After being lured away from Miami last offseason, Lamar Miller was brought in to Houston to help bolster the Texans’ running game post-Arian Foster.
Despite a solid initial campaign, the Texans can still expect more from the 25 year-old Lamar Miller. With his combination of size and speed, the five-year vet has become one of the NFL’s most consistent running backs.
After a solid four seasons with Miami, Miller left the only place he ever called home and came over to Houston after signing a four-year, $26 million contract last offseason.
Miller finished the 2016 season by rushing for 1,073 yards on 268 attempts, a 4.0 yards per carry average and five touchdowns. The number of attempts make it clear that he was the Texans’ workhorse during his first season in Houston.
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To be fair though, Miller was asked at times to try and carry the Texans’ offense as they attempted to move up and down the field.
Due to the inconsistent play at quarterback, opposing defenses were able to load the box and take away any potential running lanes for Miller. If quarterback Brock Osweiler was able to spread the defense out with a reliable passing attack, more opportunities would have been available for him. Without a passing threat however, Miller was unable to ever really give the Texans what they had hoped for, but the potential for growth is still there.
During Miller’s tenure in Miami from 2012-2016, Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill was able to put together his best season in 2014. Miami’s passing game ranked 17th that year. It wasn’t overly impressive except when you consider Houston’s pass offense was ranked 29th this past season. With just a semblance of a passing game, Miller was able to have a career year as well in 2014 with nearly 1,100 yards an average of 5.1 yards per carry as well as eight touchdowns.
In order for the Texans to improve their running game they don’t need to upgrade their running backs. They should rather work to improve what’s around them with an offseason focus on improving both the offensive line and quarterback positions. If they do this, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien will by default also improve his rushing attack.
Regardless of how you felt about his first season in Houston it is important to understand that Lamar Miller can play. Just like all positions in football however, he is reliant on the system in place and at the mercy of the blocking ahead of him. If Houston is able to solidify their unit up front, expect to see many more Miller jerseys around southeast Texas come this fall.