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What's wrong with the running game & how do we fix it?

Texas Jake

Rookie
I think this line needs more time together. We lost one major piece when our 1st round pick went on IR. We also have rookies who should benefit from an off season NFL strength and conditioning program. I think year two should see improvement and a better run blocking o-line.

As gut wrenching as the loss was, I can see this team coming back stronger next year if the o-line improves (and I think it should) and we can fix the defense.
 

powda

Founding father of the W.B.
How about not running fast guys up the middle and the slower guys outside? How about not having the most mind numbingly predictable run game and tendencies? How about finally getting a legitimate ol coach?

I think most of the pieces (talent) are already in place. We need a new oc. And hc. And gm.
 

Texas Jake

Rookie
Stop running the ball up the middle from the shotgun formation 85% of the time.
If we are going to pound the rock, I would like to see us run more two back sets with the QB under center and more play action. I think Watson needs to work on selling the play action better. You have to sell it both when you make the handoff and when you keep it. I loved the way Pastorini used to hide the ball on his hip on the fake. He also played it the same when he made the hand off, dropping back like he had the ball. This really keeps the defense guessing and freezes the linebackers. The play action has become a lost art to some extent. QBs were generally much better at it back when it was more a run-first game.
 

otisbean

Veteran
Contributor's Club
I think the OL should improve as the rookies develop. I’m not a Develin fan so I’d be for hiring a new OL coach. I’m also in favor of replacing Fulton as a starter. I think he’s fine as a back up but I think he played poorly this year, he gets almost no push in the run game.

I also agree that therun game scheme needs adjustments. I’m also in favor of drafting a 3 down running back. A stable of Hyde, Johnson and a true 3 down back would be great
 

Earl34

Rookie
Because of how much Jackson is running and adds to the running game, I would consider the Ravens an anomaly.

Look at the teams playing in the championship games. Reid has always run a pass happy offense. However look at the percentage for the other teams. Look at the Saints and Patriots. Hell, look at the best offense besides the Ravens.

I stand by my opinion.
 

ArlingtonTexan

Moderator
Staff member
Because of how much Jackson is running and adds to the running game, I would consider the Ravens an anomaly.

Look at the teams playing in the championship games. Reid has always run a pass happy offense. However look at the percentage for the other teams. Look at the Saints and Patriots. Hell, look at the best offense besides the Ravens.

I stand by my opinion.
Simply, the teams with the highest shot gun-running percentage have mobile QBs using a variety of RPO, read options and even designed runs.

BTW, this flies in the face of BOB not changing his offense to fit the talents of his QB, but I don't like O'Brien either so I am not going past there.

Posted for the FACT that Ravens had a near history running offense (yes regular season) which was ran nearly exclusively out of the shotgun, more than any thought that I was going to change your mind.
 

Earl34

Rookie
Simply, the teams with the highest shot gun-running percentage have mobile QBs using a variety of RPO, read options and even designed runs.

BTW, this flies in the face of BOB not changing his offense to fit the talents of his QB, but I don't like O'Brien either so I am not going past there.

Posted for the FACT that Ravens had a near history running offense (yes regular season) which was ran nearly exclusively out of the shotgun, more than any thought that I was going to change your mind.
I can see your point regarding the teams using shotgun with mobile QBs to use a variety of RPO, read options and designed runs.

However, looking at the Texans offense do you see a variety of RPO, read options and design runs when they are in shotgun?
 
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Hervoyel

BUENO!
We have backs (now free agents as TheKDog states) who are really not good fits for the kind of stuff Bill O'Brien seems to want to do. Derrick Henry seems to be like some kind of perfect example of what Butt-Chin is after and instead he just kind of bounces from year to year picking up whatever back happens to be around and available. We have not had real talent at RB since Arian Foster retired.
 

santo

All Pro
Contributor's Club
We have backs (now free agents as TheKDog states) who are really not good fits for the kind of stuff Bill O'Brien seems to want to do. Derrick Henry seems to be like some kind of perfect example of what Butt-Chin is after and instead he just kind of bounces from year to year picking up whatever back happens to be around and available. We have not had real talent at RB since Arian Foster retired.
Maybe he thinks because Arian was undrafted, that he doesn't need to draft a RB so high in the draft.
 

ArlingtonTexan

Moderator
Staff member
I can see your point regarding the teams using shotgun with mobile QBs to use a variety of RPO, read options and designed runs.

However, looking at the Texans offense do you see a variety of RPO, read options and design runs when they are in shotgun?
[/QUOTE
Yes, I see the Texans run that stuff, and I would argue that the stuff ran off tackle is the most effective portion of the run game
 

Speedy

Yeller Dweller
We have backs (now free agents as TheKDog states) who are really not good fits for the kind of stuff Bill O'Brien seems to want to do. Derrick Henry seems to be like some kind of perfect example of what Butt-Chin is after and instead he just kind of bounces from year to year picking up whatever back happens to be around and available. We have not had real talent at RB since Arian Foster retired.
You mean like he was doing with QBs his 1st 3 years? Yeah, he kinda does that.
 
I have no idea if Cullen Gillaspia is good, but using your fullback more could work.
Or since you have two good RBs, use dual RB sets or stretch the field horizontally instead of vertically. That's what the Pats did when their OL sucked.
 

Earl34

Rookie
I have no idea if Cullen Gillaspia is good, but using your fullback more could work.
Or since you have two good RBs, use dual RB sets or stretch the field horizontally instead of vertically. That's what the Pats did when their OL sucked.
Exactly. If using a FB more is good enough for the Packers, 49ers, Rams, Saints and Patriots, why isn't it good enough for the Texans? Especially when you consider they want to be a running team with a bad OL and TEs who are terrible blockers or consistently missing their blocking assignments. What do you have to lose?
 

ArlingtonTexan

Moderator
Staff member
Okay. I think we will have to agree to disagree on this one. I don’t see them running any of those with the frequency that would justify spending so much time in the shotgun.
I am not scout filming watching and counting so I take no harm in that. Generally, what sticks out is that the dive or straight-up middle plays are not that effective (versus the Raven's version of the same stuff). The Texans were 9th in the NFL in rushing during the regular season in both yards and YPC...It wasn't just the QB scrambling around on busted pass plays. More good than bad, but obviously not dominate.
 

OptimisticTexan

Hall of Fame
1. New OL Coach
2. New Offensive Scheme
3. Lose Fulton, Kelemete, and Clark
4. Out-Bid other NFL Teams for RG, Brandon Scherff
5. Get RT, Howard Back Healthy
6. Starting OL for 2020:
LT- Tunsil
LG- Scharping
OC- Martin
RG- Scherff
RT- Howard

The running game would be greatly enhanced with these moves. Hyde and Johnson would be just fine as the starting RB's in 2020.
 

Corrosion

Idealist
Staff member

The difference is two fold - the personnel , they have a great RB and a QB who excels in the RPO then , when they run the ROP , they are running it as a true option. The Texans don't run it as a true option , DE crashes down on the RB the QB keeps it - Watson usually hands it off anyway.

I don't particularly like the spread / RPO / pistol set or whatever you want to label it but the objective is to gain an advantage in numbers with it - when that DE crashes in , you have an advantage outside and should keep it. If the DE stays home , you have an advantage in numbers inside and hand it to the RB.

If you are gonna run it , do it right …. not this halfassery making it nothing more than a poor excuse for deception more often than not.

I'm wondering if OB understand the concept ? I'm sure Watson does as I've seen video of Dabo teaching the offense and its concepts.
 

texanhead08

All Pro
We ran the ball pretty good from Sept-Nov the past 2 seasons. We couldn't run worth **** in Dec-Jan the past 2 years. What is happening late in the year that when we need the running game it goes south ?
 

thunderkyss

It's good to be me... again.
Staff member
Contributor's Club
We ran the ball pretty good from Sept-Nov the past 2 seasons. We couldn't run worth **** in Dec-Jan the past 2 years. What is happening late in the year that when we need the running game it goes south ?
Every year is a new year. Teams are figuring out who they are & how to play together every year. By the end of November they pretty much got it figured out & they have a good idea who they are playing.

It really hurts a team that has to start from scratch every year.
 

ArlingtonTexan

Moderator
Staff member
The difference is two fold - the personnel , they have a great RB and a QB who excels in the RPO then , when they run the ROP , they are running it as a true option. The Texans don't run it as a true option , DE crashes down on the RB the QB keeps it - Watson usually hands it off anyway.

I don't particularly like the spread / RPO / pistol set or whatever you want to label it but the objective is to gain an advantage in numbers with it - when that DE crashes in , you have an advantage outside and should keep it. If the DE stays home , you have an advantage in numbers inside and hand it to the RB.

If you are gonna run it , do it right …. not this halfassery making it nothing more than a poor excuse for deception more often than not.

I'm wondering if OB understand the concept ? I'm sure Watson does as I've seen video of Dabo teaching the offense and its concepts.
Yes, but the Ravens also went the equal of full vegan while the rest of the league (including the Texans) mixed in salads for Taco Tuesday and leftover night. Being a full vegan didn't look good in the playoff game against the Titans.

Also, I think Watson is a mixed diet QB versus Lamar Jackson's full RPO. Watson is effective as a runner not uniquely dynamic like Jackson.
 

Corrosion

Idealist
Staff member
Yes, but the Ravens also went the equal of full vegan while the rest of the league (including the Texans) mixed in salads for Taco Tuesday and leftover night. Being a full vegan didn't look good in the playoff game against the Titans.

Also, I think Watson is a mixed diet QB versus Lamar Jackson's full RPO. Watson is effective as a runner not uniquely dynamic like Jackson.

My point was that if you are going to run the concept - You have to take advantage of its perks.

When the DE crashes down on the RB , you have a numbers advantage outside , that means you have a disadvantage inside - Yet Watson more often than not wouldn't pull it back and the RB runs into that numbers disadvantage …. and we wonder why that play often leads to 2nd and long ….

This same principal goes into pulling guards from one side to the opposite in a power or zone schemes - its about creating a numbers advantage. When you pull that guard , you aren't going to run into the side he pulled from. For all intents and purposes , that's exactly what they are doing when Watson doesn't pull it back when the DE crashes down on the RB.
 

ArlingtonTexan

Moderator
Staff member
My point was that if you are going to run the concept - You have to take advantage of its perks.

When the DE crashes down on the RB , you have a numbers advantage outside , that means you have a disadvantage inside - Yet Watson more often than not wouldn't pull it back and the RB runs into that numbers disadvantage …. and we wonder why that play often leads to 2nd and long ….

This same principal goes into pulling guards from one side to the opposite in a power or zone schemes - its about creating a numbers advantage. When you pull that guard , you aren't going to run into the side he pulled from. For all intents and purposes , that's exactly what they are doing when Watson doesn't pull it back when the DE crashes down on the RB.
Yes, you are detailing over disagreeing. My thought is that the Texans (nor any non-Raven team) runs the RPO stuff well as possible, more because it is a supplement to the offense versus the core function it became is Baltimore.
 

austins23

Hall of Fame
If we are going to pound the rock, I would like to see us run more two back sets with the QB under center and more play action
There is a fullback on the roster. The one game he was in he blocked and was truckin fools. Not sure why he is not involved more in the running game. He can run pass routes and could/should be involved more in the passing game as well. See the FB in SF....
 

Corrosion

Idealist
Staff member
There is a fullback on the roster. The one game he was in he blocked and was truckin fools. Not sure why he is not involved more in the running game. He can run pass routes and could/should be involved more in the passing game as well. See the FB in SF....

Aint no FB in the pistol.

They don't run the I.

No FB in the spread either ...

They don't use him in the Jumbo.

Cant truck some fools from the sidelines.
 

Corrosion

Idealist
Staff member
Yes, you are detailing over disagreeing. My thought is that the Texans (nor any non-Raven team) runs the RPO stuff well as possible, more because it is a supplement to the offense versus the core function it became is Baltimore.
(Forgive me if I sound argumentative)

Isn't the devil in the details ?

Isn't this thread about the details ? What's wrong with the running game - how to fix it ?!

As for it being a supplement to the Texans offense - What percentage of plays are they in that set ? What percentage of runs comes from it ? Both numbers are high. It is a core concept of their offense …. that they aren't fully taking advantage of.

Really you have to wonder if its Watson who isn't pulling it or if its OB who thinks its cute to run that play as a designed run and ditch the "option" part. I'm sure part of that is not wanting to expose Watson to unnecessary hits …. But if you aren't going to execute the play according to the concept of generating an advantage , why bother when running it has you running into a disadvantage ?
 
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ArlingtonTexan

Moderator
Staff member
(Forgive me if I sound argumentative)

Isn't the devil in the details ?

Isn't this thread about the details ? What's wrong with the running game - how to fix it ?!

As for it being a supplement to the Texans offense - What percentage of plays are they in that set ? What percentage of runs comes from it ? Both numbers are high. It is a core concept of their offense …. that they aren't fully taking advantage of.

Really you have to wonder if its Watson who isn't pulling it or if its OB who thinks its cute to run that play as a designed run and ditch the "option" part. I'm sure part of that is not wanting to expose Watson to unnecessary hits …. But if you aren't going to execute the play according to the concept of generating an advantage , why bother when running it has you running into a disadvantage ?
My short answer is that I don't think the RPO has been run to the disadvantage that you think, but I looking through mostly a nerdy fan's eye than watching as a scout or a coach. I am at it could better but far from just ineffective as I reading in this conversation/thread.
 

Earl34

Rookie
There is a fullback on the roster. The one game he was in he blocked and was truckin fools. Not sure why he is not involved more in the running game. He can run pass routes and could/should be involved more in the passing game as well. See the FB in SF....
Every year there is something that does not work on offense and for whatever reason, O'Brien and his coaching staff cannot identify or fix the issue during the season. I wouldn't be surprise if they fix the running game and the slow starts next year. However, be prepared for something else to be an issue.

Here is an example of a resource right under his nose that he could use in the running game. SMDH
 

amazing80

Fire Billy O
I am not scout filming watching and counting so I take no harm in that. Generally, what sticks out is that the dive or straight-up middle plays are not that effective (versus the Raven's version of the same stuff). The Texans were 9th in the NFL in rushing during the regular season in both yards and YPC...It wasn't just the QB scrambling around on busted pass plays. More good than bad, but obviously not dominate.
I think this goes back to OB calling run plays at bad times and having no feel for calling a game and planning an attack on an opponent.
 

RGV82

Random guy
We will not know anything until the draft regarding our RB status. Even though RB is not our top priority, I have heard rumblings that we may go for Travis Etienne if he is still available in the 2nd round. If somehow we got him, he would be our new feature 3 down back. If we end up drafting a RB in the later rounds, we will have to keep either Hyde or Duke to work with the new RB - depending on if we take a power back or a 3rd down back in the draft.
 

Texas Jake

Rookie
We will not know anything until the draft regarding our RB status. Even though RB is not our top priority, I have heard rumblings that we may go for Travis Etienne if he is still available in the 2nd round. If somehow we got him, he would be our new feature 3 down back. If we end up drafting a RB in the later rounds, we will have to keep either Hyde or Duke to work with the new RB - depending on if we take a power back or a 3rd down back in the draft.
I am fine with keeping both Hyde and DJ and concentrating on the defense in the draft. I would like to add a good pass rusher and CB.
 

RGV82

Random guy
I am fine with keeping both Hyde and DJ and concentrating on the defense in the draft. I would like to add a good pass rusher and CB.
I can almost guarantee you that we are taking a RB in the draft that will somehow factor into our running game next year. Whether its Etienne in round 2, or someone else in the later rounds, I doubt Hyde AND Duke are both back next year. One will be gone.
 

Texas Jake

Rookie
I can almost guarantee you that we are taking a RB in the draft that will somehow factor into our running game next year. Whether its Etienne in round 2, or someone else in the later rounds, I doubt Hyde AND Duke are both back next year. One will be gone.
I can see ot going either way and a lot will depend on what players are on the board when you pick. You have to try and fill holes, but you can't pass up a premium value if it falls to you.

The o-line should improve next year with more playing time together, more experience for young players and improved strength and conditioning for the rookies. If that is the case, the run game should improve with the same cast of players. Not saying I am opposed to an upgrade if available, though.
 

IDEXAN

Hall of Fame
1. New OL Coach
2. New Offensive Scheme
3. Lose Fulton, Kelemete, and Clark
4. Out-Bid other NFL Teams for RG, Brandon Scherff
5. Get RT, Howard Back Healthy
6. Starting OL for 2020:
LT- Tunsil
LG- Scharping
OC- Martin
RG- Scherff
RT- Howard

The running game would be greatly enhanced with these moves. Hyde and Johnson would be just fine as the starting RB's in 2020.
Really cap space is a finite resource and I dunno how we have the luxury of going in big for the OLine again so soon after 2019, especially with the realization that our defense desperately needs upgrades ( for referanse see Houston Texans in the 2020 P/Os giving up 50 points after getting up by 24 against opponent).
You've heard the saying about R/E - location, location, location ! OK here's another one I'm going to coin right now: Texans 2020 Draft/ free agency - defense, defense, defense !
 

OptimisticTexan

Hall of Fame
Really cap space is a finite resource and I dunno how we have the luxury of going in big for the OLine again so soon after 2019, especially with the realization that our defense desperately needs upgrades ( for referanse see Houston Texans in the 2020 P/Os giving up 50 points after getting up by 24 against opponent).
You've heard the saying about R/E - location, location, location ! OK here's another one I'm going to coin right now: Texans 2020 Draft/ free agency - defense, defense, defense !
The signing of Scherff could open the draft to be defensive minded from beginning to end. The Texans would need to re-sign Stills, Hyde and Fells. This offense would be just fine with a more creative gameplan. As a fan......we can only hope that Fuller finds a way to stay healthy so the Texans can find a way to negotiate down his 2020 10M+ cap hit. I feel like Fuller would be willing to listen provided the Texans want to roll the dice.....if not the Texans could be forced to release him.
 
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