“It’s going to be great getting the pads on those guys,” Barrett said. “Once you do that and you get that contact you get to see if we can sustain what we’ve already accomplished. That’s what’s going to be the key."
The Houston Texans made major additions to their offense this offseason.
The Texans wanted to add to the offense in any way they could, bringing in multiple receivers, but there was one thing that was most important for the team.
Improving the run game.
The Texans were one of the worst teams in the league last season, averaging just 83 rushing yards per game and just 3.4 yards per carry, which was dead last in the league. Houston also scored just eight times on the ground all season, which was second worse in the league.
So fixing that this offseason was a huge priority. The Texans brought in free agent offensive guard A.J. Cann and drafted both Kenyon Green and Austin Deculus to help shore up an offensive line that struggled last season.
But one of the most important additions for the run game, was the team drafting Dameon Pierce, who joins a running back room that includes Rex Burkhead and Marlon Mack.
That trio had a large impact at OTA’s and mandatory minicamp, where each showed flashed of what they could do.
“It was a great offseason for us, “said Texans running back coach Danny Barrett. “We had some great additions to the room, with Marlon (Mack) Dare (Ogumbowale) and the young buck Dameon Pierce. So coming into this offseason we wanted to develop that continuity and comradery from them and they’ve really embraced that. They encourage one another and compete with one another trying to make each other better and most importantly, they’re all healthy.”
Pierce brings a physical presence to the team that compliments Rex Burkhead, who had a strong end to the season and is great as a receiver out of the backfield as well as a blocker. Mack also hopes to have a bounce back with the Texans, as he was a 1000-yard rusher three years ago, but injuries have derailed the running back sense then.
“He’s come in and done a good job,” Barrett said. “I thought coming in initially, being the veteran that he is, that that would be the case. He came in and really got a feel for everybody and since that first week everything has been smooth sailing for him. He’s gotten his confidence back to the level it was prior to his injuries and you can see the burst and the speed he has. We’re really looking forward to him.”
Pearce, being the youngest in the room and the only rookie among the running backs has been taken under the wing of some of the veterans.
“He’s going to have that learning curve,” Barrett said. “They have to come in and learn a whole new way of life. They have to learn how to take care of their bodies, learn how to take film and do all these different things. He’s done a really good job of coming in and trying to learn what we want him to do on a daily basis. Now he is going to go through this break and keep that regimen and come back even more confident and ready than before when we hit training camp.”
The running backs will return in late July for training camp and all of them can’t wait to get back to work.
“It’s going to be great getting the pads on those guys,” Barrett said. “Once you do that and you get that contact you get to see if we can sustain what we’ve already accomplished. That’s what’s going to be the key. It’s going to be a mindset, I’ve always believed that if you have that right mindset you’ll be successful and I think our group has that.”