Texans coach Lovie Smith expects running backs to contribute in passing game

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton’s scheme is run heavy, and the running backs and tight ends figure to be a key part of the Houston Texans’ offense in 2022.

However, it isn’t just the running backs’ ability to carry the ball that will be key for the offense. According to coach Lovie Smith, the Texans are also looking for their running backs to play a part in the passing game.

“Running backs just in general, we have six that we’re going to play, that we’re playing a lot,” Smith told reporters after the fourth day of training camp practice Tuesday at Houston Methodist Training Center. “They will sort it out. But if you play running back for us, you need to be able to catch the ball on the outside. You need to be able to split out, matchups. It’s a lot easier for a wide receiver or a running back to maneuver in an open field as opposed to coming out of the backfield. That will be a big part of what we’ll be doing.”

David Johnson was the most prolific running back for Houston in the passing game last year as he caught 32 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown. Houston won’t have Johnson’s services in 2022, which means there may be more opportunities for Rex Burkhead, who caught 25 passes for 186 yards last year.

Fourth-round pick Dameon Pierce generated 13 rushing touchdowns on 100 carries for Florida, but he was also productive in the passing game with 19 catches for 216 yards and three touchdowns.

One of Dare Ogunbowale’s best seasons as a pass-catching back was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2019 when he caught 35 passes for 286 yards.

Darius Anderson has been a practice squad member of the Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, and Texans since 2020, but in his final year at TCU, he caught 22 passes for 128 yards.

Royce Freeman’s best season was with the Denver Broncos in 2019 when he hauled in 43 receptions for 256 yards and a touchdown.

In addition to getting the run game going, if the Texans are able to have their backs contribute in the passing game, it should keep the offense diverse and not allow the defense to easily stifle the Texans’ drives.

Story originally appeared on Texans Wire