Lovie Smith on starting running back job: “We’ll let it play out”


For the preseason opener against the Saints, the Texans’ depth chart at running back went like this: Marlon Mack, Rex Burkhead, Dameon Pierce.

It may not stay that way when Week One rolls around.

On Wednesday, coach Lovie Smith was asked to identify what he’s looking for when determining the regular-season starter.

“I think you let guys play,” Smith told reporters. “They kind of tell you who should start, who should be on the roster, how many plays they should get. We’ve been going through training camp, practice, we’ve seen a lot, but to see guys finish, I thought that was a big game. Of course, we talked a lot about Dameon. Then you have history a little bit, too, on what we’ve seen from some of the veteran players. It’s good competition there. They all have a certain strength, and we’ll let it play out.”

There’ a certain simple wisdom in the approach. Someone will declare himself to be the guy. Maybe it’s something that will have to be proven every game. Or maybe the Texans will strategically share the load.

The only problem with splitting carries in a given game is that some running backs get better as the game progresses, wearing down the guys who keep trying to track him down and tackle him. It’s important to be sensitive to the possibility that, the more a guy is fed, the hungrier he runs.

Regardless, the Texans have two guys who have gotten it done and a rookie who is showing real promise. Whoever is getting the carries, they have a chance to be in good shape at the position.

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