Experience can be the best teacher.
Dameon Pierce had five carries for 49 yards in his first preseason game as a rookie against the New Orleans Saints in 2022. The fourth-rounder generated a 9.8 yards per carry along with a 20-yard run to effectively seal the deal as the Houston Texans’ starting running back.
The reality is Pierce was anxious in his first preseason game, which is why he understood where rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud was coming from when the Texans kicked off preseason against the New England Patriots.
“That’s kind of like me last year in my first preseason game,” Pierce said via video from KPRC-TV’s Aaron Wilson. “Spinning when I played my first NFL game, as you can see when we play the Patriots. It was a new form, kind of fast.”
Stroud went 2-of-4 for 13 yards and an interception on two drives in the 20-9 win. While the performance wasn’t stellar as Pierce’s entry, it nevertheless gave Stroud the opportunity to learn.
“Then come around Week 2 of preseason he looked like a completely different player,” Pierce said.
Against the Miami Dolphins in the 28-3 loss, the No. 2 overall pick completed seven passes on 12 attempts for 60 yards. Although Stroud did not score a touchdown, the rookie gave the appearance of a steady field general during his snaps in the first half.
As the Texans wrap up their 2023 exhibition slate against the Saints Aug. 27 at the Caesars Superdome, Pierce believes Stroud will continue the climb.
“I expect him to keep growing in that area and keep continuing to make strides and be one of the premier playmakers on this team,” said Pierce.