When asked about his goals for the 2023 season, Dameon Pierce's response is as straightforward as it gets.
"I don't know — try to get more yards, more touchdowns," Pierce said. "Be a bigger role on this offense. Be a better leader. Just get better. Get better."
A breakout star last year, Pierce surpassed 1,000 yards rushing in Week 13 before a season-ending ankle injury caused him to miss the final four games of the season. Now in his second season, Pierce will get another shot at finishing what he started as a rookie in a new offensive scheme, one that is derived from former head coach Gary Kubiak's style of offense. OC Bobby Slowik, who spent six seasons on the 49ers coaching staff, is now implementing his adaptation of the Kubiak/Kyle Shanahan scheme in Houston.
"I'd still say it's running back friendly," Pierce said. "That's one thing that excites me - We run the ball. I love that. I like the dynamic that coach Slow[ik] brings. He likes to attack the defense in every way possible. If he sees a weakness, he's going to pull that thread until the whole ball of yarn comes loose. He's going to pick at the defense, he's going to put the defense in positions where they have to think, and not where they can react. He likes a lot of movement, he likes a lot of motions, he likes putting us out, you know what I'm saying?"
In Kubiak's scheme, Arian Foster had three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing campaigns (2010-12) scoring 16, 10 and 15 rushing touchdowns, respectively. RB Steve Slaton also eclipsed 1,000 yards in 2008 and scored nine rushing touchdowns. DeMeco Ryans, who played for the Texans during some of the most productive offensive seasons in the Kubiak era, has high hopes for the 23-year-old back.
"He brings tremendous energy – not only to our offense, but to our entire team," Ryans said. "Always has a smile on his face, always working hard, improving on the little things that he has to work on. I'm excited for the season that he will have ahead of him. Not only Dameon, I think it's the complement of the guys that we have – adding Devin [Singletary], Mike [Boone], other guys there in our backfield – it's just a compliment where Dameon doesn't have to do all of it on his own. But his physical style, the speed that he plays with, the way that he's improving in his pass protection – it's been fun to watch."
The Texans wrap up their offseason program with mandatory veteran minicamp June 13-14 at the Houston Methodist Center.