The group of free agents brought in by the Texans in 2016 didn’t exactly pan out, and running back Lamar Miller is the last remaining player.
A couple years ago, the Houston Texans made several significant financial and personnel commitments to improve the team. Brock Osweiler, Jeff Allen, Tony Bergstrom, and Lamar Miller were brought in to resuscitate the walking dead.
As it turns out, the solution became part of the problem. Quarterback Brock Osweiler’s employment in Houston was short-lived, and he was dumped to the Cleveland Browns for financial relief.
Interior offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom was released after his lone season with the team since he failed to break into the starting five in the offensive line.
Jeff Allen was recently released after an uninspiring two years with the Texans. Injuries and inconsistency at his position lead to his demise with the Houston Texans.
The only remaining player with the Texans is starting running back Lamar Miller. It isn’t a hot take to say that he has underperformed in his stint with the Texans.
He has remained a reliable pass catcher out the backfield for quarterbacks, and he has shown flashes of being a four-down back. Miller had 36 receptions for 327 yards and a career-high 3 touchdown receptions. He averaged an impressive 9.1 yards per reception, whenever he caught the ball from Deshaun Watson and company he almost got the team in position for a first down.
However, he isn’t a workhorse running back. Miller hasn’t shown the elusiveness to make tacklers miss or truck defenders on a regular game to game basis. In 16 games, he averaged 55.5 rushing yards per game.
Miller shouldn’t shoulder all the blame since he has been used poorly since his arrival with the Texans. He is better suited for a zone scheme rather than a power-oriented offense.
Running him up the middle and expecting him to gain a tough ten yards isn’t his forte. His style of play is more jazz than it is heavy metal.
Miller has the speed and quick-twitch ability to make defenders miss but his vision as a ball carrier was often a problem when he first put on the deep steel blue jersey.
He left yards on the field in his start with the Texans but he has gradually improved in his time here in Houston. The blame lies on everyone’s shoulders.
The poor play calling certainly influences a teams development throughout a game. Head coach Bill O’Brien was the offensive coordinator in 2014 before giving those duties to George Godsey for a year. Realizing his mistake, O’Brien reclaimed the role of as the play caller.
However, switching back and forth as one of the decision makers certainly does play a negative factor on the performance of the offense. The quarterback situation and the lack of talent at the offensive line also played a role in the poor running game.
Miller had a career-low yards-per-carry, with only 3.7, and only had 888 rushing yards after having accumulated 1,073 the year before. He ranked 16th among his peers in the rushing department. D’Onta Foreman was taken early in the 2017 NFL Draft and he showed promising development before going down for the season with an Achilles injury. Foreman is a contender to get more carries in his second season if he continues to put up good numbers.
As talented as Lamar Miller is, he has to translate it into the field more often and produce like a top ten back. He’s getting paid like a top ten running back in the NFL, so he if doesn’t start performing like one, Miller might have to pursue a career elsewhere.