After weeks of their running game making up the bulk of their offensive production, the Houston Texans have had a hard time moving the ball on the ground in their last two matchups. Rookie running back Dameon Pierce, who was a revelation early in the season, was been effectively bottled up against both the Washington Commanders and Miami Dolphins.
He was asked by a reporter after Sunday’s loss to Miami about how the approach of opposing defenses has changed since Week 10. Pierce’s response was enlightening, and thoroughly explained the difference in strategy that has kept him at bay.
“Oh man, they’re stacking the line,” Pierce said, laughing. “Putting five down linemen up there. Three-down linemen, two stand-up defensive ends and just letting the linebackers play the gaps. That’s hard to run against in any system, whatever you are running. That’s something we do though. That is something we are going to gameplan against, something we’re going to get better at. We just have to get used to it up front.
“Obviously, if teams do something good against us, the other teams are going to copycat and put it in their repertoire and implement that against us. But we just have to start finding counters to the stuff that people are going to do to us, because we’re changing our tendencies. We’re trying to do tendency breakers – we just trying to get a better flow on offense. Ultimately, we are going to change that.”
The Texans will need to find solutions to get their running game back in order, or else risk losing out through the last six games on their schedule. At 1-9-1, Houston is the worst team in the NFL by record, and early indications point toward a complete overhaul in the offseason.
If they can figure out how to take a productive ground attack into 2023, their outlook for the future could change drastically under whichever rookie quarterback they end up with after April’s draft.