Though a rookie, Texans RB Dameon Pierce needs to have a strong season.
The 2022 Houston Texans won’t be picked by many (if anyone) to be a playoff contender or to even be a team that hovers around the .500 mark, but that’s OK. Games are won on the field with players perfecting the game plan each and every week.
This season, a rookie running back is going to have to have a strong season right off the bat for the Texans to not only be a competitive team in each game they play, but to build off of for future seasons too.
That player is Dameon Pierce, and he’s going to need to be at his very best when Week 1 rolls around when the Texans host the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium.
Last week in a press conference with Houston media (transcripts provided by HoustonTexans.com) fellow running back Rex Burkhead spoke about Pierce and what he brings to the Texans in ’22:
"“Yeah, a lot of energy, a lot of energy. You know, rookie coming in. He finishes plays. He’s trying to learn as much as he can as quickly as possible, and that’s what you’ve got to do as a rookie. You’ve got to learn it quick but also don’t let it get all jumbled in your mind when you get out there on the field. Every day he seems more confident, he’s moving quicker, and the game is starting to slow down.”"
Pierce might be the most exciting player to be added to the Houston roster this offseason, and that is saying a lot as the Texans had a very solid draft this past April. The addition of Pierce gives the Texans a strong power option with some nice speed at running back to be added in with Marlon Mack and Burkhead.
Pierce doesn’t have to be the best player on the Texans, but if he’s successful with his power game when called upon — imagine him in short-yardage and goal line situations — then the Texans offense will be a success in the first season with Pep Hamilton as the offensive coordinator.
While at the University of Florida, Pierce averaged 5.5 yards per carry in four seasons, including 5.7 ypc his senior season. Pierce didn’t have a lot of wear and tear on his body in terms of carries for his four seasons with the Gators, totaling 329 carries for 1806 yards.
Pierce’s carry totals for the Gators each season were 69, 54, 106, and 100. He also totaled 23 rushing scores at Florida. He can catch passes too, with Pierce having 45 career receptions for 422 yards, averaging 9.4 yards per reception as a running back. In ’21 as a senior, Pierce caught 19 passes for 216 yards with three touchdowns.
With the Texans selecting Pierce in the fourth round (104th pick overall), he’s going to play an important role with Hamilton calling the plays this season.
Hamilton will also get to work off Mack and Burkhead, so he won’t need to be the top rusher each game. His role (whatever the Texans make it) will be important and his success will be needed for team success in ’22, but don’t be surprised when the Texans need a short-yardage first down that Pierce will be carrying the football.