Lovie reflects on Pierce, Stingley Jr. rookie seasons

Dec 18, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans head coach Lovie Smith walks on the field before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Lovie reflects on Pierce, Stingley Jr. rookie seasons

Saturday, the Houston Texans announced they had placed both running back Dameon Pierce and defensive back Derek Stingley Jr. on injured reserve, effectively ending their seasons.

Both rookies played significant roles with the Texans this season. Stingley, the third overall pick, came in with high expectations. Pierce, a fourth-round pick, showed he was much more than expected when he was drafted. Both players were starters by Week 2, although an easy case can be made they both should have started immediately.

Monday, Texans head coach Lovie Smith reflected on both players’ seasons when meeting with the media.

Smith raved about Pierce, easily the most impressive player of the Texans’ rookie class this season.

“He had an outstanding year. Let’s start with that. Anytime you are a rookie, and you get playing time, is saying an awful lot. To be one of the best running backs in football during that rookie year says even more. He was everything we’d hoped and wanted him to be. Just excited about his future. He’ll eventually get well and be back in the backfield for us, being our starting tailback.”

Pierce played 13 games finishing his rookie season with 939 rushing yards, four rushing touchdowns, and averaged 4.3 YPC. He also had 30 receptions for 165 yards and another touchdown.

Stingley came into the league with very high expectations as the third overall pick, showing flashes of brilliance amid first-year struggles.

Smith praised his young corner for his attitude and his progress and expressed high expectations for him in the future.

“It seemed like a while ago. We’ve liked everything about Derek Stingley when he has played. Another one of our guys who came in behind a little bit with his injury. But now, those guys have a chance to really develop their bodies and get healthy. I know they’re into ball. Derek is all meetings, all the guys are getting as many mental reps as they can, which will only help them to see what it takes to win, and it takes an awful lot. How hard it is to win in this league. All these things to help them as they go forward.”

In nine games, Stingley recorded 43 tackles, an interception, and a sack.

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