PHOENIX – The vision for the Texans’ backfield is clear: build a dual threat with different styles in running backs Dameon Pierce and Devin Singletary.
Signed to a one-year, $3.75 million contract, Singletary is expected to complement Pierce after joining the Texans during free agency. A former Buffalo Bills starter, Singletary has a slashing, elusive style. Pierce, a Pro Bowl alternate selection as a rookie, provides power and speed. He won the NFL’s Angriest Run of the Year award for his epic, tackle-breaking display against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“Yeah, excited to have both those guys,” Texans coach DeMeco Ryans said Monday morning at the NFL owners meetings at the Arizona Biltmore. “Dameon has shown a lot from his rookie season. He’s shown that he’s a really good player, and being able to add Devin there with him to have sort of that one-two punch to have those guys balance each other out, I think it’ll be really great addition for us. Excited for what Devin can bring. He’s hungry to show that he can do more, so excited to have him in Houston.”
Singletary, 25, has rushed for 3,151 career yards and 16 touchdowns with 145 catches for 971 yards and four scores for the Bills. Singletary split time last season with James Cook, rushing for 819 yards and five touchdowns. He averaged 4.6 yards per carry and caught 38 passes for 280 yards and one touchdown.
In eight career playoff games for the Bills, Singletary has rushed for 301 yards and three touchdowns and caught 26 passes for 195 yards
Pierce busted through tackles as a rookie and displayed breakaway speed as the Texans’ featured running back.
Pierce embodies the kind of physical, tough approach that new coach DeMeco Ryans is looking for on both sides of the football.
Pierce emerged as the Texans’ most dangerous offensive player last season and should be a key figure in the offense again. The architect of the San Francisco 49ers’ top-ranked defense, Ryans is expected to emphasize a strong running game on offense to establish an aggressive, productive style. The 49ers’ versatile offensive system was built around the talents of running back Christian McCaffrey and all-around wide receiver Deebo Samuel.
“It feels good knowing we’ve got a coach that kind of has the same mentality that coach Lovie (Smith) had and it’s easier to adjust to a new staff that has kind of the same philosophy that coach Lovie had, so we already have it implemented with us so we can take it and run with it,” Pierce told KPRC 2 on Saturday during an autograph signing at Northwest Dodge. “That was a great system with the 49ers. They had success with Christian McCaffrey and (Raheem) Mostert, those types of guys. The system works.
“To see him bring it over here and add his own little twist to it and to have our guys fit in our system and make it our own, it’s exciting as an offense that’s an area of our game we want to improve on from last year and that’s the right direction we need to head in terms of the team we are and playing to our strengths. I think with the attitude and system and history of winning he comes from it will fit very well into what he wants to have happen here.”
A former Pro Bowl linebacker, NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year with the Texans, Ryans is eager to put his imprint on the Texans. That includes a vision of building with players like Pierce, who rushed for 939 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie after being drafted in the fourth round out of Florida.
“I think he did what he had to do,” Ryans said. “He showed some toughness, he showed some competitive fight in him. I love the way he runs, I love his style, and it’s a style that I really want to continue to feed him. I think that style of running is just, it excites the entire team. He runs with an attitude that I really like and want to see him continue to build his game off of that, but I’m excited to see where Dameon, his growth from year one to year two.”
Aaron Wilson is a Texans and NFL reporter for KPRC 2 and click2houston.com