The trade for running back David Johnson changed the complexion of the Houston Texans offense by adding him to returning backfield threat Duke Johnson. Now with two backs that are threats running or receiving the football, defenses will have to account for the Texans running back group in 2020.
Last season, Carlos Hyde led the Texans in rushing with 1,070 yards on the ground but only had 16 targets with ten receptions for 42 yards. Playing in 529 offensive snaps, he was an afterthought in the passing game and not a concern for opposing defenses in coverage.
David Johnson had the lowest production of his career in 2019 with the Cardinals, David Johnson rushed 94 times for 345 yards and two touchdowns while catching 36 passes for 370 yards and four touchdowns.
In his first season with the Texans, Duke Johnson rushed for 410 yards and caught 44 passes for 210 yards with a total of five touchdowns.
Johnson arrived in the middle of training camp, putting him behind learning the playbook, but now he is getting a full off-season with the Texans, which has offensive coordinator Tim Kelly excited.
"We're excited to have both those guys back there and especially with Duke. This is the first offseason that Duke is going through."
The top duo for the Texans running back room opens up plenty of possibilities for the offense on game days with both being dual-threats out of the backfield.
Kelly likes how both David Johnson and Duke Johnson change things for the Texans offense from their skillsets.
"I think it opens up the play-calling," Kelly said of his new-look running back group. "You're not limited by a guy's ability to only run the ball or only catch the ball."
Kelly added, "When you have guys that are versatile and are both a vital running threat, a good receiving threat. It allows you to open up and be creative and find different ways to get guys the ball in space and do some good things."
Watching the Texans play of television during the playoffs, David Johnson had a first-hand look at the offense he will be part of this season.
"From just watching," David Johnson explained. "I've actually been watching them even more now, just obviously being traded, but I've always watched them, they've always been in the playoffs. So, for them as an offense, especially with Deshaun (Watson), and then watching Duke (Johnson) just this last year, the way he's been utilized as a receiver out of the backfield and that explosive offense."
The Texans will enter the 2020 season with David Johnson and Duke Johnson as their top two running backs in the offense.
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