Few run yards up the middle for Texans

Posted by ESPN.com’s Paul Kuharsky

In a breakdown of runs up the middle by ESPN Stats & Information, Chris Johnson ranks third (7.9 yard average), Maurice Jones-Drew ranks seventh (6.2), Donald Brown ranks 24th (4.0). Joseph Addai ranks 26th (3.9) and the Houston Texans backs rank …

Well, the list ended at 32 players, including Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer, and there wasn’t a Houston runner on it.

I asked for further assistance and got these:

Houston isn’t rushing well overall, and certainly not up the middle.

Right tackle Eric Winston talked on Sirius Radio Wednesday about some of the measures defenses are using to slow the Texans' zone-blocking scheme.

"They’re basically kind of baiting you into making an outside read or an inside read and then trying to get you to commit to that and then playing you backside at the same time,” he said. “That’s kind of what we’re seeing a lot. That’s why I also think some of our man blocking plays have been some of our best running plays. Because they are playing the read and all of a sudden that’s a complete misread for them and the ball bounces and they are stuck in the middle waiting for the cutback.

“Maybe we’ve got to change it up a little bit as far as play calling, but that’s definitely not my purview, I’m running whatever is called.”

That’s interesting stuff and might be cause for Texans fans to think the team is figuring some things out and can get on track with some new wrinkles that respond to what they are seeing from defenses.

Still, Houston will have its second new guard installed this week when Chris White replaces Mike Brisiel, who’s out for the season with a foot injury, as the starter with Antoine Caldwell in line to get work, too.

Cincinnati ranks 12th against the run.