Scottie Phillips' determined, downhill running style allowed him to buck the odds to forge a spot on the Texans’ roster as the fifth running back.
It was because of a need on special teams that Phillips was active for the first time this season Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers during a loss at NRG Stadium
Phillips played seven snaps, all on special teams, against Carolina.
Although the Texans rushed for just 42 yards on 17 carries against the Panthers and averaged an ineffectual 2.5 yards per carry, Phillips wasn't under consideration for duties in the running game.
"That had nothing to do with it," Texans coach David Culley said Friday morning at NRG Stadium. "It was strictly a special teams deal because of some other people we had hurt that had been special teams players for us. Scottie has been one of those guys that during the preseason that did a good job on that and because of the roster spots it worked out that he was the best fit for us to move up. But it had nothing to do with the running backs. It was strictly a situation where he came up simply because of what we needed on special teams.”
Phillips led the Texans with 25 carries for 155 yards and a 6.2 average per carry in three preseason games. As a rookie, Phillips made the practice squad and played in eight games with two carries for nine yards.
Phillips’ presence on the 53-man roster was earned, not given.
Phillips is a strong back, built low to the ground at 5-foot-8, 209 pounds who scored 14 touchdowns as a college junior and gained 927 rushing yards, rushing for 542 yards and five scores in his senior season before joining the Texans.
“Man, Scottie is a baller,” Mark Ingram said of Phillips, who has run the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds. “I told him to keep doing his thing, keep running the rock, keep running out of the backfield and catching the rock, picking up pass protection.
“He’s a back that can do a lot of things, so I’ve told him to keep working on his craft and I think he’s going to be a good player, a good running back in this league for a long time. I think he can have a long career with his skillset and his mindset, so I am a Scottie Phillips fan.”
Aaron Wilson has covered the NFL for 20 seasons, including the Texans, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars. He has previously written for The Houston Chronicle and The Baltimore Sun. He’s on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL and Instagram: @aaronwilson7128.