The Texans had five open roster spots available after the release of four players and Brian Cushing being placed on Injured Reserve. John McClain and Mark Berman announced the Texans have signed RB Deji Karim, RB Dennis Johnson, RB Ray Graham, LB Tavares Gooden, and LB Jeff Tarpinian.
All three running backs have familiarity with the Texans system. They were all with the team during the preseason though all went separate ways after the Texans chose Cierre Wood as the team’s third running back. Jason La Canfora was the first to report the Texans signing of Deji Karim off the streets. Karim rushed for 75 yards on 15 preseason carries. Karim has experience in the return game as well and may be used on kickoffs with Keyshawn Martin struggling to muster anything on returns. Dennis Johnson was signed off the Cleveland Browns practice squad. Johnson had some impressive plays during the preseason but was unable to hold onto the ball. Johnson’s fumbles were likely the reason he was sent packing though the Texans hoped to stash him on their own practice squad. Ray Graham was with the team throughout the preseason but failed to make a splash. Graham was stashed on the practice squad after the Texans missed out on Dennis Johnson.
Tavares Gooden, 29, was last seen with the 49′ers last season. The veteran’s last big role was with the Ravens when he started 12 games for them in 2009. Gooden is known for his above-average special teams play and will be likely not see much playing time as a linebacker. Tarpinian has been with the New England Patriots the last few seasons and was one of their better special teams players before landing on Injured Reserve in November of 2011. Tarpinian was also with the Patriots last season and one of the team’s final cuts before the 2013 season. Both Gooden and Tarpinian are expected to help shore up a leaky Texans special team’s unit.
The signing of three running backs can’t make Texans fans feel good. Had both Arian Foster (hamstring) and Ben Tate (ribs) been healthy, the Texans would have only needed one running back to replace Cierre Wood. Both backs are banged up and even though they said they’d play next week against the Colts, itt seems likely that either Tate or Foster may have a more serious injury than previously let on. We will wait to hear word from Gary Kubiak‘s next press conference, but I can’t imagine both Foster and Tate being active a week from tonight if the Texans went out to sign three running backs.