Alfred Blue looks like he should be able to run between the tackles, but he doesn't play that way. He didn't show many special traits in 169 carries last season. Philadelphia didn't keep Chris Polk this offseason. Second-year pro Jonathan Grimes could be a change of pace at running back. In short: The Texans will be looking at the free-agent market. Pierre Thomas was on his way to visit the team Tuesday, NFL Media's Rand Getlin reported, according to a source informed of the situation. Thomas will help on passing downs, but he's not going to replace Foster. 

Houston also has to be concerned with Foster's inability to stay healthy. Since leading the league in carries in 2012, Foster has missed 11 games. He's missed a ton of practice time with hip, back, groin and hamstring injuries. This was supposed to be the healthiest offseason of his career, and he didn't survive the first week of training camp. He'll turn 30 years old before the 2016 season and the Texans will have to consider a future without him. 

In the meantime, there's no denying Foster was the most valuable player on a nondescript offense. His ability to move the chains minimized the importance of the Texans' quarterbacks, not to mention a defense that took a while to find its footing in 2014. The Texans had a station-to-station offense, and now they are missing their engine.

Ten more nuggets from Tuesday:

  1. The Texans turning to Thomas must be a big disappointment to Ray Rice, who was a logical fit there. Rice spoke of suicide and hoping for another chance during an interview Tuesday.
  1. The release of a 452-page transcript from the Tom Brady appeal has a lot of eyebrow raising moments. You can read the entire thing here or you could spend more time with your family. We'd suggest the latter.
  1. Foster wasn't the only injury the Texans suffered on Tuesday. Sixth-round OLB Reshard Cliett will miss the season with a knee injury, according John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.
  1. Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said that he's been trying to extend the contracts of Haloti Ngata and DeAndre Levy. We'd be surprised if any Ngata deal happens first.
  1. Jacksonville general manager Dave Caldwell publicly doubted whether suspended receiver Justin Blackmonwill ever play football again. Meanwhile, it looks like Allen Hurns will start opposite Allen Robinson at wideout for Jacksonville. Marqise Lee has been intermittently healthy, and inconsistent.
  1. An underplayed storyline in Detroit: Presumptive starting running back Joique Bell doesn't seem particularly close to returning to the field. The team sounds concerned about his availability.
  1. Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler has reportedly backed up his big moment with a big training camp. He intercepted Tom Brady at Tuesday's practice and is fully expected to start at cornerback for the Patriots.
  1. Things can change fast at cornerback in the NFL. Chris Houston was a quality starter at cornerback a few years ago in Detroit. On Tuesday, he retired from the Carolina Panthers.
  1. One name we continue to see as a standout in Packers practices: Rookie wide receiver Ty Montgomery. Tight end Richard Rodgers has also enjoyed an improved camp. As if Aaron Rodgers needed more weapons.
  1. The more we read about Terrelle Pryor, the more we'd be stunned if he didn't make the team. He chose the right team to sign with as a wide receiver.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast debates whose stock is up and whose stock is down after the first week of training camp.

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