The Texans need to run the ball better. That's a broad statement and Offensive Line Coach George Warhop is focused on one specific part of improving that production.
"The way I look at the run game, it's about yards per carry, because we can't dictate how many carries a back's going to get in the game." Warhop said. "It's all based on how the game's going to go. So if we're getting a lot of carries, that's great. We might get 140, 150 yards rushing, but if we're getting minimal carries, we might be less than that. I like that to be above 4.2, 4.3, 4.4 or somewhere in there."
Warhop was one of several assistant coaches who met with the media at NRG Stadium on Tuesday morning.
In 2020, the Texans ground attack averaged an NFL-worst 3.4 yards per rush attempt. New Head Coach Lovie Smith is intent on making that number go north. He worked with Warhop in Tampa Bay in 2014 and 2015.
Warhop, meanwhile, spent the past three seasons as the O-line coach in Jacksonville. In that trio of years, the Jaguars averaged 4.4 yards per carry in 2019 and 4.5 yards per carry in both 2020 and 2021. Warhop explained how improvement will happen.
"It just starts with our mentality up front," Warhop said. "It's us. It's the (running) back. It's the receivers. It's all of it. So to be a successful run team, everybody puts it on the (offensive) line. If it's just on the line, we're going to be a 3.8 to 4 yard (per carry) average team. If everybody's involved in it, and we have a real back and we're doing what we're supposed to do, then you're going to be 4.5, 4.6. 4.7 a carry."
Warhop's coached offensive lines in the NFL since entering the league in 1996 with St. Louis. With stops in Arizona, Dallas, San Francisco, Cleveland and Tampa Bay, before his stint in Jacksonville, the 60-year old is long on experience. He said there's no "gray" area when it comes to expectations, and described his coaching style.
"Demanding. Fair. I'm going to hold them to the same level of accountability I hold myself. So as we go through stuff, I don't know if this is a great definition of myself, but I know how I like to be treated. And I try to treat my players the same way as I like to be treated," Warhop said.
One step in the process of improving the run game, and the team itself, happens next week in Indianapolis. The NFL Scouting Combine begins there on Monday, and the Texans' coaching and personnel staffs will be there evaluating Draft hopefuls.