HOUSTON -- There is essentially only room for one slot wide receiver within the Houston Texans' run-heavy, languishing offense.
And that approach, dovetailed with the return to the lineup of veteran wide receiver Danny Amendola from a strained hamstring that sidelined him for two games, is ultimately why the Texans decided to cut wide receiver Anthony Miller, Texans coach David Culley emphasized during his Wednesday morning press conference.
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Hours after Miller was informed of his release, Culley explained the decision in detail to move on from Miller after he caught five passes for 23 yards and one touchdown on 11 targets on the heels of a late July trade from the Chicago Bears for the former second-round draft pick that cost the Texans a 2022 fifth-round selection and netted Miller and a 2022 seventh-round draft pick. Miller was in the final year of his four-year, $5.353 million rookie contract that includes a $1.21 million base salary this season.
Miller was linked to multiple trade rumors throughout the offseason after catching 134 career passes for 1,564 yards and 11 touchdowns during his time with the Bears before being traded to the Texans.
"Basically, we're always looking to do the best things we feel like for our football team," Culley said. "We feel like with Danny coming back -- we feel like he's going to be ready -- same position and with the way we are and the way we're structured offensively, there's only room for one of those guys at that position. We feel like that's the best thing moving forward.
"We also felt like keeping Anthony around, basically we're only going to have one of those guys up active each week. And it didn't really make sense to have that and not be able to have a guy active."
Amendola, 35, is a highly experienced and skilled slot receiver who caught six passes for 43 yards and a touchdown on six targets before getting hurt against the Cleveland Browns and missing the past two games. The Woodlands native and former Texas Tech standout faces his old team, the New England Patriots, on Sunday at NRG Stadium.
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Amendola has 599 career receptions for 6,007 yards and 22 touchdowns.
"We were actually pretty decent on third downs," Culley said when asked what the team is looking for from Amendola. "(Improvement on early) downs, that would be big for us. That's what he was prior to the injury."
The Texans are playing without imposing wide receiver Nico Collins, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound third-round draft pick from Michigan who is out with a shoulder injury suffered against the Browns and was placed on injured reserve. Collins is out for at least a few more games, per Culley.
The 1-3 Texans, mired in a three-game losing streak, have the 30th-ranked offense and the 29th-ranked passing game.
The only real bright spot in the passing game, before and after starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor strained his hamstring and missing the past two games and out for at least one more week, is wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Cooks has 28 catches for 369 yards and one touchdown on 39 targets.
"It's not a lack of talent," Culley said. "It's a lack of us executing. Obviously, not having Nico out there, we miss him. For the most part, it has nothing to do with a lack of talent. It has something to do with how we've executed, and we haven't executed very well to this point." We haven't played very well in our passing game, which has a lot to do with our running game. It's not a lack of talent."
NOTE: Culley indicated that defensive tackle Ross Blacklock (positive COVID test) and linebacker Zach Cunningham (high-risk close contact) are not expected to return this week after being placed on the reserve-COVID-19 list last week.