Dameon Pierce was hard to bring down.
Pierce, who has not played a down since the fourth quarter of Week 14 as his season ended with an ankle injury, is still tied for the fourth-most yards per carry after contact at 2.3.
While the production was impressive for a rookie, it may be unsustainable for the Houston Texans’ fourth-rounder throughout the entirety of his four-year contract.
According to running backs coach Danny Barrett, the coaching staff is aware of Pierce’s bruising style in his rookie year and believe they can tinker with it to incorporate more elusive elements and keep Pierce fresh.
“We’ve already talked about it,” Barrett said. “Go look at every rep that we had last year for himself and then look at what could have we done differently with the finish, whether we’re going to run through people, which you’re going to have to do sometimes, or do we try to make a move at the second level and just make them miss. I think he has that ability to do that, and I think that’s what you’re going to see more from him in the future.”
There is evidence to suggest that Pierce can add an elusive element to his game. The Florida product had the third-most broken tackles in the league at 27, and had the third-most broken tackles per attempt at 8.1.
“He won’t be just running over people,” said Barrett. “He’ll make guys miss in space, sort of like the long touchdown run earlier in the year. He made a guy miss in space. He used his speed to get into the end zone as opposed to running through it. Those are the things we’ll look at collectively, and he’ll get better from that.”
Pierce’s 939 rushing yards were the third-best by a rookie runner in Texans history, and are still 13th in the NFL going into Week 17. No other rookie running back has more yards than Pierce in 2022.
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Story originally appeared on Texans Wire