What can the Houston Texans expect from Lamar Miller?
By Randy Gurzi
What will running back Lamar Miller bring to the table for the Houston Texans in 2016?
The Houston Texans made some serious noise in the opening minutes of free agency by locking up perhaps the best quarterback available in Brock Osweiler and the best running back in Lamar Miller. Both moves were rumored to be in the works, but they went from possibility to reality in quick fashion.
Now that we have had some time to digest the whirlwind, let’s look deeper at what to expect from the signings, starting with Lamar Miller.
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Normally signing a free agent running back is bad news in the NFL. Once a back gets past 28-years of age and is used up, their career takes a huge dip. That won’t be the case with the former Miami Dolphin though because he comes to Houston still young (he is 24 but will be 25 next month) and has minimal wear due to the Dolphins rare usage of the 220 pound running back.
In four seasons, Miller has gone over the 200 carry mark in a season just once, in 2014. He has a total of 638 carries, but he has been highly effective despite the minimal usage. For his career, Miller averages 4.6 yards per rush and has added another 117 receptions for more than seven and a half yards per catch.
Now he heads to Houston and his four-year $26 million deal with $14 million guaranteed suggests he will be the lead dog in the Texans backfield. So what kind of production can the Texans expect to get from Miller in 2016?
First the question is how much use will he get? Before inking his deal, Miller made it clear that he wanted more touches than he had received thus far in his career. The number thrown out was around 20 touches per game, and in Houston that shouldn’t be a problem.
Sure, the team is rather pass happy, but with a new quarterback, look for head coach Bill O’Brien to try and make things easy on him by leaning more on their new dynamic runner. Also, Miller will get plenty of touches in the passing game. Again, a young quarterback learning a new team will benefit from an experienced pass catcher out of the backfield.
Miller will most likely get his 20 touches per game, and then some. An early estimate would be roughly 18 rushes per game and four receptions as Houston utilizes their new weapon the way Miami should have the previous four seasons.
2016 Prediction: 288 rushes, 1382 yards and 9 touchdowns. 64 receptions, 448 yards, 4 touchdowns.
Next: Elway takes a jab at newest Texans QB Osweiler
Feel free to come back at year’s end and call me crazy if these numbers are wrong.