Texans offensive coordinator defends RB David Johnson: 'He's running hard'

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By SportsRadio 610

HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610) -- One of the Texans' key offseason acquisitions is facing criticism from fans and media because the team's run game has not been effective or consistent.

Running back David Johnson has 350 rushing yards on 87 carries through the first six games, averaging four yards per carry.

The Texans have been at their best throwing the ball with Deshaun Watson, Will Fuller, Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb leading the way.

Coaches want a balanced offense, though. and continue to run Johnson between the tackles.

Texans offensive coordinator Tim Kelly defended Johnson when asked about his play Thursday.

“You look at last game and his final stats, I think they’re a little bit deceiving," Kelly said. "We had a third-and-one that we asked him to run where there were 22 guys within three yards of the line of scrimmage and he went and plowed through it and got a hard yard, right? You look at those goal-line runs, that’s tough sledding down there. There’s an extra guy down there. There’s a number of different reasons why we’re trying to do that. So, while I know people are out there talking about the lack of production, he’s doing what we’re asking him to do, and sometimes those aren’t really favorable situations. They’re not favorable boxes. He’s running hard. He’s getting behind his pads.

"There’s a couple different times where you look back to the Minnesota game where it was a third-and-one and there was an unblocked player there because again it was a short-yardage situation, and he ran through the tackle for five yards. He’s doing a good job of running hard and doing what we’re asking him to do. We’re looking forward to doing a better job up front to create more running lanes for him, so he can get out in the open field and do what he does his best. David’s doing what we’re asking him to do by pumping it up in there, being physical and doing a good job when we’re asking him to run the ball.”

Johnson was acquired in the DeAndre Hopkins trade over the offseason and is one of the league's highest-paid running backs at $10.2 million this season.