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Player Spotlight: Carlos Hyde Ain’t Hiding No More

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Bill O’Brien finally gets a running back made to blow up the A-Gap.

Houston Texans v New Orleans Saints Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Lost in the midst of all the other off-season chaos, including the loss of Jadeveon Clowney, the gain of Laremy Tunsil and a litany of other moves, your Houston Texans quietly brought in a player who might have a more significant impact on the Texans win-loss column than any other addition aside from Tunsil.

Born in Ohio, Carlos Hyde’s family move to Naples Florida while he was in High School. During his senior year at Naples High School, Hyde amassed 1653 yards and 16 touchdowns. This brought scholarship offers to bring his skills to the University of Florida, Florida State and the University of Miami. But, Hyde’s heart was still in Ohio, where he committed to play with Ohio State.

During his junior year, Hyde participated in 9 games, racking up 970 yards and 16 touchdowns. He followed that his senior year with 1521 yards and 15 touchdowns, which earned him first team All Big Ten honors, in only 8 games following a 3-game suspension.

In 2014 the San Francisco 49ers took Hyde with the 57th overall pick where he would have to fight for playing time with Marcus Lattimore and Frank Gore. 2015 would see Hyde named RB1 for the 49ers and he responded by rolling up 168 yards on 26 carries in week one. By 2018 Hyde cracked the NFL’s Top 100 Players list, but found himself out in San Fran, signing with the Cleveland Browns. The Browns then traded him to Jacksonville, who released him this past off-season. The Kansas City Chiefs snatched Hyde off the street, but traded him to the Texans for failed o-lineman Martinas Rankin.

If Monday Night Football was any indicator, the Texans won bigtime in that trade.

For a player like Hyde, who has had to fight for playing time everywhere he’s been, fighting for extra yards on every play seems to have become part of his DNA. Add to that a fire to prove he’s still got what it takes to be the bell cow, and opposing defenses better get ready for a truck coming downhill at them.

When facing a Saints defense as the #2 running back, Hyde responded by unleashing a massive 8.3 yards per carry on 10 runs. All behind one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. When the Texans get their o-line ironed out, Hyde should easily return to multiple- 125+ yard games in an offense that features more up-the-gut runs in one game than some NFL franchises do in an entire season.

Having Hyde established as a serious running threat also opens up a whole new world for phenom quarterback Deshaun Watson. With Lamar Miller on IR, Watson can use all the running help he can get.

Over at The Texans Wire, writer Avery Duncan has a great breakdown of the Hyde and Johnson show from Monday night. It’s hard not to get excited about Houston’s newly reinvented running game sifting through this article and the accompanying videos.

With Johnson able to provide a great change of pace, and an excellent safety valve for Watson out of the backfield, the Texans might finally be the running team Bill O’Brien has always dreamed of since landing the head coaching job. If the Hyde and the Texans can build off what they established Monday night, opposing defensive coordinators are going to have a hard time figuring out what to focus on - try to stop Hyde and watch Watson tear you apart. Try to shut down the pass and experience Hyde running over your DBs after he gets to the third level. Either way, the Houston offense is giving notice that if they can keep up with Drew Brees, the rest of the league better pay attention or get run over.

Having a great running game also keeps J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus and their 9 best friends off the field and fresh to stop opposing offenses when their time comes. Even in a pass happy league, a solid running game can be a coach’s best friend.

What do you think of Hyde so far? Could he be the next great tailback for the Texans? Does he deserve Arian Foster’s jersey number? Has Houston done enough to fire up the offense to make it past the AFC Wild Card round this year?