Howell signed a one-year contract with the Texans, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports.
Analysis: The Texans had an option to tender the 24-year-old running back, but they decided to sign him and include guaranteed money instead. Howell mostly contributes on special teams, as he played just 47 offensive snaps in 2020, recording 64 yards on 16 carries and three yards on his lone reception. It's unclear whether David Johnson or Duke Johnson will be back in Houston for the 2021 season, but Howell won't be more than a change-of-pace back regardless.
Feb 23, 2021 1:39 PM EST
Howell becomes a restricted free agent during the upcoming offseason.
Analysis: In Howell's third year with the franchise, he finished with a career highs in offensive snaps, carries and yards in 2020. He received a limited late-season look when David Johnson contracted COVID-19 and the coaching staff soured on Duke Johnson and C.J. Prosise. Prior to that, Howell played mostly on special teams. The Texans are expected to revamp the running back position during the offseason after naming a new general manager and head coach, but it's unlikely Howell would be anything more than a third back if Houston brings him back for a fourth season.
Jan 5, 2021 5:24 AM EST
Howell carried five times for 22 yards in Sunday's 27-20 loss to the Colts.
Analysis: Howell moved up to second on the depth chart behind David Johnson as Duke Johnson (neck) was inactive. Howell, a special teams stalwart, has been given more opportunities the last two weeks while both Johnsons dealt with injuries. The third-year running back has not been used much on offense, and his 16 carries in 2020 are a career high.
Dec 20, 2020 6:22 PM EST
Howell rushed 11 times for 42 yards and secured one of two targets for three yards in the Texans' 36-7 loss to the Bears on Sunday.
Analysis: The undrafted third-year pro was surprisingly afforded a double-digit carry workload in the absence of David Johnson (reserve/COVID-19), with interim coach Romeo Crennel apparently not satisfied with the middling production Duke Johnson had provided in his teammate's earlier absence this season. Howell acquitted himself reasonably well given the unfavorable game circumstances, and consequently, the Florida Atlantic product could be set for a similar or greater workload in a Week 15 battle versus the Colts if David Johnson remains sidelined.
Dec 13, 2020 3:06 PM EST
Howell played one snap on offense in Week 10's 10-7 loss to the Browns.
Analysis: With David Johnson (concussion) on injured reserve, the Texans ground attack featured Duke Johnson and quarterback Deshaun Watson mostly. Howell and CJ Prosise (two offensive snaps) played mostly on special teams while Johnson had just 54 yards on 14 carries (3.9 YPC) in the loss. David Johnson will miss at least the next two games, but it's unclear if Howell will see greater opportunity.
Nov 18, 2020 6:00 AM EST
Howell did not register a touch in five offensive snaps in Sunday's 27-25 win over the Jaguars.
Analysis: Howell was elevated to a minor role on offense after David Johnson (concussion) was removed from the game. Duke Johnson became the lead running back while Howell received scant duty. Primarily a special teams stalwart, Howell played his first snaps on offense in 2020. He has five rushing attempts in two-plus seasons with Houston.
Nov 9, 2020 4:31 AM EST
Howell (hamstring) will be available for Sunday's game versus the Packers.
Analysis: Howell has missed the last two games, but he played exclusively on special teams in the previous four outings. He likely won't get any tread on offense once again, as David Johnson, Duke Johnson and C.J. Prosise are all healthy heading into Week 7.
Oct 23, 2020 7:29 PM EST
Howell (hamstring) has been ruled out for Sunday's game versus the Titans.
Analysis: Howell was listed as questionable heading into the weekend, but the 24-year-old running back didn't travel with the team and will be inactive. He has only played on special teams this season, as David Johnson and Duke Johnson handle most of the backfield touches now that they're both healthy.
Oct 17, 2020 3:12 PM EST
Howell (hamstring) is questionable for Sunday's game versus the Titans.
Analysis: Howell missed Week 5 due to this hamstring injury but practiced in a limited fashion all week, indicating he has a chance to play this Sunday. If he suits up, Howell will stick to special teams since David Johnson, Duke Johnson and C.J. Prosise are all healthy.
Oct 16, 2020 5:00 PM EST
Howell (hamstring) is inactive for Sunday's game versus the Jaguars.
Analysis: Howell was a special-teams fixture through the first quarter of the season. His absence will affect the backfield depth, but it shouldn't be an issue with David Johnson, Duke Johnson and C.J. Prosise all healthy.
Oct 11, 2020 8:42 AM EST
Howell (hamstring) has been handed a questionable designation ahead of Sunday's matchup with the Jaguars.
Analysis: Howell is looking like a game-time decision Sunday, as he was limited at practice all week. He has primarily been a special teams contributor for the Texans when healthy this season.
Oct 10, 2020 8:31 AM EST
Howell played strictly on special teams during Thursday's 34-20 loss to the Chiefs in Week 1.
Analysis: With Duke Johnson (ankle) leaving the game, Howell would have been the next man up, but by that time, the Texans were playing were down three scores and playing catchup. Howell is a steady contributor on the coverage team, but could be on the radar heading into Week 2 against the Ravens, if Johnson's injury lingers. The Texans also have an experienced C.J. Prosise on the practice squad.
Sep 11, 2020 7:07 PM EST
Howell did not play an offensive snap in Sunday's 51-31 playoff loss to the Chiefs.
Analysis: Per usual, Howell was a special-teams only contributor for the Texans. He appeared in every game this season, including both postseason contests, but played just 36 offensive snaps, 25 of which came in a meaningless Week 17 game against the Titans. Howell is one of two Houston running backs with a contract for 2020, but he's expected to maintain a similar role as a special-teamer in 2020.
Jan 13, 2020 3:42 AM EST
Howell has been fined for an illegal blindside block on a punt return during last week's win over New England, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports.
Analysis: Howell, who is a top special-teams contributor for the Texans, plans to appeal the fine. As a running back on offense, Howell has played just 11 snaps and gained five yards on two carries.
Dec 8, 2019 5:40 AM EST
Howell rushed 15 times for 84 yards and a touchdown and wasn't targeted in the passing game in the Texans' 30-23 preseason win over the Lions on Saturday.
Analysis: The second-year back led all ballcarriers in rushing attempts and yardage on the night, averaging an impressive 5.6 yards per tote along the way. Howell's long run was a modest 14 yards, meaning he consistently picked up solid chunks of real estate throughout the night. The Texans now have Duke Johnson in the fold as an experienced complement to Lamar Miller, but there certainly could be room for Howell as the third back, a role he likely went a long way toward securing with Saturday's production.
Aug 17, 2019 9:37 PM EST
Howell is in contention for the backup job to starting running back Lamar Miller in the wake of the Texans waiving D'Onta Foreman, Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com reports.
Analysis: As an undrafted rookie in 2018, Howell primarily was contained to special-teams duty, logging 266 snaps in that realm versus just three on offense. With Alfred Blue and Foreman elsewhere, Howell has a path to reps behind the 28-year-old Miller, who has missed four games combined in three seasons as a member of the Texans. While the competition for that work could be fierce, those vying for the job lack experience in general outside of Taiwan Jones. Aside from Howell and Jones, Josh Ferguson, Damarea Crockett and Karan Higdon round out the RB depth chart.
Aug 5, 2019 2:28 PM EST
Howell is expected to play a significant role on special teams in 2019, Deepi Sidhu of the Texans' official site reports. "I just know they want me here for special teams, to make an impact on special teams. So, that's my thing. If it get a carry, that's a bonus for me," the running back said.
Analysis: The 23-year-old Howell is entering his second season in the league after going undrafted out of Florida Atlantic in 2018. He carved out a special-teams role ahead of his rookie season and ultimately logged the fifth-most snaps (265) in that area for Houston last year. However, he only saw three snaps on offense without logging a single carry. The increased health of D'Onta Foreman does not bode well for Howell to be more involved offensively in 2019, though the latter's proficiency on special teams at least gives him a leg up for a roster spot.
Jun 17, 2019 1:54 PM EST
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