HOUSTON, TEXAS – SEPTEMBER 11: Dameon Pierce #31 of the Houston Texans carries the ball during the first half against the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
The rookie RB was out-touched by veteran Rex Burkhead 19-12 in Week 1.
Dameon Pierce impressed so much in training camp, and in the preseason, he made Marlon Mack expendable. Pierce became the Texans’ top running back. He wasn’t utilized that way in Week 1, however.
Texans head coach Lovie Smith told the media today the team knows it needs to get Pierce more involved:
“We need to get Dameon (Pierce) more touches. Without giving the Broncos our total game plan, that’s what we need to do. You look at the reps; that’s why, as you play, evaluation is looking at those things too. You can get in a game, and situations dictate; you may have to lean a little bit in the one direction after you analyze it more; you wish you hadn’t. I just know this week we’re going to try to get him more touches.”
Pierce was notably not on the field during a critical 3rd & 1 play late in overtime that Smith saw as “two down territory” before Rex Burkhead lost 2 yards on the play, and Smith changed his mind and decided to punt. On Wednesday, however, the coach tried to look at Pierce’s lower usage from a positive point of view:
“Knowing Dameon (Pierce), that’s the only way I would see him taking that (as a learning opportunity). Being a team member and our one running back is not going to get every carry, so we’re going to play two guys. How many reps? Of course, we’ll have to analyze that. That’s how he is. He’s a team player, and he’s excited about Week 2, and that’s it. You leave what happened there, and like all players, we’re all saying we should have done a few things differently. But we get another chance at that. We took a couple looks; he’ll be fresher as I see it. How about Dameon Pierce, who’s going to be fresher this week because we didn’t play him as much? How about the glass being half full that way.”
While some people may appreciate Lovie’s snark more than others, these two things both remain evident:
- The Texans need to utilize their powerful rookie RB more
- This job will very much be a timeshare for the foreseeable future between Pierce and Burkhead