From the Coach's Eyes: Texans Carlos Hyde, Duke Johnson, and Darren Fells Proving a New Home is a Good Thing
The newest additions for the Houston Texans in 2019 have been upgrades for a roster that needed them. The additions of running back Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson plus tight end Darren Fells have helped reshape and offense that is one of the better units in the NFL.
It is not the first time the trio have been teammates. In 2018 they were members for the Cleveland Browns before finding their way together again in Houston.
The group arrived with the Texans at different times with Fells arriving as a free agent during the off-season. While coach Bill O'Brien made deals with the Browns for Johnson and before week one kicked off trading for Hyde from the Kansas City Chiefs.
The change in scenery has helped the group find new life in the Texans offense. In 2018, the group had a combined 38 total games in Cleveland, and they gained 1,129 all-purpose yards on 212 total touches averaging 5.3 yards per touch with eight total touchdowns.
With the Texans, in 27 games combined, they have racked up 1,464 all-purpose yards on 249 total touches averaging 5.9 yards per touch and 12 total touchdowns.
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With a brand new running back group, coach Danny Barrett likes what he sees from both Hyde and Johnson heading into the bye week.
"I think it was a great acquisition on our behalf, Coach OB (O'Brien) and the rest of the guys upstairs," Barrett said of Hyde. "Looking at that and the situation that happened with Lamar (Miller). He's come in, and he's been a pro since Day 1. I think that's been the key to him coming in and fitting into what we're doing. He wants to play. He wants to get better."
Barrett understands the relationship between Hyde and Johnson from last season in Cleveland. He believes their ability to work together last season has helped them this year succeed in the Texans offense.
"Every week (Hyde) is looking to try to improve upon the results from the previous week and moving forward," Barrett continued. "Just the both of them together, being former teammates as well, I think really made a difference. When Hyde got here, Duke was already here a couple weeks prior to that, so he kind of helped him out away from the game, away from the office talking about the offense. He didn't miss a beat. It's like he had been here all of training camp. That was really a plus for us, and moving forward, just the combination of the two guys is really good. I think they complement each other very well."
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As for Fells, his play at the tight end position has been welcomed, especially at the Y-tight end. Asked to not only be a receiver, Fells is employed to help in the run game blocking defensive ends and linebackers.
Already setting career highs receptions (24) and touchdowns (6), Fells has been one of the biggest surprises for the offense.
Tight end coach Will Lawing understands how Fells makes his job easier with him being a complete and consistent player.
When asked of Fells' impact on the offense, Lawing simply answered, "Huge."
Lawing continued, "He provides a big bonus to have in the run game because he can do some good things on the edge for us. He's disciplined with his footwork, pad level, hand placement. Those things – it's easy as a coach to sit there and tell guys what to do, but when you have a guy like him and say, 'Watch this guy do it,' is beneficial for the rest of the guys."
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