The Houston Texans have named Lamar Miller as their starting running back for 2019 but they should rethink the move. Why? Let’s talk about this.
The Houston Texans are methodically putting together their 2019 roster together and there are going to be plenty of fresh faces to see in various units of the team next season. The offensive line and secondary will be the most-noticeable next season while the wide-receiving corps and the defensive line will be relatively the same.
But with the season on the horizon in the next six months, general manager Brian Gaine has already declared Lamar Miller as the starter for 2019. I expected this announcement to be made as Miller did make improvements season-over-season and he lost weight in order to be more of a speedy back.
Remember his record-breaking 97-yard touchdown run against the Tennessee Titans during Monday Night Football Week 12? That’s evidence that his strategy to make inroads in terms of being productive in this offense is working.
According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), among those RBs with a minimum of 152 snaps Miller was ranked ninth among backs with a 74.6 grade to his credit. In the grand scheme of things, that’s actually a satisfactory return by Miller.
But here’s some food for thought. PFF has Miller ranked 6th in breakaway percentage (41.8), which is a metric that measures how much backs earn their bulk of the yardage off big plays of 15 yards or more. Who leads the NFL in this stat? It’s none other than New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley (54.0).
Miller was ranked 13th in terms of elusive rating, which gauges the impact of the runner independent of the blocking as well as the difficulty of bringing him down. Miller had a 46.8 rating in 2018 and the leader of the pack was Cleveland Browns’ RB Nick Chubb (103.3).
But could the Houston Texans still do better than Miller? Absolutely. There are the Le’Veon Bells out there and Chris Wesseling of NFL.com has suggested that the Houston Texans target Tevin Coleman, who is a free agent as well.
Although I’m proud of Miller’s progress and the fact that he’s shown he’s a solid starter in this league, I’m all about putting the right parts together to ensure this team goes the distance. This is perfect opportunity more than ever for the Houston Texans to go “all-in” and try to go for a Super Bowl this season.
With some upgrades on the offensive line and in the secondary, this team has what it takes to be a contender for the championship. With the team expected to have about $80 million in cap space this off season, that should be more than enough to get what they need to help this team reach new heights.
Marc Sessler of NFL.com also reiterated my assertion about Miller and here’s what he had to say about that:
"“Texans general manager Brian Gaine recently called Lamar Miller his starter for 2019. Color me suspicious. Due $7.2 million in the final year of his deal, the 27-year-old Miller showed moments of speed and power last season, but feels like an adequate-at-best lead dude. D’Onta Foreman re-emerged for a smattering of late-season carries, but the fallout from his Achilles injury is concerning. This backfield is begging for a fresh face. Chris Wesseling’s suggestion from a recent Around the NFL Podcast — nabbing free-agent burner Tevin Coleman — makes too much sense. Upgrading one of the NFL’s junkiest O-lines wouldn’t hurt, either.”"
But there’s an interesting point that he makes that’s all in the back of our minds. We are uncertain
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of what type of production that D’Onta Foreman can give the team this season. Foreman didn’t even look remotely close to himself last season and although it was a small sample of size of just one game, we should still be concerned.
Nonetheless, I’m absolutely hopeful of a comeback for Foreman because he has been truly one of my favorite players to watch through his career, all in front of the wide-stage of the state of Texas.
Miller’s $7.2 million salary for 2018 is actually quite a bargain considering what one would likely have to spend on bringing in another talent into the fray. Bell would laugh profusely if the Houston Texans offered the same amount that Miller is making this season.
All in all, I’m okay with the Houston Texans decision but I seriously think that they need to end the era now and bring in Miller’s replacement as this is a unique opportunity the Texans have to have all of this money to spend.
Since the Texans don’t have to worry about that now, they need to put as many talented pieces as possible around Watson in order for this team to reach its full potential. Let’s get it done Gaine!
Miller, 27, rushed 210 times for 973 yards — 4.6 yards per carry — and five touchdowns through 14 starts in 2018.
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