The Dameon Pierce hype train got off to a slow start in the season opener, with the Houston Texans rookie running back taking a back seat to veteran Rex Burkhead in the season-opening 20-20 tie against the Indianapolis Colts.
Coach Lovie Smith acknowledged he wants to get Pierce more snaps moving forward.
"Some of the other things we did in the game, looking on the offensive side of the football, I understand how many plays Dameon Pierce played," Smith said, via the team's official transcript. "The plan of course was for him to get more. You get into the game and situations make you go a little bit different direction. You learn from those mistakes like that, mistakes of those situations that you look at the day after."
Pierce played just 29% of the Texans' snaps in Week 1, while Burkhead saw 71% of the 70 snaps. Pierce finished with 11 carries for 33 yards and one catch for six. Burkhead garnered 14 carries for 40 yards and five catches for 30.
On Wednesday, Smith reaffirmed his desire to get the rookie more opportunities.
'We need to get Dameon more touches," he declared. "That's what we need to do."
While it's clear the rookie brings more juice as a runner, the Texans trust Burkhead to provide more stability as a blocker and in the passing game.
"Sometimes though when you look back, you can't defend the amount of reps our starting tailback got in some of those situations," Smith said. "I wish he had gotten more and we're going to work to get him more of those opportunities but a young back, it's some of those things. I wouldn't say that just being a primary ball carrier is holding him back. Those are some things that we're going to work on to make sure that that situation doesn't happen again."
The big key for Pierce to garner more snaps is improving his blitz pickup and blocking moving forward -- an area where most rookie RBs struggle out of the gate. If he develops in that facet, Pierce should see his snaps increase in the coming weeks.