Why is the Texans Run game stuck in neutral?
HOUSTON – When the Houston Texans built this list, they did so with the intention of having a dynamic running game.
This included the presence of three former Pro Bowl selections in the backfield and an unusually high commitment of five running backs on the 53-man roster.
Despite these facts, the results have been extremely disappointing.
After three games in the season, the 1-2 Texans are averaging 94.7 rushing yards per game to rank 22nd overall in rushing attacking. They are 31st in average yards per carry with 3.3 yards per carry.
The Texans rushed for 42 yards on 17 carries for an average of 2.5 yards per carry against the Carolina Panthers’ top defense. The task of establishing a running game to back up rookie quarterback Davis Mills didn’t get any easier Sunday on the road against the seventh-ranked Buffalo Bills run defense.
Under 55 rushing yards for injured starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor and two more runs and the Texans running backs combined for 225 rushing yards on 77 carries for 2.92 yards per carry. Overall, the Texans have racked up 284 yards on 86 carries.
Against the Panthers, the running backs totaled 37 yards on 15 carries.
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“Sometimes it’s like that,” said three-time Pro Bowl running back Mark Ingram, the Texans’ top rusher with 147 yards. “They have a good front. Obviously they had a good plan. We just have to find a way to be more successful.
“I think each individual looks at themselves, watches the film, corrects the film and sees what they need to do to change the results. So, I don’t think that was a rhyme or a reason. I think it was. a tough match for us and we just need to find a way to do better.
Ingram, 31, has the longest run of the season by a Texans running back: an 11-yard scrum game. He’s averaging 49 rushing yards per game. The longest run of the season came in a 29-yard run by Taylor, who is in the injured reserve with level 2 hamstring strain.
Ingram’s workload continues to be reduced after gaining 85 yards in a season opener win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“It’s just the team we play,” Texans coach David Culley said. “It just turned out that last week we didn’t play very well. We did not stay in the field very long. We didn’t have a lot of games and it had something to do with why his races were going down, but it wasn’t intentional. It just happened because we didn’t play very well and didn’t handle the ball very well.
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David Johnson, the Texans’ first rusher last season, totaled 11 points this season for 46 yards. He has five catches for 40 yards and one touchdown on six targets. The Texans had the 31st running game in the NFL standings last season with Johnson as the main running back.
And Phillip Lindsay, a 1,000-yard double-runner with the Denver Broncos, has 20 carries for 32 yards for an average of 1.6 yards per carry. He has a touchdown point and a touchdown catch. The Texans have Rex Burkhead and Scottie Phillips on the roster, but neither player has a carry.
Veteran Texans center Justin Britt urged patience with the running game, noting the number of new players and the need to create timing.
“We just have to stay one step ahead of the sticks and not let the game start to slip away from us where we are in the position where we have to pitch to stay in the game,” said Britt. “I don’t think there is a need to panic or that a drastic change needs to happen. We just have to stay there, have a goal in training for what we’re doing, have a game plan individually, as a group, offensively, get out there and pick one thing to improve and just work on it.
“It’s something that will come over time. There are a lot of new parts. There are going to be hiccups. Even very good running teams will have a bad day, so we don’t panic. We’re not worried, we just know that we don’t have to be complacent and that we have to come every day with a goal, and that starts on Wednesday.
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The Texans are averaging 2.93 yards behind left offensive guard Tytus Howard, a former first-round draft pick who is a natural right tackle. The racing game has not been particularly effective in any direction other than some success with outdoor racing.
“I feel like he’s had a lot of time to adjust,” Britt said. “He’s going to have things. You will see things in games that you will not see in practice. You go against (Bills defensive tackle) Ed Oliver, you go against (Bills defensive tackle) Star (Lotulelei), we don’t practice against these guys.
“Every week you’re going to have a new look, a new opponent, a new way of playing things. With him it’s just repetition. He’ll see something once in a game and it won’t happen again, and vice versa. Just reps, just time. Tytus is a pro, he’s a good pro. There’s a reason he was drafted high and why he’s here, and why they trust him to play on the left side.
To provide support for Mills against an aggressive Bills seven front, the running game needs to be stepped up and sustained. It could also prevent the defense from being on the pitch for too long and not getting tired.
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“I always want to have control of the ball, I still want to have control of possession time,” said Ingram. “Obviously when you have a prolific offense that scores a lot of points, the No. 1 asset is the running game and the ball catch. You know, possession time, controlling the ball, moving the sticks, keeping them on the sidelines, keeping your defense at rest, giving them limited scoring opportunities.
“That’s why it’s so important to be able to move the chains, to stay the course, to have these practices and to maintain practices where their attack is not on the field, that they are on the sidelines and that our defense is resting and recovering and when they get out there they can make the plays necessary to slow them down, stop them and get turnovers and give us those extra possessions so we can keep them on the sidelines. will be an important point for us.
The Texans had a lot of trouble with disruptive Panthers defensive tackle Derrick Brown, a former Auburn first-round pick. He was constantly in the backfield of the Texans and broke blocking attempts.
“Yeah, that was a load,” Britt said. “He’s a good player, he will be for many years to come. This is another example. We don’t have a guy of that size or that stature on this team who can create problems that way. It will be good for us overall not to have a game like we did against Carolina, but seeing a defense like and just seeing different staff and getting the reps against those is going to be good for us. on the road.
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