HOUSTON -- Running back Lamar Miller never became a priority in the Miami Dolphins’ offense during his first four NFL seasons.
After one game in Houston, it’s clear he will be for the Texans.
On Sunday against the Bears, Miller rushed for 106 yards on 28 carries. The 28 attempts were the most he’d had in his career; he’d only eclipsed 20 carries two times.
But the heavy workload likely will become the norm for Miller this year, who also had four catches for 11 yards.
“Just coming here, an organization that’s a winning organization and just getting the opportunity to show my skill set and my ability, it feels good so far,” Miller said.
Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler said after Sunday’s game that he was really impressed by what Miller did against the Bears.
“I loved everything about it,” Osweiler said of Miller’s performance. “I told Tom [Savage] and Brandon [Weeden], the other quarterbacks, just now in the locker room it’s a lot of fun watching that guy run from the field level. He does some special things. He runs hard, and finds little creases that maybe other backs wouldn’t. So it was a lot of fun to watch him play; I thought that Lamar did a tremendous job.”
Though it has only been one game, the Texans used Miller in Week 1 the same way they used running back Arian Foster in the past. Coach Bill O’Brien said he sees the importance of continuing to run the ball.
“I think you need to run the ball,” O’Brien said. “I learned that lesson a long time ago calling plays in this league, that if you stick with it, if you stick with it, in the end that really helps your balance, that helps your play-action game, that helps you stay on schedule, you’re in more third-and-5s, third-and-4s, instead of being third-and-10s because you’re incomplete or whatever it is.
“I talked to Lamar a lot about that in the offseason, ‘Stay patient. Not every play is going to be a home run.’ I think that’s the way he approached it [on Sunday].”
Miller said he tried to take that approach against the Bears, and that he was happy to have 32 touches on Sunday.
“It felt good,” Miller said. “I think the coaches did a great job of keeping it a balanced offense, whether it was throwing the ball or running the ball. I think the offensive line did a great job early on in the game to get me in a groove. I just tried to get positive yards.”
Miller said when he signed with the Texans, O’Brien told him that he would have a big role in the offense, so he prepared this offseason for the increased workload.
Miller was the only player in the league to have more than 100 rushing yards on Sunday.
“I have a lot of confidence,” Miller said. “I always have a lot of confidence in myself. I feel like as a player, I still have a lot of room for improvement. I just have to be more decisive running the ball. I know in the second half, I was trying to be too patient at times. Once I see a crease, I just have to hit the hole and just get those two or three yards.”