The Houston Texans hope to capitalize on the versatility that Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson bring to the run game.
“Definitely a good start,” Hyde said after the game. “I just need to get back to practice, build off of this, continue to build this relationship with the o-line, the tight ends and also the receivers, even the quarterback. I need to get on the same page as everybody. I can do more than just run the ball, I can go out there and catch routes too. I’ll just keep working.”
Despite falling 30-28 to the New Orleans Saints on Monday night, the Texans were able to collectively rush for 180 yards on 23 carries. In their first game as Texans, Hyde and Johnson got the run game off to a fast start.
“There was some good blocking up front,” head coach Bill O’Brien said Tuesday. “I thought the line and the tight ends did a good job. I think there's even some yards that we left out there that we can really work on with Carlos and with Duke and continue to get better, but it was encouraging to see how well we did run the ball."
Hyde rushed for a team-high 83 yards, averaging 8.3 yards per carry after joining the Texans just over one week earlier on Aug. 31. The sixth-year veteran has played for three teams over the last year, being traded from Cleveland to Jacksonville prior to Week 7 last year before a brief stint with Kansas City this offseason. Johnson picked up 90 yards from scrimmage on Monday night. The former third-round pick of the Cleveland Browns, had nine carries for 57 yards, including a game-long 32-yard run in the fourth quarter, and four catches for 33 yards.
Because of their unique skillsets, one or both backs could see their roles change moving forward to keep defenses guessing.
“I think every game is going to be different,” O’Brien said. “Every week is going to be a little bit different how we decide to use those guys, but both of those guys played well. They did some good things. There's some things we can clean up with both of them, but they both ran hard, they did some good things in the passing game, especially Duke in the passing game also. There's a lot to build on with those two guys."
The Texans will next face the Jacksonville Jaguars in their home opener on Sunday. Kickoff is set for 12 noon CT on CBS and SportsRadio 610.