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Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans on Dameon Pierce's future: 'Our job is to continue to improve our roster'

There were few who predicted the rapid reversal of fortune had by the Houston Texans.

There were likely even fewer who would have prognosticated such a turnaround without running back Dameon Pierce playing a significant load-bearing role.

However, Pierce was an afterthought in Houston's offense by the time the Texans' season concluded with an AFC Divisional Round loss to the Ravens this past Saturday.

Thus, a once promising future for Pierce has become an uncertain one, as Houston head coach DeMeco Ryans provided little clarity Monday on how the team plans to use the 23-year-old next season.

"We'll see where all of our guys and all the positions on our team [are]," Ryans said, when asked about Pierce's future. "We'll look at the roster -- myself and (general manager) Nick (Caserio) -- and see where we are and where we have to improve our roster, and I think that's our job is to continue to improve our roster as best as we can."

Though Ryans avoided saying anything concrete regarding Pierce, he admitted the rushing game was an area that needed addressing. While the 2023 Texans' passing attack ranked seventh in yards and 12th in touchdowns, the ground game lagged behind, finishing 22nd in yards and 23rd in TDs.

"Yeah, I think the running game will be significant for us to improve upon," Ryans said.

Veteran Devin Singletary had career highs in carries (216) and rushing yards (898), as the free-agent addition supplanted Pierce as the Texans' RB1. Pierce finished his second NFL season with 416 yards on 145 attempts for an ugly 2.9 yards per carry.

A 2022 fourth-round pick out of Florida, Pierce burst onto the scene as a rookie. A thumper with some speed, Pierce was exciting to watch and gave reason for promise during an otherwise forgetful 2022 Texans campaign, when he rushed for 939 yards in 13 games, averaging 4.3 yards a tote. This season was obviously far different. Over the last three games of the Texans' season, including the playoffs, Pierce had a combined three carries for zero yards. He had a kick return for a score in a Week 16 loss to the Cleveland Browns, but, otherwise, was a non-factor.

"I think as you see as you go throughout this game, especially in the postseason, teams that win games -- you've got to be able to run the football and sustain it," Ryans said. "And we weren't able to accomplish that versus the Ravens, and it showed up. So, we have, definitely, areas to improve -- many different areas -- but the run game is one of those areas, for sure."

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