Earlier today I queried whether Kendall Hunter could do enough his rookie year to enter into the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year race. While I think Hunter could put together a solid rookie season, there might be too many factors in play for him to leap past some of the more prominent offensive members of this year's rookie class.
Nonetheless, Hunter is in a position this evening to take the bull by the horns with regards to proving himself to the coaching staff. While I wouldn't say he controls his own destiny in the battle for playing time, he can at least help his cause. I say he doesn't necessarily control his destiny because a strong showing from Anthony Dixon would seemingly fend off the rookie for now.
The preseason opener saw Kendall Hunter rush seven times for 29 yards, while Anthony Dixon rushed seven times for 16 yards. Last week against the Raiders, Hunter rushed nine times for 105 yards while Dixon rushed 12 times for 53 yards. Hunter brought all sorts of sizzle highlighting his performance with a 53-yard touchdown run early in the second half.
Dixon was not quite the explosive runner with four rushes over three yards (one ending the half). I thought he showed some solid moves, although there was still the occasional dancing. That has been his primary weakness and considering how big he is, one would hope he'd be more likely to try and power his way to yards.
Tonight, both running backs will likely receive a decent number of carries against the Texans first string defense. Frank Gore will get some carries, but I'd imagine he won't play too long. That hopefully leaves both Dixon and Hunter getting tested against an improved Texans defense. It's only one game so we can't make too much of it, but it would at least give us some kind of better comparison.
We don't know how much time each player will get against the first string Texans defense, so any predictions could be entirely useless. Nonetheless, if both get carries against the Texans number ones, who has the better performance? I'm not necessarily saying more yardage since one big run could blast that out of the water. I'm just wondering who you think will look better today, pending somewhat equal opposition.