The Houston Texans have been getting slammed since their 27-0 loss to New England, but it seems like running back Lamar Miller is escaping a lot of the heat
First off, let’s get one thing out of the way…the Houston Texans are fine. There’s no reason to panic. Sure, they lost in an ugly fashion to the New England Patriots, but it was one week. No big deal.
Remember last season, they got smoked by the Miami Dolphins and then went on a tear as they dominated the AFC South from then on. Head coach Bill O’Brien and his team won’t panic, and neither should fans.
Now with that out of the way, there is some criticism due following the first three weeks of the season. Most of it has been heaped onto the shoulders of quarterback Brock Osweiler, and rightfully so.
The big gun slinger was brought in to right the ship at a position that has seen so much change in recent years. To date, the reviews are mixed. He has looked great at times, lost at other times and he has also looked like nothing more than a game manager at times.
Still, with all the heat on the lengthy Montanan people are forgetting one thing. He wasn’t the only high-profile, high-priced acquisition this offseason. Along with Osweiler came running back Lamar Miller.
Miller was supposed to fix the issues in the running game, and so far he hasn’t. Sure, he is fourth in the NFL in rushing, but that’s a product of getting so many touches. Miller has run for a career low in average yards per rush at just 3.6 yards per carry. This is nearly a full yard off his career average of 4.5 yards.
The former Miami Dolphin also has zero touchdowns on the season to date. Neither the yards per rush, or the lack of touchdowns is what Houston was expecting when paying him a deal that netted $6.5 million this season.
So what’s wrong?
Well according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, Miller’s struggles have as much to do with those around him as they do the running back himself.
"What he doesn’t have working in his favor is consistent blocking. Against the Patriots, he was chased down by speedy linebacker Jamie Collins. He also slipped a few times in the open field while trying to make a cut."
Sure, there is a ton of truth in what Wilson says about Miller. Also, to his credit, he points out that Miller does need to work on consistency. The question that keeps coming back up though, is why are such excuses valid for Miller, but not Osweiler.
The running back and quarterback are both lining up behind the same offensive line, right? So why is it that when Miller struggles people realize that stud left tackle Duane Brown is out. Why is it when Miller has no running lanes people are reminded that second-round pick center Nick Martin is on the injured reserve and an undrafted Greg Mancz is filling in?
The fact is the line needs to improve. However, both Miller and Osweiler need to find ways to work around the issues of a bad offensive line.
Again, Houston will be fine. Just stop putting all the blame for their lone loss on one guy. Especially when another one making such a large amount of cash is struggling as well.