Before we rush to criticize Dameon Pierce, it’s important to note that he’s my favorite Houston Texans running back since Arian Foster. His aggressive “crash test dummy” running style sets a tone and brings excitement, especially compared to a west coast, wide zone running system (unless it’s Arian Foster in his prime).
In the previous season, Pierce rushed for an impressive 939 yards on 220 attempts in 13 games, with an average of 4.3 yards per carry. However, in the first seven games of 2023, with roughly half as many carries (109), he has only managed 327 yards and a below-average 3.0 yards per carry.
While it’s easy to place blame on Pierce, it’s crucial to consider the broader context. Many people who don’t grasp the intricacies of pro football are quick to point fingers, but there’s more to performance analysis than meets the eye. In Pierce’s case, the entire system around him has changed, including a significant portion of the supporting cast.
Successful coaches adapt their system to their players’ strengths, and exceptional coaches collaborate with the general manager to assemble a roster suited for their system. Dameon Pierce doesn’t fit the mold of a typical zone running scheme tailback, and offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik may not be optimizing his potential.
To complicate matters further, the offensive line has been a revolving door with varying levels of understanding of blocking assignments and the skills needed to execute them. Additionally, Pierce has been dealing with an ankle injury that kept him sidelined.
Would the Texans’ running game improve with a one-cut and go running back? Would Pierce excel in a power rushing scheme? Would the situation be different if the offensive line had been healthy all season? These are complex questions without easy answers.
Fortunately, rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud and the passing game have been performing well. If Davis Mills were still at the helm, managing an underperforming run game, the Texans’ win total would likely be different.
What are your thoughts on this situation?