Before anyone breaks out the pitchforks and torches, know this: Dameon Pierce is my favorite Houston Texans running back since Arian Foster. His angry “crash test dummy” running style sets a tone, brings an attitude and is a lot more fun to watch than a west coast, wide zone running system (unless that system features Foster in his prime...)
Last season saw Pierce hammer his way to 939 yards on 220 attempts in 13 games, with a 4.3 yard per carry average.
Through seven games in 2023, roughly half as many carries (109), Pierce only has 327 yards and a subpar 3.0 yards per carry.
It’s really easy to sit back and blame Pierce. In fact, a lot of people who don’t understand the nuances of pro football are doing just that.
However, when surveying performance there’s a lot more to look into than just the performer. In Pierce’s case, the entire system around him has changed, including a large majority of the supporting cast.
#Texans running back Dameon Pierce on his adjustments to a much different offense this season under direction of OC Bobby Slowik 'We're really close in the running game. .. This is like another rookie year for me.' @KPRC2 added he feels 'amazing' after the bye week pic.twitter.com/kmI9aYs8si— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) October 27, 2023
Good coaches adapt their system to the strengths of their players. Great coaches have a synergy with the general manager to make sure the roster is loaded with players who can excel in those systems.
Dameon Pierce isn’t the prototypical zone running scheme tailback. Offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik isn’t winning the “put Pierce in a situation to achieve” game.
To clutter it up even more, the offensive line is a revolving door of faces - each with their own level of understanding of the blocking assignments and talent/skill to make those blocks. Not to mention Pierce’s current ankle injury that sidelined him last weekend.
Would the Texans run game look better with a one-cut and go running back?
Would Pierce run into the Pro Bowl in a power rushing scheme?
Is this all academic if the Texans O-Line was fully healthy all season?
It’s hard to know and hard to say.
Thankfully, rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud and the passing attack are on point. If Davis Mills was still under center, handing off to an anemic run game, the Texans win total wouldn’t be what it is.
What do you think?
Should the Houston Texans have traded Dameon Pierce?
This poll is closed
Yes - best for team and player
No - Slowick needs to fix this, Pierce FTW!
Maybe - give it til season’s end and rosterize accordingly
In the meantime, the Cincinnati Bengals’ 11th worst run defense is making plans for Pierce and Devin Singletary.